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The April-May 2011 PNEUMA INFORMER

In this issue

Resources You Can Use
Online book: IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT
May is Digital Outreach Month
Resource Book to Understand Americans
Reports from Around the World
Zimbabwe: Abstinence and Fidelity Reduce HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Rwanda's message: remember the past, build the future
Nigeria: Fresh Outpouring of the Spirit
India: Hopeless Varanasi dangerous, but ripe for harvest
Russia: Nationwide success of Evangelical and Pentecostal Rehab programs
China: House Church leaders jailed
Bolivia: Overwhelming response to Jesus
Africa on Fire
News and Headlines
Report the News
Excerpts from THE PNEUMA REVIEW
Stephen Lim, "Elephant in the Church"
Brueggemann's JOURNEY TO THE COMMON GOOD, Reviewed by Jim Purves
Vondey's PENTECOSTALISM AND CHRISTIAN UNITY, Reviewed by David Bradnick
Prayer Requests
Condolences

Resources You Can Use

Online book: IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT
Decade of Pentecost, an outreach program of the Africa Assemblies of God Alliance, is offering Denzil R. Miller's book, In Step With the Spirit: Studies in the Spirit-Filled Walk (Springfield, MO: AIA Publications, 2008) online.
"A practical handbook on how to live a spiritually dynamic life."
This links to the 25MB PDF: http://www.decadeofpentecost.org/ebooks/InStep.pdf

May is Digital Outreach Month
"You have an incredible gift at your fingertips - literally. Your keyboard," says the team at Internet Evangelism Day. They claim there is growing potential to share the good news online in a variety of ways. Christians can investigate these options during May, which has been designated Digital Outreach Month. At its center is the worldwide annual focus Sunday, Internet Evangelism Day itself, on May 15.
"You do not need to be technical," says Tony Whittaker, IE Day coordinator. "There are many simple yet fulfilling ways of being salt and light in cyberspace."
On May 15, IE Day is partnering with several major publishers to offer free e-book downloads of Christian titles which are normally pay-for. These cover web evangelism, social networking and other areas of effective communication.
"This is a great opportunity to explore digital evangelism. I encourage Christians everywhere to take advantage of these free downloads to learn how to effectively share their faith in the digital world," says Naomi Frizzell, Chief Communications Officer of The Lausanne Movement.
IE Day encourages churches and other groups to focus on digital evangelism during May, at any level they choose. As a minimum, IE Day can be featured in a church bulletin, so that members can investigate its resource website. Alternatively, focus spots can be created during meetings using IE Day's free downloadable video clips or PowerPoint, or even perform a drama sketch that relates to online evangelism. Two new video-clip resource sites could be showcased live by projection, to demonstrate how to add an evangelistic video to Facebook with one click. These videos can also be downloaded to a mobile phone to share face-to-face.
IE Day's site includes pages on using mobile phones for evangelism, creating 'outsider-friendly' church websites and introductory videos, social networking, how to blog or build a website, and much else. Explore www.IEDay.net to learn more.

Resource Book to Understand Americans
If you work with an American, he or she probably drives you crazy. If you are one, then everyone else probably drives you crazy (smile). Bottom line, everybody will probably benefit from reading this in one way or another. Acclaimed for being "a good resource for those working with international students, refugees, or other foreigners in the US. And also good for Americans to better understand our own quirks."
http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Americans-Handbook-Visitors-ebook/dp/B003XDT8WC
Editor's note: Even if you do not own a Kindle, which this free ebook was desgned for, you can use Kindle-reader software on other platforms.
Source: Adapted from Brigada Today 2010/12/25

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Reports from Around the World

Zimbabwe: Abstinence and Fidelity Reduce HIV/AIDS Epidemic
A Harvard study points to fidelity as the major reason behind the 50% reduction in HIV prevalence since the 1990s.
Full story: www.lifesitenews.com/news/huge-drop-in-zimbabwe-hiv-rate-fuelled-by-rise-in-abstinence-fidelity-unaid (LifeSiteNews)
Thanks to Web Evangelism Bulletin April (i) 2011 for recommending this report.

