The February 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
Changes coming to the PNEUMA INFORMER
Distribution of the Pneuma Informer changing soon.
This is third notice that in the coming months the editorial committee is planning to change how this newsletter is being sent to all opt-in subscribers. The committee has decidced to begin using Google Groups to distribute this newsletter, with the goal of alleviating some of the administrative duties that our volunteer staff is currently spending considerable time on.
Your comments would mean a lot to us as we consider how to implement this transition. If you could take a few moments to write us, it would be appreciated by our volunteers.
Here are the questions we need to answer before we change the newsletter:
1. Since all of our current subscribers have opted-in to the mailing list, are many going to object to being added to the GoogleGroups mailing list? Would you rather be added (no action required on your part) or invited again (you would have to accept the invitation)?
2. Should a contents summary or "In This Issue" brief still be sent to INFORMER subscribers? Still sending the summary would mean more work for our volunteer staff. Do you find it helpful?
3. What departments in the INFORMER do you find most helpful or informative? What would you miss if a feature no longer appeared?
4. Would you be willing to volunteer to help prepare the PNEUMA INFORMER if you could? We need help finding and formatting news items, resources for ministry, and mini-articles to appear in the newsletter.
Thank you for your encouragement and support of this ministry!
- Raul Mock, Editor
February 24, 2006
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Articles, Links, and other Features
Articles from the PNEUMA REVIEW
- New and updated In Depth Resources for Christian thinkers, scholars, and students of God's Word. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/in_depth.jsp
- New links to: Ministry Friends http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_friends.jsp
- New links to: On-Line Articles and Books http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp
- The page most often updated: News & Current Links http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp
New Featured Online Articles
- Numerous articles are available on the The Pneuma Review On-line Article Index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article_archive.jsp
- Book Review: Andrew Perriman, Faith, Health and Prosperity (U.K.: Paternoster, 2003 / USA: Gabriel Resources, 2004). Reviewed by W. Simpson in the the Fall 2005 issue of the Pneuma Review. Online article added February 1, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=article_0044.xml
New Guest Articles
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- Heaven: Will I Recognize My Loved Ones? by Daniel A. Brown. Added February 3, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0045.xml
- Will I Still Be Me After Death? by Daniel A. Brown. Added February 3, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0048.xml
New In Depth Review
- Visit the Guest Articles index for more reviews, sermons, and articles by guest authors. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/guest_articles.jsp
- Christian Leadership: "Leader's Authority" by Dan Reiland. Where does your authority come from? Your answer to that question makes a difference. Added February 3, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0046.xml
- Christian Leadership: "Beware of Professional Christians" by Dan Reiland. "We are a local church not a cruise ship!" Getting and keeping an outward-focus. Added February 3, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0049.xml
- "Religious Liberty: From 2005 into 2006" by Elizabeth Kendal. A report on the state of religious liberty from the World Evangelical Alliance. Added February 6, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0050.xml
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Numerous articles, reviews, and links may be found on the In Depth Resources index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/in_depth.jsp
- Web Exclusive Book Review: Gary Hal Graff, Can a Christian Have an Unclean Spirit? Reviewed by Wonsuk Ma. Added Feb. 13, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0051.xml
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to be constantly adding 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 links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp
- Richard R. Hammar, "Tips on Reducing Legal Risk." http://ag.org/top/legal_matters/reducing_legal_risk.cfm
- Richard R. Hammar, "Children's and youth workers: your legal liability." http://ag.org/top/legal_matters/screening_volunteers.cfm
- Richard R. Hammar, Q & A: "Liability and Church Security." http://ag.org/top/legal_matters/liability_church_security.cfm
- Richard R. Hammar, "Legal Implications of Child Abuse." http://ag.org/top/legal_matters/child_abuse.cfm
