The July 2005 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Articles, Links, and other FeaturesNew Featured Online Articles
New Guest Article
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- Living for Jesus Today: "Questions To Ask When The Dough Is Low" by Daniel Brown. When we do not seem to have enough resource for our legitimate needs, is it always the case that we are being attacked by the devil, or that we have been disobedient with our money? Added July 6, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/doughislow.xml
- "True for You (but not for Me)" from Facing the Challenge. Is Christianity just something that helps some people? Is there really any basis for right and wrong other than opinion? Added July 8, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/trueforyou.xml
- For more great content: Articles from the Pneuma Review http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article_archive.jsp
- "Small Group Shift?" by Dan Reiland. Paying attention to what really matters in small groups will allow them to become the community we all want and need. Added June 3, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_guest0012.xml
- Find other articles, reviews, and sermons on the Guest Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/guest_articles.jsp
Tell us about your web site
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Reports from Around the World
Bulgaria: man raised from the dead at wedding
In a letter published in "Verfolgte Christen" ("Persecuted Christians"), pastor Vesselin Lazarov from Shumen, Bulgaria, thanks the missions agency AVC for their practical assistance. He reports "God has performed many miracles in our midst. We recently witnessed a man raised from the dead. While some Gypsy musicians from our church were playing at a Turkish wedding, a young man fell to the ground, dead. People tried to resuscitate him, but without success. Then a member of our church prayed, commanding the spirit of death to leave the man, and called him back to life. The man stood up! The over 100 astonished eyewitnesses shouted 'A miracle! A miracle!'"
Source: Nehemia Info/AVC, www.avc-schweiz.ch by way of FridayFax 2005 Issue 26
Once-Tortured Believer Now an Advocate for "Christians in Crisis"
A Filipino pastor and evangelist who was tortured and scheduled for public hanging in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, now leads an organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide.
Wally Magdangal had just two days left to live when he was spared a Christmas Day 1992 execution because of the intervention of international human-rights groups, the U.S. Congress and the White House.
His crime, according to the Saudi Arabian muttawa'in, or Islamic religious police, was blasphemy. It was a trumped-up charge based on his agreement with a Christian magazine article that predicted the ultimate fall of Islam, he said.
He noted that the real reason he was imprisoned was because the underground church he'd led for 10 years in a sprawling Riyadh villa had become one of the largest in Saudi Arabia, with between 300 and 700 people attending each service. Magdangal and his wife, Mathilda, leased the villa, which included a pool they used for baptisms, from a wealthy Muslim who knew of their activities and cautioned them to be careful.
"All the Muslim taxi drivers knew where our church was, so they'd drop people off who wanted to come but didn't know the address," Magdangal, who worked as executive secretary to the Saudi director of defense and civil aviation. "We avoided punishment because government officials who were sent to spy on us would get saved and tell us who they were," he added. "Also, some of the people I worked with were very high up in the government and wouldn't allow anyone to hurt me."
However, Magdangal was imprisoned and tortured for several months. After Mathilda and their 2-year-old daughter, Preshus Joy, visited an unrecognizable Magdangal in prison a few weeks before his scheduled execution, his alarmed wife was able to circulate her husband's story to international media outlets.
On Dec. 25, 1992, Magdangal was expelled and returned to the Philippines. He stayed for several months, then he and his family toured Europe, visiting heads of state to tell them about the persecution and torture of Christians and other groups in Saudi Arabia.
Magdangal and his family moved to the U.S. in 1993 and now live in Sacramento, Calif. Christians in Crisis (www.christiansincrisis.net) supports persecuted believers through a network of 500,000 intercessors, and through donations pays for projects such as purchasing bicycles for Chinese evangelists, building seminaries in China and assisting Christians after natural disasters.
Source: CharismaNOW! http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=11581 Used with permission.
Laos: the gospel from the river
"It started under a banana tree," says a Christian from the southern Asian nation Laos. "I was hunting birds for my meal when a man from the neighbouring village sat down beside me and started talking. We spoke about our families, and I told him about my sick wife and mother, who were both tormented by evil spirits. I had already sacrificed twelve water buffalo, but without success.