Rwanda's message: remember the past, build the future
It has been 17 years since genocide claimed the lives of nearly a million people in less than three months. As much as there is grief, there is also hope. Evangelist Sammy Tippit's ministry has a long history in that country in support of the reconciliation efforts. He was there shortly after the genocide. "There was a great need for reconciliation, and it looked like an impossible task." Today, it's a different story. God has been moving. "The church has been out at the forefront of this. They started some small churches and started reaching out across the ethnic lines. They began to bring people together inside their churches and tried to bring healing in every way: physically, emotionally, and spiritually." People know they must teach the coming generation differently, or breed conditions for genocide. "Christians have the opportunity to go in to the universities and minister to the university students and professors and help them to educate a new generation to something that will be very healthy."
Source: Mission Network News, 14 April, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15590

Nigeria: Fresh Outpouring of the Spirit
Reverend Chris Busari, principal of the Northeastern Bible College of Assemblies of God in Demsa-Yola, Nigeria, wrote that the school conducted spiritual emphasis meetings with guest speaker Pastor Eme Tasie March 15-17. Busari said, "On the last day of the program Pastor Tasie taught on the indispensible power and person of the Holy Spirit." Afterward, when the students began to seek for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the meeting place was filled with the Spirit's presence. "Instantly the students and faculty experienced a visitation of the Spirit. Some fell to the ground and began to speak in tongues. Shouts of joy filled the chapel." Other gifts of the Spirit were manifested with some of the students receiving definite guidance regarding their specific areas of calling. Busari continued, "Those harassed by evil spirits were completely delivered. Students from orthodox churches were instantly baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues." Visitors from the neighborhood were also filled with the Spirit. Busari concludes, "It was indeed another Azusa Street outpouring!"
Editor's Note: This report of church renewal came only days before the fresh explosion of violence in Nigeria over the recent national elections (see "Africa on fire" below).
Source: Adapted from Decade of Pentecost Report (April 2011) from Acts in Africa Initiative of the Assemblies of God in Africa. Used with permission. decadeofpentecost.org

India: Hopeless Varanasi dangerous, but ripe for harvest
Varanasi, India is like the Mecca of Hinduism. Over a million people are there daily, bathing in holy rivers to wash sin away and have a better chance of a good reincarnation. Many go there to die. President of Mission India Dave Stravers was just there and saw the false hope up close. "For most foreign, Christian visitors, it's a pretty ugly experience. It really is Satan on display." However, the Gospel is surprisingly well received in Varanasi. People welcome news about a God who loves them. Many missionaries are there as a result, but "once the Christian workers start seeing success, people coming to the Lord, and new churches starting, this can cause a pretty violent reaction. We've had a lot of reports of persecution." One pastor Stravers met was preparing 10 followers to take over the work if he's killed - he's threatened weekly. Even still, many are desperate to share the Truth. "We're training a lot of people, but there are literally thousands of people who need training. We have a waiting list of people." Learn more about the need at our Web site.
Source: Mission Network News, 28 April, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15655

Russia: Nationwide success of Evangelical and Pentecostal Rehab programs
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/april/rehabrevival.html

China: House Church leaders jailed
At least 10 House Church leaders in jail because of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/5115916851.html
See also: "Why Beijing's Largest House Church Refuses to Stop Meeting Outdoors: Shouwang vows to continue showdown until Christmas in hopes of ending Achilles' heel of unregistered churches: government pressure on landlords."
www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/aprilweb-only/beijinghousechurch.html

Bolivia: Overwhelming response to Jesus
A group of missionaries with Pioneers in Bolivia ventured to a remote village to tell the Good News. Similar trips in the past had varying success. After traveling for five hours, they found a school but only seven houses. Amazingly, at the set time, over 60 people showed up to watch the Jesus story. 40 adults and youth surrendered to Christ, asking, "Why hasn't anyone come and told us this before?" The missionaries are praising God for these new followers of Christ and asking for prayer: Pray that the Lord would continue to move in this village. Pray that the Holy Spirit would shape and grow the community in faithfulness to Christ, and that they would in turn be able to share the message with many.
Source: Mission Network News, 20 April, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15621