- Richard R. Hammar, "Sexual Harassment" Defining sexual harassment and ways churches can reduce the risk of sexual harassment claims. http://ag.org/top/legal_matters/sexual_harassment.cfm
- From "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
Post-Charismatic Rob McAlpine seeks to answer questions about why numerous people are leaving Pentecostal/charismatic churches, even though they are not anti-charismatic. Suggested by Ted G. http://www.robbymac.org/charismatic
Reports from Around the World
Only Christians can help Islamic suicide bombers
Anne van der Bijl, better known to most as Brother Andrew and founder of Open Doors, the international organization supporting persecuted Christians, is convinced that the number of Muslims involved in suicide bombings will increase in the coming years. Andrew has visited Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian areas regularly since the early 1980's, encouraging the Christians and speaking with radical Muslims about the Gospel. He describes the militant Muslims as deeply depressed. "They are facing insurmountable problems: they will never be able to defeat Israel and the United States militarily, and their faith makes it very difficult for them to enter Paradise," he says. "Muslims know that they can only be saved by good works, but they also know that they do more evil deeds than good. Many Muslims are convinced that they will end in Hell when they die." They also have to admit that Allah does not answer their prayers. The Koran also shows them no way to be saved. Together, that leads many radical Muslims to choose death in Jihad, the holy war, because that is the only direct way to Paradise. "They see no reason to live, so choose the only reason to die," he said, addressing the 900 attendees of the Open Doors Day in Niedernhausen, Germany, on November 26th, the 50th anniversary of Open Doors Germany.
Hamas, Hezbollah, PLO: immense interest in the Gospel
"Unless we Christians go to the Muslims and tell them that they do not have to die because Jesus died for their sins too, the dramatic situation in the Near East, Iraq and Afghanistan will not change," he said, reminding Christians of their responsibility. In many encounters with leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and the PLO, he regularly senses a great interest in the message of Christianity. "I have given thousands of Bibles to radical Muslims, and no-one has ever refused. I have also often spoken with them about Jesus who died for the sins of the world, and nobody has killed me for it."
Be an example, don't discuss
Andrew called on Christians to show more courage and mercy towards Muslims, who are desperately seeking meaning in life. Many Christians have resigned in the face of the Muslim challenge. "Muslims do not believe, as we do, that Jesus is the son of God, and that he poured out his blood on the cross for the sins of the world. But that is exactly the answer we must give them in their situation." Christians should seek contact with Muslims, and tell them the Good News in love. "We will never win the encounter with Islam through discussions or sermons. We have to go and show them how Jesus can change people."
Source: Brother Andrew, www.opendoors-de.org Adapted from Friday Fax 2005/48. Used with permission.
Nigeria: The Central Government Fiddles While the North Burns
For decades after independence Nigeria was ruled by a succession of military dictators who were predominantly northern Muslims. In 1998 the death of dictator General Sani Abacha paved the way for democracy to be restored, and in February 1999 Olusegun Obasanjo was democratically elected President of Nigeria after winning 63 percent of the vote.
However, the election of the southern Christian inflamed many northern Muslim elites and former power-brokers. To regain their status, power and influence, northern governors exploited the poverty, hardship and ignorance of their constituents and re-invented themselves as religious reformers raising Islam and Sharia (Islamic Law) as banners of hope. (Note: these same "religious reformers" had not been concerned about Islam or Sharia while Nigeria was ruled by northern Muslims.) All across predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria, the flames of Islamic zeal were fanned. In the northern states of Kano and Kwara, moves were made to relocate and raze churches, while Zamfara, led by governor Alhaji Ahmad Sani, declared itself to be an Islamic state. In January 2000, Zamfara became the first Nigerian state to officially implement Sharia Law.
President Obasanjo and Nigeria's attorney general declared the implementation of Sharia Law "unconstitutional and illegal". But that did not prevent other northern states following in Zamfara's footsteps. The central (religious fault-line) belt of Nigeria tore apart as riots and conflicts erupted over Sharia and claimed thousands of lives. By August 2000, eight northern states had defied Nigeria's secular Constitution and implemented Sharia Law.
