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Wycliffe Associates rolls out Open Bible Stories

Mission Network News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

International (MNN) -- When people learn English as a second language, they learn today's English. When they don't have the Bible in their own translation, they're going to read it in English. They'll read a modern translation of the Bible because it's what they understand best. And when their heart is burdened for their own people to hear the Gospel, they'll want a translation. And here lies the problem. Any Scripture in the English they know is relatively new. And any translations of the last 50 years are under the confines of copyright. What does that mean for the translation process? Wycliffe Associates president and CEO Bruce Smith explains this is a bigger problem than what people think. It slows down the process of Bible translation immensely. And it's not just people who speak English as a second language. Because of the natural changes and shifts in a language over time, it's harder for anyone in this modern day to fully explain some of the older, public domain texts. Rather than let this roadblock slow down the process of translation, Wycliffe Associates has decided there is still work to be done with what resources are available. With the help of various partners, Wycliffe Associates has developed 50 Bible stories that are open to everybody--no copyright. Smith explains, "Open Bible Stories is a collection of 20 Old Testament and 30 New Testament stories, and it's a way for people to get rapid Bible content into their communities through storying. "The unique thing about Open Bible Stories is they are explicitly not copyrighted, which basically means that they are open sourced: they're available for anybody to translate readily into any new language." This resource will allow for faster and easier access to Scriptural content for more languages. The Open Bible Stories are in print, digital, and audio format--it can reach communities regardless of their level of access to technology. Smith explains this method is effective because it is a form of storying. Story telling is a natural start to introducing the Gospel, and it relates to all people around the world. "These 50 Open Bible Stories are basically a script that allows them to get that Old Testament and New Testament content into the community conversation quickly and pave the way for Scripture translation to follow," says Smith. It only takes about four to six weeks for a new translation to be completed. It's short-term work with immediate impact, Smith explains. Want to help? "We need people to be involved in the training and producing the tools that will help teams around the world to be able to use this," Smith says. Eventually the project will need technicians, trainers, and Biblical scholars to enable translators to better understand what they're reading. If you want to be on this team, contact Wycliffe Associates here. Here is a volunteer opportunity for web and app developers. For more information and to partner with Wycliffe financially, click here. And finally, says Smith, you can support Wycliffe Associates through "prayer, to be sure that we're on the right track, that we're in sync with what God is doing in and through the church around the world, and using it in a way that helps to speed the access to his Word."
Categories: Mission Network News

Persevering through persecution

Mission Network News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo credit Asian Access)

USA (MNN) -- When you're at a missions conference, you're bound to run into someone you know. That's what keeps happening at the Missio Nexus Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Many MNN friends are here: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, The Mission Society, Asian Access, Living Water International, World Mission, to name a few. And there's a plethora of churches and Christian universities attending the conference as well. Noel Becchetti, Vice President for Leader Development for Asian Access, is here with A2 President Joe Handley. Becchetti took a moment to discuss ministry challenges in two countries where Christianity is growing the fastest. According to The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, both countries are located in Asia. These countries, which cannot be identified for security purposes, also happen to be places where A2-supported pastors are sharing the Good News of Christ and making disciples. "They're both oppressed situations," explains Becchetti. "In other words, the governments in those countries to some degree actively work against religious freedom, even though they would technically say they're all for it." Despite the persecution, and sometimes because of it, the Gospel is spreading like wildfire.

(Photo credit Asian Access)

"When people become believers here," a pastor in one of the fastest-growing countries told Becchetti recently, "you have to be 'for real' because you know you're going to get pressured." By coming alongside leaders who serve Christ on the front-lines, you can encourage and equip them to weather the deep challenges they face. "We've had leaders in Asia just go, 'Look, the biggest thing you guys can do is just come over here and love on us, 'cuz that's a new thing in our cultures'" shares Becchetti. Support a leader through A2's Persecuted Pastors Fund here. Pray for persecuted Gospel workers as they carry God's message of hope to the spiritually-hungry people of Asia. More Missio Nexus stories here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Top 3 challenges to an Ebola response