"The visitor told me about Sipak, a man from his village, who had seen healings performed in the name of a God called Jesus. A few days later, my wife and my mother both died. In my desperation, I went to the other village to find this Sipak. He told me all about Jesus, how he had come to Earth to free us from the bondage of evil spirits. He also told me about God, the Creator, who loved me so much that he sent his son to die for me. I sensed a supernatural love and power in Sipak, and decided to follow this Jesus. I was immediately filled with peace and joy, and started telling others about my experience. Within a few days, four other families from my village accepted Jesus into their lives."
A book instead of fish
"Soon, though, our faith was put to the test. I was arrested by the police, along with two of the other new Christians. They wanted to force us to sign a declaration recanting our faith. We refused, and were sent to a labour camp. We had to work hard during the day, and at night, our feet were locked into painful stocks, preventing us from sleeping. After several weeks, twelve Christians were called forward at the morning roll-call. To our astonishment, the camp chief said 'You're good people and can go home. But I warn you: don't talk with others about your faith, or you'll be back here soon.' Back in our village, the oppression continued; the police came almost every day to force us into a confession. After a while, one of our younger Christians could no longer stand the pressure, and signed the declaration. To remove all traces of his Christianity, he tied his New Testament to a stone and threw it into the river.
"Three days later, a group of men from our village went fishing. When they drew in their nets, they were surprised to find a book instead of fish. To their even greater astonishment, the book was dry and undamaged! They immediately started reading, and were excited by the message. It was the supposedly disposed-of New Testament. Through this miracle, 24 families from our village started a personal relationship with Jesus."
Source: AVC, www.avc-schweiz.ch by way of FridayFax 2005 Issue 29
Helping with Reports
Other News and Headlines
The PNEUMA INFORMER editor is looking for volunteers that could help gather and format reports for publication in this email newsletter. If you would be interested in helping with this, or if you have a one-time suggestion of an encouraging story or report of what God is doing in the world, please write to the INFORMER editor by using the email address found on the Contact Us page.
for Current News and Links
See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Bringing Leaders Together
Editor's note: The Foundation applauds the efforts of the Center for Spiritual Renewal in bringing together Pentecostal/charismatic leaders to foster unity. Please visit their website at www.spiritualrenewal.net. Be sure to learn about the International Solemn Assembly 2005 being held at Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, from October 4-6, 2005.
Press Release from the Center for Spiritual Renewal: Bringing Leaders Together
One of the unique ministries God has given the Center is the bringing together of top Pentecostal/charismatic leaders in a retreat setting for the purpose of getting to know one another better. The premise is that there can be no true unity among the diverse groups of the movement without the development of viable personal relationships. The problem is there has been no forum within which these relationships could develop.
Beginning with Solemn Assembly 2001 and continuing with the "Together" meetings of the last four years, the Center (under the Lord?s direction) has been able to provide a structure through which more than 50 of the most prominent leaders (and spouses) have come together in a way never before possible. Over a two-day period, the participants met together with no speakers and no agenda other than "to hear from the Lord through each other." They worshipped, they sang, they prayed, they ate their meals together, but mostly, they testified to each other. They shared what was going on with them spiritually. The spiritual intensity, at times, has been overwhelming.
There have now been four "Together" meetings (2002, '03, '04, and '05) -- two in Washington DC and two in Los Angeles. Because of the generosity of an interested donor, all of the on-site amenities (rooms, meals, materials) have been provided free-of-charge to the participants. Underscoring the importance of these meetings is the fact that leaders at this level would even be willing to come to an event where they are not speaking and they are not in charge. Another remarkable aspect is the diversity of the participants --from classical Pentecostal denominations, Word of Faith groups, the Catholic charismatic movement, parachurch ministries, mega independent churches and Oneness denominations --most of them together for the very first time.
