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Keeping Our Focus

Christian Post - Living - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 8:35am
Everyone who has run a race knows that you can break your stride by looking over your shoulder to check out how your opponents are doing. Many races have been lost when the leader looked back. When you see that finish line, that is the time to give it everything you've got . . . because sometimes it's mere inches that separate one runner from another. You must stay focused.
Categories: Christian Post

Saving Haiti

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 5:00am

Many children were orphaned by the 2010 earthquake.
(Image courtesy EFCA)

Haiti (MNN) -- It's easy to see the amount of physical need in Haiti: it's the Western hemisphere's poorest country, healthcare is lacking, and many villages don't even have clean water. But saving Haiti will take more than money. The problems of Haiti's people stretch beyond limited resources. Starfysh founder Steve Edmondson says the battle is spiritual. "We put a lot of stock, and need to put a lot of stock, in the power of God," Edmondson notes. On the Haitian island of La Gonave, Starfysh empowers people with a two-fold approach. While caring for physical needs like clean water and healthcare, Starfysh workers establish and cultivate friendships. These lead to conversations about Jesus and His salvation. "When people just pray in general, and pray consistently, the things we do day-to-day are made more effective because God is in it," says Edmondson. "I can give you examples of how things have happened that we cannot explain by human terms." The latest example took place just a few weeks ago. A shipping container full of supplies needed for Starfysh ministry on La Gonave had been detained by the infamously corrupt Haitian customs officers. Using word-of-mouth and social media, ministry leaders mobilized people to pray for the quick release of the container. "Within a week or two, that container was released from the [Haitian] customs that had pretty much hijacked it for months," Edmonson shares. "Praying is a practical thing that people can do. If we can move the hand of God through prayer, as God invites us to do, that is practical." You can receive the latest prayer needs and join the Starfysh prayer force by following the ministry on Facebook.
Categories: Mission Network News

Terror group inadvertently creates Gospel curiousity in Iraq

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 5:00am
Iraq (CAM) -- Editor's Note: We share this news story released by Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions. The personal experience described here about ministry opportunities made us decide to publish it in its entirety:

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Working in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region day and night to help meet the needs of people displaced by the threats and violence of the terror group Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul and other areas, members of an Iraqi ministry team recently came into contact with a colonel from the Kurdish forces battling ISIS. The colonel was serving as a division commander of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s armed forces, which have helped to slow the incursion of ISIS in its brutal push to establish a caliphate imposing a strict version of Sunni Islam. With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, the Peshmerga have also slowly retaken some territory. They are helping to secure the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the ministry team assisted by Christian Aid Mission is supplying displaced people with food, clothing, beds, and medicine. The colonel had a few questions for the team members: What was the reason for offering all this aid? What was the motivation, what was the source of it? “We spoke with him explicitly, explaining everything to him, saying that Christ taught us to love and express our love to the people in a practical way,” said the team director, who informed the officer that all relief items had been donated or purchased locally. The Peshmerga colonel, whose name is withheld for security reasons, was quick to respond. “You see the Arabs around you in the Gulf states, which claim to be religious Muslims, have not sent us anything but terrorists,” he told the ministry team members. “But you who follow Christ send love and peace and goodness to people every day.”

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

The conversation continued at length, the ministry team director said. “After we had a long talk with him about Christ, he bowed and prayed, asking Christ into his life,” the director said. “And he said, ‘Today I am the happiest person! I’ve had the privilege of making this decision,’ and he received a copy of the Bible.” The colonel’s experience was just one of many taking place in Iraq. In cities of refuge like Erbil for people displaced from their homes in other parts of Iraq, people are turning to Christ at a stunning pace. Tent churches are springing up in the makeshift camps. Under normal circumstances, mission strategies focus on how to proclaim Christ effectively, but the challenge now is keeping pace with the number who would receive Him, the director said. “The greatest challenge in the ministry right now is not whether these people will accept Christ or not,” he said. “In all our travel to deliver the aid and preach God’s Word, we did not find anyone opposed to or rejecting our message. The challenge is how and when we will reach all those people with the message of salvation in the squares, sidewalks, roads, inside the tents and out, and everywhere.” Christian Aid Mission’s Middle East director said that as a result of this trend, some church leaders and workers for ministry organizations are remaining in Iraq even as the cruel practices of ISIS--beheading Iraqi children who refuse to deny Christ in Qaroqosh and Western journalists elsewhere--gain greater notoriety. “I think of workers who stayed behind in Mosul and the surrounding areas because there are so many who are receptive to the gospel,” he said. “They are willing to risk being in an area under the rule of ISIS for the privilege of more and more fruit for Christ.”