Africa on Fire
Calling for increased prayer, Rae Burnett, Africa Director at Virginia-based Christian Aid Mission, has confirmed reports that many thousands of Christians in North Africa and Nigeria spent the Easter holidays locked behind closed doors for their safety. For example, during the last 10 days of rioting (in late April 2011) over the outcome of the presidential election, more than 60 churches were burned down in Maiduguri and Sokoto by anti-Christian mobs in northern Nigeria along with thousands of homes and businesses owned by Christians.
So far news reports say that over 500 Christians have been killed, including native missionaries, pastors and leaders. Thousands more are fleeing to the predominantly Christian South, despite government-imposed curfews. Last year, more than 2000 Christians were killed in targeted Nigerian violence, more than in any other country in the world.
"We need to pray for our fellow believers, not only in Nigeria but also throughout North Africa," says Burnett. "Many of our brothers and sisters in these areas are undergoing severe and increasing persecution. Native missionaries survive and minister in what seems to be a continual state of war or political upheaval - particularly right now in Egypt, Ivory Coast, Libya, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Sudan."
... The terrible problem of genocide in Darfur still exists, she explains. "Indigenous ministries helped by Christian Aid are leading Darfur refuges to Christ as well as helping poor villagers through ministry-established clinics and schools. Many have come to know the Lord through these efforts.
"We also need to pray for believers in Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania who live under constant surveillance and uncertainly of what will happen to them next.
"Pray for Christians in Western Saharan. In a secret desert meeting, I asked a Saharawi believer what would happen to him if it was known that he is a Christian. He made a horizontal slashing motion across his neck and said 'Even my own father would cut my throat.'"
Burnett said she was followed constantly by secret police when visiting the northern Moroccan portion of that divided and war-torn country.
In Senegal, Christians in the southern Casamance face danger from both sides as rebel forces have been fighting for independence since 1990. Pray for believers in Burkina Faso where anti-government violence has broken out in and near the capital.
"We here in the United States and other free countries often have more information about some of these situations than even local leaders. We need to use our knowledge to pray and help with humanitarian aid along with the gospel."
Source: From Missions Insider "Africa on Fire" (27 April, 2011)

News and Headlines
Visit links.jsp for Current News and Links
  • Church of God leader dies Dr. Ray H. Hughes Sr., former general overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) and past president of Lee University and the National Association of Evangelicals, died on April 4. He was 87 (MinistryToday). http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-news/65-news-main/19099-former-church-of-god-leader-ray-h-hughes-sr-dies
  • China: Underground Beijing church members detained (CHINAaid). http://www.chinaaid.org/2011/04/underground-beijing-church-members.html
  • India: A forgotten people embrace Jesus but cannot read the Bible (MNN). www.mnnonline.org/article/15608
  • Nigeria: Post-election rioting continues Violent rioting over the election of a Christian president has set northern Nigeria on fire (Christian Solidarity Worldwide). http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1161
  • Iraq: Baghdad Church Bombing Injures 7 The violence is not a isolated incident (Worthy News). www.christianpersecution.info/index.php?view=10204
  • USA: Appreciating the King James Version In 400 years, this English translation has become influential across the world (LifeWay). www.lifeway.com/article/170739
  • Ethiopia: Evangelist beaten to death Four Muslim men allegedly lured the evangelist away from his home, beat him to death and assaulted his pregnant wife (International Christian Concern/ASSIST News). www.assistnews.net/Stories/2011/s11040159.htm
  • David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash David Wilkerson, founder of Teen Challenge (now World Challenge Ministries), was killed April 27 in a car accident in East Texas (CharismaNews). www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/30794-david-wilkerson-killed-in-car-crash
  • Libya: Christians flee continued fighting (MNN). www.mnnonline.org/article/15661
  • Burma: Christians intentionally neglected by government Aid is being withheld from Christians in the aftermath of a severe earthquake. Over 100 are feared dead from the late March Burma quake, and hundreds are now homeless. The Myanmar government continues to refuse international humanitarian aid (MNN). www.mnnonline.org/article/15644
  • US Panel blacklists Egypt for relgious oppression Congressional commission on international religious freedom says that Egypt systematically oppresses Christians and minority Muslim sects. The independent, bipartisan panel has noted that President Obama has not heeded any of their recommendations (Washington Times). www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/28/us-blacklist-cites-egypt-for-religious-oppression
  • US-Mexico border: Prayer Initiative Making Impact (CharismaNews). www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/30792-us-mexico-border-prayer-initiative-making-impact
    Christians speak to violence Offering the only real hope (MNN). www.mnnonline.org/article/15628
  • US: Military Chaplains Seek Protection for Troops Who Oppose Homosexuality (CharismaNews). www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/31060-military-chaplains-seek-protection-for-troops-who-oppose-homosexuality

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

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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

For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.