Mission Network News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:00am
Liberia (EFCA) -- Editor's Note: many villagers are suspicious of official attempts to combat Ebola. Sierra Leone has just emerged from a controversial three-day curfew to try to stop the spread of the disease. Although the following blog post focuses on work in Liberia and was written a month ago, author Jordan Mogck highlights several of the challenges facing Ebola Response Teams anywhere they work. Given the recent attacks on Red Cross workers in Guinea as well as the eight murders of an Ebola health team, this article can help you understand what medical workers confront as well as how you can help.

(Photo courtesy of ReachGlobal)

The EFCWA Ebola Response Team (EERT) is a national church-based response out of the rising needs seen by the leaders of the Evangelical Free Churches of West Africa in response to the deadly Ebola Virus disease that has claimed over 1,000 lives in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. This fast-growing church movement with membership in the three countries agreed together with the leadership of ReachGlobal to responds to this national catastrophe. As reported from EFCWA leadership and the Ebola Response Team coordinator, these are the top three challenges they are faced with in their efforts:
  1. Illiteracy
Many people in villages and communities that we are reaching cannot read and write. The few educated cannot read comprehensively, and their messages are widely respected by the majority. The need for the church to engage in quality education with partners more intentionally after the Ebola crisis is of great need. Many are dying because of the lack of knowledge.
  1. Diverse religious perceptions
Diverse religious perception of the cause of Ebola in Liberia and their proposed religious solution have served to confuse and frustrate many. Many religious clergy consider the outbreak either as “a curse on Liberia because the president’s son and others are promoting homosexuality,” or “This is the end times, and there’s nothing we can do about it because God said it will happen.” Others are promoting religiously-conceived hygiene methods at the expense of sound medical advice. For example, one church is calling on people to use salt for their protection. They are buying it at the expense of their life, which actively undermines our efforts. After three days of national fasting, Liberians woke up to the calls of relatives in Monrovia to “bathe with salt placed in hot water before 6 a.m. This will bring the spread of Ebola to a complete halt.” This rumor went wide across the country, and many participated.
  1. Travel limitations
Our inability to travel at our convenience and desire due to fear of riding in congested vehicles that ply the roads around Liberia. This will hinder our ability to educate and train the churches to respond as most of our own EFCWA pastors cannot adequately develop their positions for the battle against Ebola, and they live in remote villages that rental cars cannot go. How you can help Be in prayer for the teams as they educate people about the virus, assist them in protocols, and teach prevention. Pray for Gospel opportunities.  
Categories: Mission Network News

A coffee table helps missionary transition

Mission Network News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:00am
Central Asia (OM/MNN) -- God can use any situation, timing, or tool to advance the truth of His Gospel. The following story from Beth, a missionary with Operation Mobilization illustrates this truth. Our neighbours came and asked for our coffee table. Not a spare, unused coffee table sitting in a corner somewhere, but our only coffee table, covered with the kids’ drinks and snacks as they watched a movie and with books and magazines on the shelf below. Our neighbors said that they had guests coming and they didn’t have a table, so they needed ours. Logical right? Not to my western cultural mindset still trying to adjust to living in Central Asia! Back home, I might ask my neighbor for an egg or cup of sugar IF I knew them really well and IF I couldn’t get to a shop in time. But to ask for furniture that they are obviously using? Definitely not! Here in Central Asia, the guests are of the ultimate importance. Huge time and effort is put into preparing and serving the guests. And why? Because one’s honor is at stake. Not treating a guest properly would be shameful. A sign of how good a host you are is how much food is placed on the table for your guest and how much food is left over at the end of the meal.