Today, in what is essentially a defiant act of secession, Nigeria's 12 northern states are all under Sharia. What's worse, the Sharia states are able to exploit and abuse their citizens and deny them their constitutional rights, without consequence, as the central government timidly acquiesces, surrendering religious liberty and Christian security in exchange for peace with northern Muslim elites.
Nigeria's central government needs to move decisively to protect the lives and restore the constitutional rights of Christians in the north, and bring the northern Muslim masses on side so that justice, equity and national unity can be restored with minimal bloodshed.
Source: First portion of article from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis. Full article: http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/news/view.htm?id=311
Bulgaria: Revival in Zlatare
Zlatare, Bulgaria is located 30 kilometers southwest of Yambol in the southern part of the country. It is a small village with a population of only approximately 200 people. Yet, regardless of its size, God has not forgotten its inhabitants.
Zlatare is just one of the many villages in the Yambol region where we have witnessed a spiritual revival break forth during these past several months of ministry in Bulgaria. The people there have long waited for and fervently expected God's presence with much prayer and fasting.
The church in Zlatare began with a small group of ladies gathering each evening in an old village home for prayer. The number of people in attendance soon grew and they began regular Sunday services as well.
As a result, the mayor who heard of these gatherings provided a building in which the village people could hold service. Services will begin in the new location as soon as it is remodeled for the needs of the congregation.
In late November, the congregation had its first experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit in which believers in attendance were baptized with the evidence of speaking in tongues. For such a time as this, God has chosen to pour out His spirit on the people of Zlatare.
Source: Adapted from Cup & Cross, Dec. 1, 2005 report. http://cupandcross.com/news/news.php?id=81
Egypt: knife in his tires, knife in his back
"Gerges is one of the most fearless village missionaries we know. Wherever he goes, a spiritual fire starts," writes Swiss missions agency Ziel 19 (Target 19). Gerges visits remote villages in Egypt, often without even basic infrastructure such as roads or electricity. He rides his old motorcycle, once even without air in his tires because someone with a knife wanted it that way.
Guerilla for Jesus
"Wherever the simple Gospel goes, it angers the mighty. It's always been that way. It's really the invisible powers behind the visibly powerful that do not want the Gospel," he says, referring to Ephesians 6:12-18.
But that doesn't stop him. He teaches the people songs, distributes tracts, cassettes and Bibles, and then disappears quickly. 'Hit and run,' he calls it, and sees himself as a sort of guerilla for Jesus. "A knife in my tires isn't that bad. Once, someone tried to knife me in the back, but the knife got caught in my jacket, and I was unharmed. I just managed to escape the fanatics who attacked me," he recalls. A few weeks later, he returned to the same village because there were people there hungry for the Gospel. "I was chased away, but not attacked with a knife. It gets better with every visit," he laughs. Gerges has started Bible and prayer groups in six of the 50 villages he has visited so far this year.
Source: Ziel 19, Switzerland. Adapted from Friday Fax 2005/48. Used with permission.
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
Elsie Mason: A True Civil Rights Hero
By J. Lee Grady
Her death didn't grab headlines like Coretta Scott King's did. But Elsie Mason and her late husband captured heaven's attention.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Christian History: "Elsie Mason: A True Civil Rights Hero" by J. Lee Grady. Her death didn't grab headlines like Coretta Scott King's did. But Elsie Mason and her late husband captured heaven's attention. http://pneumareview.com/elsie-mason-a-true-civil-rights-hero
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma
and an award-winning journalist. This article adapted from his "Fire In My Bones" column that he writes for Charisma Online twice a week. Used with permission of the author.
Press Release: Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship Formed
(ATLANTA, GA) The Board of Directors of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc. (TFFPS), announced the formation of a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) foundation whose goal is to fund Pentecostal scholarship.
