The August 2007 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
Website down for maintenance
New Online Articles
The www.PneumaFoundation.org website was down, intermittently, for maintenance over the period of August 25 through 27. Although there are some minor updating issues yet to resolve, Dave Driggs, our webmaster reports that the software upgrade is complete. We are now running Java version 6 and Tomcat 5.5.
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- New articles by Dan Reiland added to the Guest Article index:
Successful or Fruitful? Are we measuring success in ministry the wrong way? Added August 1, 2007. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0081.xml
Church Politics: Part 1 | Church Politics: Part 2 Church politics is alive and well but you have the opportunity to significantly reduce it, if not nearly eliminate it in your church. Whether it's a big problem or you just need to stay proactive, this two part series will help you! Added August 1, 2007. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0082.xml
- Book Review: John Piper, Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce Reviewed by John R. Miller. Added August 24, 2007. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/JPiper-AmazingGraceWilberforce-JMiller.xml
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to add content to our website as a resource to our members and friends around the world. We also add links to content that we are not able to republish ourselves, but may be of interest. Here are some examples of links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp and from "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
- The largest list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools available online anywhere. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp
Add your school: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
- "Back to the burning bush: Leadership 101" by William H. Willimon (Christian Century, April 24, 2002). http://christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=2270
- "Rev. Parker's last stand: Fifty years of preaching" by William H. Willimon (Christian Century, May 04, 2004). http://christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=2271
- "Transparent lives" by Eugene Peterson (Christian Century, November 29, 2003). http://christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=1195
- "Coming Home" by Thom S. Rainer and Sam S. Rainer. Do your neighbors go to church? If not, do you know why? Their reasons are probably not the ones you'd expect. New research reveals why people leave churches and what you and your church can do to bring them back (Outreach, July/August 2007). http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/cominghome.html
- Christian Leadership: "The Debt of Leadership" by Myles Munroe. "The most effective leaders make themselves increasingly unnecessary" (Ministry Today May/Jun 2006). http://ministrytodaymag.com/display_cms.php?id=12945
- Christian Leadership: "The Character of a Teacher" by John Paul Jackson. "Private victories are foundations for a public ministry" (Ministry Today Mar/Apr 2004). http://ministrytodaymag.com/display_cms.php?id=8630
- Christian Leadership: "The Successful Staff" by Joyce Strong. "Staff relationships can make or break a ministry. Here's how to build a strong team that will be successful in carrying out the church's vision" (Ministry Today Sep/Oct 2002). http://ministrytodaymag.com/display_cms.php?id=3
Reports from Around the World
Jesus Film celebrates 1,000th translation
By far, the JESUS Film is the most translated film in world history. Billions of people have seen it, and hundreds of millions of people have made professions of faith because it. 'Doug' is with the JESUS Film Project and says they're celebrating their 1,000th translation. "The 1,000th language is the Lanka Kol language. That is spoken in South Asia, and the people group [numbers] one million." The people group is located in an area where Christians are persecuted. However, 'Doug' says, "The people group is an animist religion. The main translator for this language said that they are very open, but they have not been able to see any material in their own language prior to this." Doug says the work isn't done yet. "We are basically targeting at least another 500 languages that have 100,000 or more speakers. And as we are getting into these smaller and smaller people groups, the task becomes harder and harder."
Source: Mission Network News, 10 August, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10232
Iraqis request more Bibles from indigenous ministry
In early 2006, a Christian ministry in Iraq planted a church in the city of Nineveh, a particularly dangerous region for believers to spread the gospel. Three pastors were killed there in 2006. Recently a car bomb exploded 100 feet from the church, killing many who lived in the neighborhood. No one inside the church was harmed; however, the building suffered some damage.
Throughout 2006, this ministry distributed 20,000 copies of the New Testament in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, where millions of citizens have taken shelter from the dangerous conditions in Baghdad and other major cities. Despite the danger, many Iraqis have become interested in Christianity. The ministry has received many more requests for Bibles, and has started several Bible studies in northern Iraq. Ministry workers are now sharing the gospel with Iraqi refugees in Jordan.
This year, due to the Bible distribution efforts of this Christian Aid-supported ministry, a former major in the late Saddam Hussein's army accepted Christ as Savior. He and his wife have also led their entire family to Christ.