(Photo courtesy of Operation Mobilization)

It makes my reading of the story in Luke 11 so much more meaningful. I don’t doubt that if our neighbors’ guests had arrived unexpectedly at midnight and all the shops were closed and they had no bread, that they would have come to knock at our door, and they would not have given up until we had answered them and given them bread for their guests.   So what did we do when our neighbors asked for our coffee table? We cleared it of all the drinks and snacks and books and magazines, and carried it to their house for them! After all, their honor was at stake, But more than that, an opportunity to deepen our friendship with them was at stake, as well. Praise God for the amazing ways He provides for His people when they are serving him. Pray that this missionary couple will continue to be able to engage their community effectively for God. Also, ask God to protect Operation Mobilization and to lead them according to His will.
Categories: Mission Network News

Ukraine at a crossroads

Mission Network News - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy FEBC/CC/WikimediaMstyslavChernov)

Ukraine (MNN) -- The Internally Displaced Persons from the Ukraine-Russia conflict number more than 300,000. That's the official figure, but UNHCR officials believe the real number is two to three times higher. Many simply find shelter with relatives or friends and don't alert anyone. Despite a ceasefire, the numbers keep rising. Meanwhile, rapidly-falling temperatures are causing increasing hardship for the many IDPs who fled with few possessions, thousands of whom are currently housed in temporary facilities that are ill equipped for winter conditions. The Special Rapporteur called for the urgent adoption of an IDP law based on international human rights standards, as a vital element “to enable all actors to respond effectively to their needs with budgets in place.” He insisted that adoption of a draft law, scheduled for 14 October, must not be further delayed and that other normative measures should be taken in the interim period. Churches and civil groups have been stepping up to the plate to meet these needs as best they can in light of a government that can't afford uniforms or helmets for its army. It's a herculean effort, considering many of these churches and ministries have experienced severe losses of their own.

(Photo courtesy CC/WikimediaCommons)

Victor Akhterov, director of FEBC Russian Ministries, explains that four months ago, "Our studios were robbed. We are grateful to God that our studios are still basically intact. We just have to replace some equipment, but the tower went down and the transmitter with it." Then, last month, "Four people were killed, who were helping us, by the pro-Russian Separatists. The people who were killing them were screaming, 'You evangelicals! We don't need to hear [this] on our land!'" It was a devastating blow. Akhterov says most of the Christians they work with in the region are less than ten years old. "Pray for the Church. This is what usually is not said: many of them are on the verge of losing their faith, especially the new Christians. They were hoping that God would protect them, and then they see the pastor's kids being murdered. We need to pray for this young church in Ukraine." While this station is currently offline due to sustained damage, there is good news. "We actually recovered the transmitter from the rubble there, and [we] hope that it's still in working condition. We are now restoring the studio." Plus, Akhterov adds, they're building a new tower. They're hoping to be back on the air soon, "hopefully in October. And I'm speaking by faith, of course, because the war is still going. They have a so-called 'peace agreement,' but people are still shooting each other. We don't know what's going to happen next."

(Photo courtesy FEBC/CC/Wikimedia Commons/Dasjo)

Things are changing moment to moment in this area. Ukraine is at a critical crossroads. Although a serious setback, the incident hasn't silenced FEBC in Ukraine. Akhterov confirms this. "Of course in Western Ukraine, we are still broadcasting, covering roughly half of the country in the West. We are buying time in strategic cities." Keep praying. Akhterov stresses this as an essential need. "We are also working on several projects opening stations in different cities in Ukraine. Ukraine is obviously in deep need of the Good News."  
Categories: Mission Network News

Southern Baptist Convention Cuts Ties With California Church Over Pro-Gay Marriage Stance

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 6:40pm
The Southern Baptist Convention withdrew a California church known for its "third way" on gay unions and homosexuality from its church membership, officials announced Tuesday.
Categories: Christian Post

Biblica Names Former Open Doors USA Leader as CEO

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 1:08pm
Biblica, a major Bible publishing and translating nonprofit organization, has named former Open Doors USA chief executive officer Dr. Carl A. Moeller as its new CEO this week.
Categories: Christian Post

Congregation Votes to Keep Pastor Accused of Allegedly Stealing Nearly $1 Million