Already, out of the "Together" meetings have come a number of new partnerships and cooperative initiatives. There have been many reports of edifying personal experiences, as well. To give you a glimpse into the depth of feelings encountered, we share two anonymous testimonies from "Together 2005," held recently at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
From a denominational head:
I have just returned from two weeks of travel and only now am able to sit down and drop you this note of gratitude from (my wife) and me. We are so deeply appreciative of your invitation to and hospitality during the recent "Together 2005" event. Words really are inadequate. We felt valued, honored, loved, appreciated, respected . . . and much more . . . The spiritual exchange, kingdom networking, and opportunity to go to a ministry event where I did not personally have to "prepare and perform" were also highlights of our trip to LA. The bottom line is this: We are overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude. Our hearts are breaking and expectant for revival to sweep across the nation anew and afresh! Perhaps it is in the heart of the Father to use the Center as a launching pad. May it be so . . . Amen.
And from the CEO of an international parachurch ministry:
I can't tell you how much "Together 2005" meant to me. I was especially eager to meet this time because I had to miss last year. It seemed that the intensity of fellowship this year was stronger than ever before. Everyone was so warm and open. I felt like I was genuinely loved and welcomed by every other participant . . . and to think that these are the top leaders in their particular areas of ministry. I believe we have only begun to see the positive impact these meetings are going to have on the Body of Christ. Thank you again for taking the leadership to make such a time together possible.
Thoughts to Ponder: Accountability
"Church discipline is not an obstacle to the mission of the church; it is foundational to the mission."
Source: John Ortberg
"The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to each other."
Source: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"The concept of accountability seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur in recent decades. Secular humanism wants a world without accountability. Our culture wants crime without punishment, sex without babies, homosexuality without AIDS, children without parental responsibility, money without work, laziness without poverty, . . . and grades without learning.
"To a large extent, the modern church has been neutralized, and what one finds within are weak, hand-wringing pacifists. Just as the world is not comfortable with accountability, so the modern church is not. Too often, it wants the sweet, gentle Jesus of cheap grace, and in that name permissiveness falsely rules the roost.
"We will stand before Him to give account as to our service. Will we stand before Him unashamed . . . or will we try to explain why we never left the comforts of base camp, all the while giving aid to the Enemy?"
Source: Mark Smith
"To become a disciple means a decisive and irrevocable turning to both God and neighbor. What follows from there is a journey which . . . never ends in this life, a journey of continually discovering new dimensions of loving God and neighbor."
Source: David J. Bosch
Excerpts from the Summer 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW
The PNEUMA REVIEW is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders. For more information about the PNEUMA REVIEW, and to learn how to subscribe, please visit: Introducing the PNEUMA REVIEW. www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
Buy the PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
Write a review online for the PNEUMA REVIEW!
From the Editor's Desk: "Doing Theology" by Raul Mock
Read the article: http://pneumareview.com/from-the-editors-desk-doing-theology/.
Raul Mock is Executive Director of the Pneuma Foundation and Executive Editor of the PNEUMA REVIEW.
Read other great articles and reviews in the Summer 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
From "The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel's Messiah" Part 18: Matthew 22:41-23:39 by Kevin M. Williams
. . .
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence."
Read the entire series: http://pneumareview.com/the-secret-codes-in-matthew-examining-israels-messiah/.
Kevin M. Williams, Litt. D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
From "Fruitful Repentance" by Daniel A. Brown
Jesus is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31
Read the full article: http://pneumareview.com/fruitful-repentance/.
Daniel A. Brown, Ph.D., is the pastor of The Coastlands near Santa Cruz, California, where he is known for his challenging yet nurturing leadership. He is the author of several books, including Enjoying Your Journey with God (Charisma House, 2001) and What the Bible Reveals About Heaven (Regal, 1999). www.coastlands.org
Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
- Pray for Christians in Eritrea: Police recently raided a large Christian wedding ceremony in the capital of Asmara, arresting at least 250 guests. The marriage ceremony of Benyam Gezae and his bride, both members of the Meserete Kristos Church, was halted on May 28, Compass Direct reported. All those in attendance were detained and kept overnight at the police station.