Source: Missions Insider 8:8 August 7, 2007. Used with permission
Good news from Haiti: more stability
News and Headlines
(MNN) - Political upheaval, kidnapping, lack of food, and high unemployment have plagued Haiti for years. However, things appear to be changing says Killick Aristede, Technical Director for Radio Lumiere, an outreach of World Gospel Mission. He says police now have the upper hand in gang violence, and the government is more stable. "They have been in power for over a year. The president is not a born again believer himself, but he believes in the power of prayer. He actually invites evangelicals to come to the national palace once a month to pray for Haiti, and we have seen big changes happening." With renewed stability, they need work teams to help their ministry because Aristede says Haitians are ready for the Gospel. "In the midst of calamity, in the midst of misery, the Lord has this way of getting the attention. I think He's getting the attention of the Haitian people right now, and people are turning to God because they are so desperate."
Source: Mission Network News, 26 July, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10173
for Current News and Links
- Evangelicals support global code of conduct on ethical evangelism The code of conduct is intended to distinguish between "aggressive proselytizing" and "evangelism," balancing the mandate to evangelize and the right to choose freely without manipulation (Ekklesia). | Pneuma Foundation writer Tony Richie was a participant in this convention. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/5573
- Russia: New legislation hurts work in Beslan, as terrorist video is released A terrorist-created video about the Beslan School tragedy points to Russian security forces as setting off the first explosion in the hostage crisis that would claim 334 lives. New anti-extremist legistlation is limiting the loving response that Christians are wanting to bring to the area (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10199
- "Teens crave godly advice" New research says that teenagers want more than just fun and games at their youth groups. They truly desire Godly advice and teaching (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10252
- Indonesia: Five Muslims face trial for the murder of Christians In a region that has seen thousands killed in recent years, prosecution has been rare (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10247
- Iran: As repression escalates, Iranians grow restless "Shi'ites well understand Sunni fundamentalist aggression.Within hours of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US, while Sunni Arabs throughout the Middle East were celebrating, Iranian civilians were spontaneously taking to the streets to express solidarity with the Americans. Hundreds joined in candle-light vigils in Tehran until they were dispersed by the regime ... 'The Iranian regime is overwhelmingly unpopular within Iran, but the notion of the proud Iranian nation being dissolved is universally unpopular. And so, when Washington or anyone else supports groups that define themselves by their ethnic or sectarian banners, the Iranian people fear that this will only lead to the dissolution of their homeland, not its long-overdue liberation'" (WEA RLC). http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/commissions/rlc/reports/articles.htm?id=1342
- Editorial: "Attack Dogs of Christendom" by David Aikman. Is this how to bring grace and savor to a crumbling civilization? (Christianity Today, August 2007). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/august/23.52.html
- UK: "'Chastity ring' girl loses case" British judge rules that a school may ban a student's chastity ring even though it allows Muslim and Sikh students to wear headscarfs and religious bracelets (BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6900512.stm
- Afghanistan: Taliban agrees to release hostages, but missions work at risk (MNN).
Earlier: Second kidnapped Korean missionary murdered by Taliban.
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
Responses from Readers
Your website is a very good place to find many resources. I am really blessed by the teaching ministry of the Pneuma Foundation. God Bless you all.
- Pastor BM in India
I appreciate all your work helping Pentecostals have the resources to carry on ministry and leadership from an informed perspective.
- Pastor R
Thanks much for the summer (2007) issue of Pneuma Review. It reminded me of what I like in the charismatic movement along with how the Lord impacted my life from being in fellowship among brothers and sisters in that movement.
I have to say that for myself today, I do grieve in a way over its absence in the circles I am now in. At the same time I don't miss various aspect of it. Just the same I'll go over that issue. And I liked the interview with Francis and Judith MacNutt at the end.
Thank you for the Newsletter. May God richly bless you all. Continue to mail me this newsletter. It is very informative and inspiring at the same time. Thank you again.
- Pastor Tembo
So very, very glad to have found you... your work is so desperately needed!
Thanks so much for all the great resources available from the Pneuma Foundation!
- Joe G.
Have a comment for us? Contact Us http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Resources You Can Use
Online Bible Commentary
"I am a retired Professor of Hermeneutics who is committed to the authority and inspiration of the Bible and have just put my verse by verse Bible commentaries online. I want to be a blessing to the body of Christ world-wide. These historical-grammatical Bible studies focus on the intent of the original inspired author.