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:57pm
An Oklahoma pastor was given a second chance by his congregation after they met Wednesday night to vote on allowing him to stay as senior leader despite being accused of allegedly embezzling nearly $1 million from church funds.
Categories: Christian Post

Protecting Our Future

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:29pm
We live in a pleasure-oriented culture that focuses on the present. God does not want us to sacrifice future blessings for short-term enjoyments. Let's take a look at Esau's story and learn from his mistakes.
Categories: Christian Post

The Gospel Can Transform Culture No Matter How Dark the Times, Os Guinness Says in New Book (CP Interview)

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 12:04pm
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has a transforming effect when it is lived out personally, but when the Church tries to do God's work in the world's ways, it is weak, Os Guinness explained in his new book, Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times.
Categories: Christian Post

Good news emerges from Syrian bombing

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00am

U.S. and coalition forces continue bombing Syria and Iraq.

Syria (MNN) -- As the U.S. and coalition forces continue bombing ISIS inside Syria, an amazing Good-News story is emerging. Yesterday, U.S. officials told us five additional strikes on ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria were launched in an attempt to stop the terrorist organization. Despite the attacks and widespread destruction in Syria, Alexsa MacDowall with E3 Partners says, "Right now, as the airstrikes are going on, we're seeing and hearing a lot of the believers and Muslim-background believers are trying to get their families together and flee to neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and even Turkey as time rolls on. Some of them are staying, but for the most part, most of them are trying to leave." MacDowall says over one million refugees are in Jordan alone. More are expected in other countries as the Syrian bombing intensifies. In years past, sharing the Gospel was difficult at best, and openness was limited. But with this unrest, she says, "They're actually way more open to the Gospel. There are different reasons for that. One is: Jesus is appearing to them in dreams and visions. At the same time, in this time of difficulty, they're seeing the faith that these believers have is carrying them through this." When they see this, they begin asking questions. "When they see the peace that believers have, they want to know about it. They're searching. They've very open."

This pastor and his family are still in Syria sharing Jesus.

MacDowall collects prayer request from believers on the ground for their 8thirty8 Facebook page. She's in contact with a pastor in Syria, and there's good news: "What's interesting is that in the midst of this turmoil, a lot of Muslims are starting to stream into the churches. About half of his small house church was composed of Muslim background believers." E3 Partners is coming alongside Christians in Jordan to help them reach out in Jesus' name. "We're pouring prayer, resources, and training into believers there to help them open up their homes [to the refugees], to help them start house churches as well as meet the needs in their communities." There are some tangible ways you can help. First, "PRAY...not that the Lord would take them out of the difficulty, but that He would give them strength and endurance and hope, as well as peace, knowing that God has them in this situation for a reason. Because of the conflict, the nations are coming to know God." You can also GIVE financially here. "Every single dollar that's given to that will go directly to the Christians that are working in Jordan and the surrounding nations." Money is used for humanitarian supplies, Bibles, and more. Then, you can also GO, and help physically. "E3 also takes trips to the Middle East. So, if you're interested in serving on a medical trip, you can get more information at our Web site." If you'd like to sign up to get daily prayer updates from persecuted Christians around the world, go to their 8thirty8 Facebook page.
Categories: Mission Network News

Civil war takes its toll on the children in South Sudan

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/UK Department for International Development)