After the mass arrest, authorities reportedly contacted the families of all the imprisoned Christians in order to determine which ones were members of the officially registered Orthodox, Catholic or Lutheran churches. Those prisoners found to be members of the legally sanctioned churches were moved to separate cells, and most have since been released.
But local sources confirmed that 70 individuals belonging to the outlawed Protestant churches still remain under arrest. The authorities have pressured these Christians to abandon their beliefs and return to one of the "legal" churches, but "all refused to do so," Compass reported.
Among those arrested are Gideon, pastor of the Meserete Kristos Church, an evangelist identified only as Immanuel from the Kale Hiwot Church, and Esaye Stefanos, a nationally known gospel singer from the Full Gospel Church.
Sources confirmed that a second Protestant couple that had planned to celebrate their wedding reception in Asmara canceled the event last month, fearing a similar police reprisal against their gathering.
"The word on the street in Asmara is that these arrests were direct retaliation for the protest vigil held three days earlier in front of the Eritrean Embassy in Washington, D.C.," a source told Compass. "The government is trying to make local evangelicals think that outside pressure is making things worse for them."
Organized by Release-Eritrea, the peaceful May 25 demonstration hosted by Jubilee Campaign and Christian Solidarity International drew nearly 100 participants.
Source: CharismaNOW! Used with permission. http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=11433
- Please continue praying for the healing of Kevin Williams. He had been forced to become immobile in order to prevent the surgical pin in his shoulder from migrating. As of July 25, the pin has been replaced with a plate and he has been able to slowly return to normal function. His left arm is still in a sling and he is experiencing constant pain. For several years, Kevin has served as a contributing editor to the publications of the Pneuma Foundation.
- Pray for believers in Uzbekistan: A Pentecostal Christian in the capital, Tashkent, has been tortured by police since being arrested on 14 June, and other church members have been summoned and threatened, reports Forum 18 News Service. 19-year-old Kural Bekjanov was tortured by both police officers and prisoners, trying to force him to abandon Christianity. His mother, Gulya, saw him on 26 June, when he had lost weight, had difficulty walking and his fingers and legs were covered in blood. "His mother heard the cries of her own son and begged them to stop beating him," Forum 18 was told. "They told her it wasn't her son's cries, but she said she knew the sound of her own son's voice. Yesterday police threatened to put him on a chair wired up to the electricity -- believe me, all this is happening," a church member told Forum 18. Protestants in Karakalpakstan, in north-west-Uzbekistan, the targets of a long running anti-Christian campaign by the authorities, have told Forum 18 of renewed difficulties in meeting.
Source: Forum18 News Service. See full article: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=595
- Pray for Christians in Pakistan: A radical Muslim mob recently attacked the homes of Christians near Peshawar after a Christian man was accused of burning pages of the Quran. According to the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Yousaf Masih, 60, who had worked for almost 20 years as a janitor for the Pakistani military, was told by his superiors to burn some papers on June 28, which turned out to be pages from the Quran.
Masih is illiterate, and did not know what was written on the papers he had been told to burn. But Muslims in the area found out and accused him of blasphemy. Police then came to Yousaf's home, where he was arrested. Insulting Islam, the Muhammad or the Quran can be punishable with death under the country's harsh anti-blasphemy laws.
Following Yousaf's arrest, a group of angry Muslims came to his home and began to beat Yousaf's three sons and his brother, Yaqoob. The group later returned to the area and burned and looted about 200 houses. Police have reportedly arrested 16 people involved in the attacks, VOM said.
"The situation in the area is critical, threatening and alarming for the Christians and especially for [Masih's] family," the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) said, Assist News Service reported. "APMA is ... helping the local community to avert any unpleasant situation and to defuse tensions. This incident is a clear example of [the] growing misuse of [the] blasphemy law in Pakistan against Christians and other minorities."
Source: CharismaNOW! http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=11535 Used with permission.
- Pastor Vijay E. has asked for prayer that God would send financial supporters for the orphanage he oversees in India.