"Currently, it has over 6,000 pages of written commentary as well as over 300 audio lessons covering the whole New Testament. It also has several video lessons. I will be adding over 500 more video lessons this summer. Most of them verse by verse Bible exposition.
"Please take a look! If you like it please pass on the web address to others interested in in-depth Bible study."
Dr. Bob Utley
Professor of Hermeneutics (retired)
New ECFA membership option designed for churches and small ministries
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), an oversight and accreditation organization with more than 2,000 Christian nonprofit organization members, has created a new division for churches. Churches should always be interested in appropriate accountability, especially those that are independent of a denominational structure. This new ECFA division may provide additional accountability, guidelines to good practices, and protection to ministries in this era of litigation and God-dishonoring scandals.
Excerpts from 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!
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
In order to complete this issue of the INFORMER while it is still August, no excerpts from the journal will be included.
Thoughts to Ponder: "Start Ten Mistakes High"
This past Sunday, I was talking to a good friend who pilots his own biplane. We were talking about some recent tragedies at nearby air shows and I asked him if he was ever scared when flying "loop the loops" and other stunts. His answer? He quoted a highly-respected flying instructor who once told him to start every trick '10 mistakes high.' I'm sure I looked confused, because he went on to explain that if the trick required 100' vertical feet, the instructor wanted him to start it at 1000'. I thought about that for a long time afterward. I've concluded that missionaries are more like stunt pilots than trapeze artists. We don't really have the luxury of a safety net. But we *do* have a band of prayer warriors and supporters that can help us survive a long nose dive. For every difficult task we tackle, we need 10 supporters and prayer partners to make sure we can survive. It's up to each worker, individually, to gather enough supporters and friends to thereby construct an adequate "safety net." Only then can we be assured of surviving every mistake. So 'start ten mistakes high' and gather your prayer safety net today.
Source: Brigada Today 2007/06/22. Used with permission. For a free subscription to Brigada's weekly missions publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit Brigada on the web at www.brigada.org
- Persecution, challenge and debate in Egypt. Though Egypt's Constitution guarantees freedom of belief, Egyptian Muslims are not at liberty to leave Islam because Islamic Law which forbids apostasy is used to interpret Egyptian law. The historically Christian Copts have generally been treated leniently if, after converting to Islam, they later seek to revert to their 'birth religion'. However the mood is changing. On 1 September Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court will re-hear the recently refused request of 45 Copts to have their identity papers changed from Muslim to Christian. The case has sparked heated debate.
Furthermore, a Muslim convert to Christianity, Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy (24), is taking legal action against Egypt's Interior Ministry for refusing to recognize his conversion. A long, painful but wonderful spiritual battle is just beginning. Please pray (See Isaiah 19).
Source: Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 441 | Egypt: Persecution, Challenge and Debate
- Tony Richie writes: "Just recently, within the last few weeks in fact, I've been appointed to the CCIA - Churches Commission on International Affairs. The CCIA advises not only the WCC [World Council of Churches] but also the United Nations on world events and issues with religious dynamics. It is officially listed in the UN by-laws as an advisory board on such matters. I am very pleased, and quite surprised, at the appointment. I understand that my experience in interfaith encounters and my status as a Pentecostal Christian were significant if not decisive in my appointment. I feel humbled at this development and inadequate for the task. Accordingly, I greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers." Pastor Richie is a regular contributor to the publications of the Pneuma Foundation.
- Hamas denies claims of forced conversion, family says otherwise. (MNN) - A Christian university professor in Gaza was converted to Islam against her will in late July. Though Hamas denies the accusations, the family reported that their daughter called five days after she went missing, reporting that she was forced to convert and to marry a Muslim man. Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrssays, "It is extremely difficult now for her to come back and say 'Wait a minute! I'm not a Muslim, I'm a Christian.' Because of the signed documents, even if they were signed under duress, in the minds of the Muslim populous, she is a Muslim." Reconverting to Christianity is apostasy - a crime worthy of execution in the Muslim mind. Nettleton says it's difficult to know what kind of help the professor will receive since Hamas claims she converted willfully. "In the government's mind then, 'OK, she changed her faith. That's fine.' So it's hard to know how the government will play this - what type of a role they will take. I assume that there will not be penalties."