South Sudan (MNN) -- The crisis in South Sudan is being drowned out by coverage of airstrikes in Syria, ISIS advances, the conflict in Gaza, and the Ebola outbreak. Here is the upshot: South Sudan is in trouble. Matt Parker of Kids Alive International explains, "South Sudan is already one of the poorest countries in the world. There's already a lack of facilities and infrastructure in the country." When you add war and a food shortage, you get a manmade disaster. The conflict between the government and the rebel group has displaced nearly two million people.  "There's talk of around 50,000 children really being at-risk of starvation over the coming months, so it's a very serious issue. One of the problems was because of the fighting, farmers were not able to get out into their fields." Plus, food and fuel still available have nearly doubled in cost in some areas. Some of the worst-hit areas are also the hardest to reach because they're remote and have few roads to get there. It's made worse because the government reportedly banned foreigners, including aid workers, and Non-Government Organizations. Once this crisis re-emerges on the international scene, it could be in the form of a famine, warns the United Nations. "The fact that people have been unable to plant crops, the fact that more than 1.8 million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting," says Parker, "has added to this [problem] very significantly." Peace talks resumed 21 September in Ethiopia, even as mop-up operations continued in Unity state from last week's clashes. Negotiations have been on hold since late August, when President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar inked the fourth "peace" deal in nine months. This time, they agreed to forge a unity government by October 9. Will it work? Parker hopes so. "There needs to be real accountability. There needs to be efforts made to address corruption, which is rife, even if the unity government comes into place."

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

As families move to get away from the fighting, there's a corresponding rise in the number of street children, observes child advocates. Kids Alive's focus is on the entire child. Their work in Wau hasn't been disrupted, even though there have been a couple of violent outbursts. While that's good news, Parker says their staff is keeping a close eye on things. "There's been a lot of concern, a lot of fear in the area, and the real risk that fighting could break out at any time." The contingency plan for Kids Alive is to continue their work. Some of the street children are in their Children's Homes, and others are coming to ministry sites. The influx means growth. Parker notes, "Over the next few months, we'll be doing some construction work so that we can build more facilities and...get more children off the streets. We're concerned. We're monitoring the situation very carefully."

(Photo courtesy Kids Alive International)

Kids Alive staff focus on meeting the physical, emotional, AND spiritual needs of each child. "We want to see the kids that we work with come to know Jesus in their lives. We want to see them discipled, we want to see them serving Him. We want to see these kids really making an impact for Christ in their communities." However, rising costs, growing communities, and fewer dollars means they have to ask for help. Funds now help lay the groundwork for future later. "It's a core part of everything that we do: teaching these kids the Gospel message, teaching them the hope that they have in Christ, and helping them to grow in that faith." As Kids Alive continues their work among street kids and in the communities, Parker asks: "Pray that we would be successful in helping kids break the cycle of poverty, get off the streets, have a loving home, have a promising future, and come to Jesus Christ in their lives."
Categories: Mission Network News

Pray for mission leaders

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00am

(Graphic cred: Missio Nexus)

USA (MNN) -- You probably pray for mission projects, but how often do you pray for mission leaders? Right now, the CEOs and other top executives of U.S. and Canadian mission groups are attending the Missio Nexus Leadership Conference. Jim Ramsay, VP of Missions for The Mission Society, says the "ripple effect" is one reason why mission leaders need your prayers. "The global context is changing so rapidly; it's impacting missions. All of us have got to keep our eyes and our hearts open to what God is doing and how we need to shift our own thinking, our own practice, to react to the changing context," Ramsay states. None of us live or work in a bubble; whether you realize it or not, even something like the Ebola crisis in West Africa affects you in one way or another. The same applies to missions. For example, as Tom Lin pointed out yesterday, the world is becoming much smaller; more and more people are moving across borders, whether by choice or not. For InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, that means a greater number of international students to reach out to.

(Photo credit Sergiu Bacioiu via Wikimedia Commons)

The "ripple effect" can also trigger negative reactions. Take the economy of "sending nations," for example, like the United States. Hard economic downfalls, increased government spending, and massive federal reforms over the past several years have left most families with less money in their pockets. This often translates to less funding for missionaries and missions projects. All of this makes your prayers a top priority. Between now and Sunday, will you pray for missions leaders who are attending the Missio Nexus conference?
  • Pray that God opens the eyes and hearts of group and project leaders.
  • Pray that He gives mission leaders discernment.
  • Pray that God will connect the groups and leaders who need to collaborate to further His Kingdom.
That last point, collaboration, is partly why The Mission Society sends its leaders to this conference. "Networking is probably the primary reason that we attend. I expect that's true for most of the attendees," notes Ramsay. "It used to be a little more proprietary, a little more guarded: 'This is my turf, my mission, my ministry.'