According to co-founder and president Robert W. Graves, TFFPS was founded with the singular goal of advancing biblical scholarship within the global Pentecostal family. In so doing, it hopes to help advance today's move of the Holy Spirit throughout the world. "Our purpose at TFFPS," Graves stated, "is to remove financial barriers that impede advanced Pentecostal scholarship by funding doctoral- and post-doctoral-level research projects focusing on distinctive Pentecostal theology"
TFFPS will also encourage the publishing of Pentecostal scholarship by recognizing the best works of Pentecostal biblical scholarship through annual "Declaration of Excellence" awards and by subsidizing the publication, promotion, or dissemination of academic works that advance the Pentecostal faith.
TFFPS is dependent upon the contributions of friends of Pentecostal scholarship for the support of its projects. "The aggressiveness of our research agenda will be determined by the financial commitment of our supporters," Graves noted. The Board of Directors as well as the Board of Advisors of TFFPS are non-salaried volunteers.
More information about the foundation is available at its Web site: www.tffps.org
Book Review from the Fall 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!
Book Review: Faith, Health and Prosperity
Andrew Perriman, Faith, Health and Prosperity (U.K.: Paternoster, 2003 / USA: Gabriel Resources, 2004).
Read this review on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/faith-health-and-prosperity.
W. Simpson is a student at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and founder of www.readersunite.com
- "Please, pray for our young growing ministry so that our Almighty God can open ways for us to get the following: 1. Ministry Land and materials for Building 2. Public address and musical instruments which will help us in crusades, seminars, open air meetings and other church functions. 3. Ministry Library materials." - Pastor Caleb on behalf of Emmanuel Pentecostal Ministries in Kenya. Reference number: 90022382
- Middle East Christian Minorities Caught in "Cartoon Intifada"
Present political dynamics in the Middle East mean Christians there are particularly at risk of "cartoon intifada (uprising)" violence.
As recent elections have shown, depressed and repressed Arab Muslims, sick of the status quo, are massively rejecting secular Arab nationalism and turning to Islamism. To win the hearts and minds of these hostile masses, threatened Arab regimes are boosting their Islamic credentials by supporting and feeding off this "cartoon intifada." This is why anti-West violence has been so destructive in countries like Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories. Christians risk being scapegoats of Muslim rage. In Turkey a priest has been murdered and another beaten. In Lebanon a church was attacked and vandalized when Muslims rioted through a Christian district. Militants have ordered the Bible Society to close its shop and cease working in Gaza. Ask God to protect his Church.
Pakistan too: Tuesday, 14th of February "cartoon intifada" riots descended into violence and destruction across Pakistan. Western Christian sites have been attacked. Christians in Pakistan are facing much the same situation as Christians in the Middle East.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Prayer List 365. Used with permission. http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/postings/
- Pray about the Famine in Kenya: Once again drought threatens the lives of two and a half million Kenyans. Government figures estimate that 17 people are dying every day. The most vulnerable are children and the elderly. Eighty percent of the livestock in the northern and eastern regions have died because there has been no food, water, or grass for the animals.
In his New Year's speech to the nation, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared a state of national disaster in areas of the country hit by severe shortages of food and water, following a prolonged drought. He said, "In the next six months, up to 2.5 million of our people will be in need of famine relief." He also appealed for donations to alleviate the plight of those affected.
Sylvester O'kango, leader of Kenya Evangelism Team, pleads for help from fellow believers. "The nearest place to us is Pokot, where over 30,000 people are affected. Pokot is not far from our headquarters, and many are migrating here to get food. They have no shelter here and many are stealing just to eat."
Inflation continues rampant in Kenya, where the cost of a sack of corn or beans has doubled, costing more than the average Kenyan earns per month.
Source: Christian Aid Mission Missions Insider (Prayer Alert, January 13, 2006)
- Pastor Caleb in Kenya writes: "We thank God for his great Love signs and wonders. This is to let you know that he has done something to us i.e. we have received land for one of our fellowship churches and we are expecting Him to do more for us as we continue to pray." Reference Number: 90022520
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