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Forced to trust God more than they ever have before, these Christians are growing in their relationship with God in ways they had never imagined, he said. “I respected them before the Arab Spring because they were serving in Islamic areas, but now they are serving more and maturing even more,” he said. ”We need to intercede for these workers. They are all always in danger. They need God’s power to show His love to the thousands of helpless people.” When Iraqi ministry workers assisted by Christian Aid Mission obtain more funds for food, water, medicine, and other supplies, they have the opportunity to demonstrate Christ’s love in a tangible way, he added. “God has put within the hearts of thousands of Muslims a desire to read His Word,” he said. “We can be the instruments of providing them with New Testaments and audio Bibles.”  
Categories: Mission Network News

Cyclone Hudhud strikes India

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 5:00am
The AIRS instrument aboard Aqua captured infrared data on the storm that showed cloud top temperatures had dropped, indicating stronger uplift and stronger thunderstorms. (Image Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen Caption Credit: NASA.gov)
India (MNN) -- They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but what about cyclones? Cyclone Hudhud made landfall on India's east coast yesterday, bringing storm surge flooding, high winds, and torrential rain. Cyclone Hudhud's arrival fell exactly on the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Phailin. Phailin, largely overshadowed at the time by Typhoon Haiyan's wrath in the Philippines, struck northeast India on October 12, 2013 carrying wind speeds at around 127 mph. Lindsay Ackerman of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says they partner with believers who were affected by both storms. "Many people live in homes that are made of mud or straw, or perhaps they're just in tents--nothing that could ever stand up to the strength of a storm," Ackerman says, explaining why recovery is such a long process in India. Mission India helps the Indian Church in a systematic and measurable way through prayer, finance, and ministry partnerships. Together, national believers and Mission India lead Children's Bible Clubs, teach biblical Adult Literacy Classes, and plant churches. As Mission India's partners recover from Cyclone Hudhud, they're going to need your prayers. Pray for safety and for opportunities to introduce their neighbors to Christ. "Stepping forward in prayer really gives much comfort and strength, especially to believers there," Ackerman explains. "And that then gives them the strength to minister to others in their community who are affected, and to encourage them and walk alongside them." Find more ways to help through Mission India here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Ghana: taking Next Generation training to a new level

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 5:00am
Ghana (AMG) -- In West Africa, national director of AMG Ghana, Dr. Ohene Kumi, faithfully labors to give young people a chance to hear and respond to the Gospel of Christ and to grow into disciple-makers for Him. As a teacher at the All Africa Bible Institute, Ohene has many opportunities to train the next generation of Christian leaders for his country. Moreover, he holds leadership training seminars for pastors and Christian workers, conducts Vacation Bible Schools, and runs a discipleship program in dozens of junior high schools across the country with the blessing of the school authorities. This summer, Ohene and his team launched a 12-week discipleship program for youth. He sends this report on that ministry:

(Photo courtesy AMG International)

Dear Friends, greetings from Ghana. Here, thousands of children are left alone and unsupervised each day after school, and they are at risk of getting into all sorts of trouble. It is for children like these that we continue to seek ways to engage them in Bible courses to study at home with their peers. The unique impact of our new 12-week Bible discipleship program is encouraging. Of the 4,850 who graduated, 1,460 pupils received a personal copy of the Bible. They were deeply honored to receive such a great gift. We also introduced a program for the schools called the “Scripture Memorization Rally.” Two students from each of the 32 schools we serve competed in reciting 24 Bible verses to earn a study Bible for their chaplain. It was a great event where all the students taking part did very well, with the chaplains cheering them on. At the end, we presented 16 study Bibles to school chaplains. We are hoping to receive funding to purchase an additional 16 study Bibles for the remaining school chaplains whose pupils did well in the Scripture Memorization Rally. The excitement and happy smiles of the students who received their certificate and a Bible are so special. We thank you for your investments in placing Bible lessons and Bibles in the hands of these boys and girls. We praise the Lord with Ohene for the ongoing relationships with these students and the foundation in God’s Word they are receiving. May He continue to bless those who love His truth!  
Categories: Mission Network News

Refugees in Ukraine rely on support from Church

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association/Eric Mock)

Ukraine (MNN) -- Is the cease-fire holding in Ukraine? Is the war really over? Not exactly. Slavic Gospel Association Vice President of Ministry Operations Eric Mock says, "I think it has died down in the sense that there is not an ongoing military assault and battle going on that is pushing on a particular front. However, it's very clear that the conflict is still happening." Specifically, the United Nations says 331 people have died since the truce went into effect. According to the UN report, rebel forces reportedly found mass graves on territory formerly controlled by the army. It appears that indiscriminate shelling from both pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military caused most of the civilian deaths. This means it's still not safe. "When the truce first started, there was even a flow of people returning to the cities," says Mock. "What I heard was that a matter of days later, there was that same flow of traffic leaving those cities once again, recognizing that the conflict was continuing in those areas." Where are the refugees going? To the Church. "Refugees are leaving their villages and have nowhere to sleep. [Churches are] laying mattresses all over sanctuary floors so people have somewhere to sleep. Sunday school rooms are being turned into apartments. It's just very difficult for people." In the worst-hit areas, he explains, the disruption is significant. "Some estimate as much as 80% of the believers in churches have fled the area, so we're trying to provide for their food as well as a place to lay their head. SGA has been responding to equip the churches to do the work of the ministry."