(Graphic credit The Mission Society via Facebook)

"[Now] there's much more of a 'Kingdom attitude' happening." Building connections is a key part of The Mission Society's ministry. Since 1984, they've been involved in recruiting, training, and sending missionaries both overseas and within the United States. The Mission Society currently supports more than 200 missionaries who minister in over 40 nations worldwide. Learn more about their work here.
Categories: Mission Network News

God’s not done with Mariam Ibraheem

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00am
Middle East (MNN) -- Where does our faith come from? It comes from God, right? And if you've been keeping up with the story of Mariam Ibraheem, then you know what a testimony her story is to God's providence in times of need. But Ibraheem's story isn't over, and neither is yours. The following is a letter from the executive director of Women for Middle East HOPE, an international initiative of SAT-7, a Christian Satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa.  

(Photo courtesy of SAT-7)

Dear Friends, If you happened to see the television interview last week with Mariam Ibraheem, you witnessed a riveting, powerful testimony of one woman’s great faith and courage!  (If you missed it, don’t worry—you can catch it on YouTube through our Women for Middle HOPE Web site.) Mariam was interviewed by Fox News host Megyn Kelly for the first time since her release from prison in Sudan. We have been following Mariam’s story and praying for her ever since we learned that she was jailed solely because of her Christian faith. Mariam, the mother of a toddler, gave birth to her second child while in prison—with her ankles chained. When word of her mistreatment got out, Christians around the world rallied and prayed and called for her release. Finally, in June, a Sudanese Appeals Court made the decision to set her free! Now living in New Hampshire with her husband--an American citizen since 2005--and their two children, Mariam still has a heart for the people of her homeland, especially the women and children. She is a strong advocate for freedom to follow the religion of one’s own choice and points out that she is not the only woman to suffer from this problem. She says, “There are many Mariams in Sudan and throughout the world. It’s not just me.” While in prison, Mariam was heavily pressured to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam. She refused to do that, saying, “I have always been a Christian… I had my trust in God. My faith was the only weapon that I had in these confrontations… Faith means life. If you don’t have faith, you are not alive.” Mariam embodies the need, the purpose, and the spirit of Women for Middle East HOPE! At the end of the interview, she thanked the Fox News audience for their support and then told Megyn Kelly, “I still need support--I need prayer!” Mariam and her Christian sisters around the world will be lifted up in prayer on Sunday, November 2, 2014, as SAT-7 and Women for Middle East HOPE co-sponsor a Worldwide Day of Prayer, specifically focused on the women and girls of the Middle East and North Africa.  I hope you will partner with us in this Day of Prayer and that you will encourage your church or your small group to get involved, as well.  See the links provided below. Blessings, Debbie Brink Executive Director Women for Middle East HOPE Click HERE to see Mariam’s powerful interview. Click HERE to join Women for Middle East HOPE if you have not already done so.
Categories: Mission Network News

Humanitarian Crises: when it becomes overwhelming

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 5:00am

A roadside church in Bor, South Sudan.
(Photo courtesy of Food for the Hungry)