Source: Mission Network News, 7 August, 2007 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10212
- North Korea: Crucial October Summit. North Korea is rated the world's worst abuser of religious liberty. Whilst US-North Korea relations have deteriorated over recent years, the North-South inter-Korean rapprochement has been more positive than most people may realize. The cross-border railway had its historic test run in May this year, the Kaesong Industrial Park is open for business and the Christian-funded, English-language, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is nearing completion. These positive developments result from the historic June 2000 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. A second summit is set for 2-4 October 2007. Please pray that the Spirit of God will be present before and during this Pyongyang summit, infusing divine wisdom and directing the event and the hearts of participants, for the sake of his Kingdom and glory.
This year (2007) marks the centenary of the great Pyongyang revival that transformed Korea spiritually and led to Pyongyang being known as "The Jerusalem of the East." Please join the symphony of prayer for this nation.
Source: Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 443 | North Korea: Crucial Summit 2-4 October
- Todd H., a Pneuma Foundation volunteer that has given of his time for years, wrote to us on August 26 to ask for prayer for his family and that his mother would be healed: "On July 6, my mom suffered a major stroke. This was followed by additional smaller strokes on July 10 and an additional stroke on July 26. This has greatly affected our family. Right now my mom is stable.
"The effects of her strokes have left her right arm/hand and right leg immobile. Her speech is also greatly affected. It is very difficult to understand her and hard for her to get the right words out. She is starting to do her rehabilitation at Brookcrest [Nursing Care Facility] in Grandville. As of today she has been there for two full weeks. She originally moved to Brookcrest on July 19, but then had another stroke on July 26 and went back to the hospital for a few days. On August 10 she passed out/collapsed during therapy and they rushed her to the hospital for observation. Everything turned out okay with that most recent episode - no further stroke and no heart problems.
"It is just really hard right now to see my mom in this condition. She is only 59. My dad has some special needs so I have been busy taking care of the house with the usual chores - grocery shopping, laundry, managing their money, etc. My prayer request is that God continues to grant me time, patience, and peace of mind to deal with these challenges.
"Thanks for your support and prayers. In Christ, Todd."
- Eritrea denies persecution of Christians. (MNN) - The Eritrean government calls the reports of mass Christian detentions "hyperbole." A senior government official categorically denies religious repression and suggests the reports are exaggerated. Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner disagrees. "The Eritrean government is still very much living in the past. They haven't come to grips with the reality of the technological age in which news of arrests does get out of countries very rapidly. I think they really do believe that if they simply say it long enough, people will actually believe them." Penner says while they can't engage in open evangelistic work in Eritrea, they can send a shortwave radio Bible study broadcast into some of the military camps where Christians reside. Penner notes that the government seems to be playing semantics games over the persecution. "They don't deny that there are Christians detained, but they call them 'members of new sects' who are assembling illegally. So they're saying, 'We're not persecuting people because they're Christians; we're detaining people because they're criminals.'"
Source: Mission Network News, 3 August, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10200
- Laos: Brutal crackdown targets Hmong Christians. The Hmong live in the hills of northern Vietnam and Laos. Last century, multitudes of Hmong became Christians through great movements of the Holy Spirit, mainly in response to Gospel radio.
The Hmong fought alongside the US against the Communists during the second Indochina war, but by 1975 the US had left and the Communists had won. The Hmong, especially the Christians, were then persecuted severely. Laos is one of the world's worst abusers of religious liberty and Christians there are treated as state enemies. The government has vowed to "eliminate Christianity." In June 2007, US police uncovered an alleged Hmong plot to overthrow the Laos government and rounded up the ringleaders in California. This has triggered severe persecution against Christian Hmong in Laos, where it is assumed the Christians have US links. Please pray. The situation is desperate.
Rebecca Sommer, a German-born New York-based filmmaker and human rights activist, has produced a film "Hunted Like Animals" that shockingly exposes the severe trauma of the Hmong.
"Hunted Like Animals" may be purchased as a DVD or watched as Quicktime clips from Rebecca Sommer's site http://www.rebeccasommer.org/documentaries/Hmong/index.php or as a series of YouTube clips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmSWXk1nFRc&mode=related&search.
Source: Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 442 | Laos: Crackdown Targets Hmong Christians.