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association/Eric Mock)

That’s why SGA created the Crisis Evangelism Fund: to help them seize this opportunity to reach their hurting people with the Gospel and meet their deep physical needs. Mock says, "We were able to build on the existing network that we actually have of relationships. We support over 120 indigenous missionary pastors, so providing aid was actually quite natural because we were able to work through the churches that we already had a relationship with." Refugees fleeing from the violence have flooded into other parts of Ukraine. Individuals and families who have remained behind are facing enormous economic challenges. With winter fast approaching, the need is even more urgent. "Many of these people left--literally, children--not even with socks on their feet," explains Mock. "Part of what we're doing through the Crisis Evangelism Fund now is helping some of these families with winter clothing." As the humanitarian crisis has reached a peak, the question is how to get aid to those who need it. Mock says because of their church network already in place, they could mobilize very quickly. "The work of SGA is to bring resources into Kiev, where either by vans, cars, or by any other practical means, they have been almost like a bucket brigade going from region to region and getting humanitarian aid into these regions."

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association/Eric Mock)

Most important of all, distressed families and individuals will hear a different message. Mock says, "In the midst of this conflict, there is now a people that are crying out saying, 'Tell me more about why I exist. Who am I? What is my purpose in life?' They're now asking deep searching questions in the middle of these trials. These trials have opened the door for the Gospel." In the face of an uncertain future and ongoing need, Mock says church leaders are asking you to pray about two things: "Pray for a tremendous revival among the people of Eastern Ukraine, a tremendous revival in Russia and Ukraine. Secondly, pray that God continues to lead people to give to the Crisis Evangelism Fund so that we're able to help people as they enter into winter." And SGA is asking you to give. $15 can help provide a food pack, which contain items such as flour, cooking oil, pasta, and other staples, plus Christian literature. With winter coming, a gift of $56 will help provide warm clothing such as warm socks, scarves, sweaters, and jackets to the most needy individuals and families--many of whom fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs. Larger gifts can provide other items like mattresses, pillows, and bed linens, plus Bibles and evangelistic literature. And as always, the Gospel is central to our ministry efforts.
Categories: Mission Network News

God's glory by Teleosong

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
Album Preview. More of you, All The Earth, Heaven And Earth Bow, Jesus, My Redeemer,Your Presence,High And Lifted Up,Shine your Light, Jesus, The true Shepherd, savior, storms, weapon, defeat, shield, armor, king, kingdom, dominion, power,[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

This Side of the Sky by Je'kob

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
Je'kob is a two-time Dove award winning Artist/Producer and has been called by iTunes editorial staff a "rap auteur." From his group "Sohljahz," being signed at the age of 19 to Warner Bros/Word Records, to operating independently under the moniker "Washington Projects," and now forging a partnership with Save The City Records, Je'kob has been a trendsetter. This Side Of The Sky follows Je'kob's solo freshman anthology "Faith Hope Love" that included the Billboard hit "Love Is All." This sophomore release creates a theme of seeing design in the natural world, the divine unseen within everyday life. The first single, "I[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Come On In by Whosoever South

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Loose Canon Vol. 2 by Canon

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
An alias representative of the greatest book in all of literature and reminiscent of rapid-fire weaponry carries lofty expectations and growing anticipation. Yet, this Midwest-born rappers aim is not to leave people in awe of his knowledge and delivery but to offer words of life. Loose Canon: Volume 2 is a compilation of 9 tracks attempting to do just that.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Before Amen by Various Artists

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
"Before Amen: A Worship Collection" is the music companion to the new book from bestselling author Max Lucado, Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer (Thomas Nelson). Before Amen is Lucado's most personal and candid book to date. It is written for everyone who wants to pray more, better and stronger, with more fire, faith fervency. Writes Lucado, "Since you matter to God, your prayers matter in Heaven. You are never without hope because you are never without prayer." "Before Amen: A Worship Collection" is a wonderful backdrop for prayer and personal devotion, offering a track list that perfectly[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Hope For Love by Brightwork

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Peter Furler Christmas by Peter Furler Band

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
From the traditional orchestration of ''O Come All Ye Faithful'' to the deconstructed ''O Come O Come Emmanuel'', the arrangements reflect a solemn respect for these timeless Christmas classics. For example, Furler's introspective vocal delivery on ''We Three Kings'' coupled with haunting melodies of the Duduk (Indigenous Armenian wind instrument), reinvigorates the often dismissed Christmas carol. The signature vintage sound of David Ian stays true and develops as he draws from his own cultural background. This album equally suits a meditative evening by the fire, or a dinner party with family and friends.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

A Very 1 Girl Nation Christmas by 1 Girl Nation

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 5:00am
This follow up EP to the band's successful debut album is sure to be a must have tween Christmas gift! Featuring fresh renditions of timeless Christmas classics paired with the new 1 Girl Nation original song, "Joy" this EP is a great way to put the whole family in the Christmas spirit. After a whirlwind year of touring that had the girls all over the country sharing their stories and hits with the nation, they're ecstatic to share these new Christmas songs with their fans.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News