International (FFH/MNN) -- There is so much to do. In your house, in your community, your church. There are responsibilities to uphold at school, at your job, with your family. As soon as you overlook something, or fail at one task, it feels like the entire tapestry of your day-to-day life unravels. And then you turn on your TV or pick up a newspaper, or scroll through a news Web site--maybe this Web site. You see there is so much to do all over the world. There are innumerable humanitarian crises. And suddenly you feel hopeless. The following thoughts are from Alex Mwaura of Food for the Hungry. He reminds us that it is overwhelming and that we can't fix it. But God can. And according to His plan, He will. For encouragement, read on: As an aid worker, I am often tempted to throw in the towel when I am faced with humanitarian situations that seem irreparable. When I visit communities and interact with hopelessness, suffering, pain, lost dreams as a result of war, disease, and mostly bad governance, I often find myself sighing: “It’s too broken. It cannot be fixed.” Allow me to illustrate what I mean. Let’s consider some of the current, key humanitarian crises around the world. In Syria, 3 million people have fled as refugees to neighboring countries. It’s estimated that more than 13 million people in Syria need immediate humanitarian aid; 6.5 million are internally displaced. The situation in Syria is probably the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. When Typhoon Haiyan descended on the Philippines, it left grand destruction of property and with no doubt a jolt to the economy with 10% of the population affected, at the time. Millions continue to bear the brunt of the disaster. On December 15, 2013, fighting broke out in South Sudan plunging the world’s newest country into the dark days when it hosted Africa’s longest running civil war. Everybody hoped and called for the fighting to stop. But it didn’t. Instead, the inevitable happened. Close to one million people have been internally displaced. This means 1 in every 8 people do not have a home. Even worse, the claws of famine are quickly gripping the country, and 1.25 million children face malnutrition. A recent report by the BBC mentioned that residents of a village had resorted to eating water lilies because there was no food available. UNICEF estimates that up to 50,000 children could die of malnutrition by the end of the year if they do not receive help. The stats are grim. The deadly Ebola virus is now rapidly spreading in a number of countries in West Africa and has, to date, claimed the lives of more than 2,200 people. The current outbreak has been termed as “the deadliest” since the virus was discovered in 1976. So now everything seems blurry — what next? With stats like these, it seems like we’re losing ground in the fight against poverty, disease, and suffering around the world. In photography, before taking an image, we point the camera to the subject prior to releasing the shutter. If you look through your viewfinder at that moment, the image is often blurry and out-of-focus. But if you press the shutter button halfway, the image sets into focus, and you can click to take your picture. Note that even though blurry, the good image was always there. I think God is calling us to press our shutter buttons halfway and refocus our hope on Him. In John 16:33, Jesus encouraged His disciples who were sad that He was leaving them, saying, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." As I finish writing, my shutter button is pressed halfway. I am now able to see beyond the engulfing suffering in the world and focus on being part of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. I cannot afford to throw my hands in the air and give up! We are called to press on until physical and spiritual hungers are ended worldwide. So if you are like me, almost giving up the fight, take heart and join us in our work, for He has overcome the world! Take a moment to pray for the needs mentioned. Remember that prayer is a very good way to focus on what God has for you to do. It serves as reminder that HE is in control. If you'd like to partner with FH, click here. Here are some more stories about what FH is doing around the world.
Categories: Mission Network News

7 Quotes on Preaching Made by Pastor H.B. Charles During the Cutting It Straight Conference

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:41pm
H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted a conference on expository preaching this week with such speakers as Al Mohler, Bryan Carter, Bryan Loritts and several others. Those in attendance and tweeting during the event revealed that much was being said, albeit in 140 characters, about the nature of sound preaching.
Categories: Christian Post

Chicago Church Gives Away $160K to 320 Members; Asks Them to Use Money Towards Anything

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:35pm
A Chicago church gave each of its 320 members $500 during a recent Sunday service, asking them to do as they please with it.
Categories: Christian Post

Head of Episcopal Church Says She Will Not Seek Re-Election

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:03pm
The head of The Episcopal Church has announced that she will not seek re-election, ending speculation as to whether or not the mainline denomination will have a change in leadership.
Categories: Christian Post

Palau CityServe Movement Unites NYC's Youngblood Preachers, Old Guards in 'Historic' Partnership

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 1:50pm
Hundreds of NYC-area nonprofit and church leaders — young and old, red and yellow, black and white — are mobilizing as one body for the very first time in an effort to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in one of the world's most unique urban centers, thanks to an initiative organized by the Luis Palau Association.
Categories: Christian Post

Lecrae: I Do Not Struggle With Compromise

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:22pm
Christian Rapper Lecrae said he is not tempted by the hip-hop industry's self-indulgent lifestyle because he's too busy trying to impact the culture.
Categories: Christian Post