Stephen Lim, "Elephant in the Church"

From the Spring 2011 issue

Excerpt from "Elephant in the Church: Identifying Hindrances and Strategies for Discipleship"
By Stephen Lim

Read the full article on the PneumaReview.com website: http://pneumareview.com/elephant-in-the-church-identifying-hindrances-and-strategies-for-discipleship

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Stephen Lim, M.Div. and D.Min (Fuller Theological Seminary), serves as Academic Dean and Professor of Leadership and Ministry at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO. His article, "Why You Need A Savior," was selected by the Evangelical Press Association as the second best article on evangelism published in 2009. He is presently working on a book, "Transforming Believers into Growing Disciples."

Read other articles in the Spring 2011 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp


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Brueggemann's JOURNEY TO THE COMMON GOOD, Reviewed by Jim Purves

From the Spring 2011 issue

Walter Brueggemann, Journey to the Common Good (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 125 pages, ISBN 9780664235161.

Read the review on the PneumaReview.com website: http://pneumareview.com/walter-brueggemann-journey-to-the-common-good/

Reviewed by Jim Purves

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Jim Purves, Ph.D. (University of Aberdeen, Scotland), B.D. (Hons) Christian Dogmatics (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), L.L.B. (Hons) Law (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), is pastor of Bristo Baptist Church, Edinburgh, and adjunct lecturer and research tutor at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of The Triune God and the Charismatic Movement (Paternoster, 2004). www.bristobaptist.org

Read more reviews and other articles in the Spring 2011 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp


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Vondey's PENTECOSTALISM AND CHRISTIAN UNITY, Reviewed by David Bradnick

From the Spring 2011 issue

Wolfgang Vondey, ed., Pentecostalism and Christian Unity: Ecumenical Documents and Critical Assessments (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick, 2010), 277 pages, ISBN 9781608990771.

http://pneumareview.com/wolfgang-vondey-pentecostalism-and-christian-unity/

Read the review on the PneumaReview.com website: http://pneumareview.com/walter-brueggemann-journey-to-the-common-good/

Reviewed by David Bradnick

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David Bradnick, M.A. Religion (Lancaster Theological Seminary), is an instructor in the philosophy department at Harrisburg Area Community College and Stevenson University. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, VA.

Read more reviews and other articles in the Spring 2011 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp


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Prayer Requests

  • The Religious Liberty Partnership (a collaborative effort of Christian organizations from around the world focused on religious liberty), meeting in Virginia, USA, issued this statement: "we appeal to the worldwide church to pray for the nation of Pakistan. We mourn the callous murder of Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti [in March 2011] and ... call on Christian denominations, churches, and organisations worldwide to take this appeal to their members to pray for Pakistan in recognition that we are one body united in Christ."
    Source: From the Virginia Statement on the Islamic Republic of Pakistan April 2011. For more information on the Pakistan Statement or on the Religious Liberty Partnership, contact Brian O'Connell, RLP Facilitator at: Brian@REACTServices.com
  • Charges against Christians in Bangladesh Compass Direct News Service (CDNS) reports about a positive development in a case against six volunteer health care workers in Damurhuda, Chuadanga district, northwest of Bangladesh's capital city of Dhaka who were charged in March 2011 with "hurting religious feelings" after area Muslims objected to distribution of Christian literature at a health camp. The six local volunteers were working with a Japanese volunteer doctor, who offered Christian leaflets and Bibles to patients, telling patients they were under no obligation to take them. The Christians were arrested under Section 54 of the penal code, according to which a special power is granted to police to arrest anyone on any suspicion. The police prosecuted them under section 295-A of the penal code for hurting religious sensibilities. But as no investigation report was submitted by the police within 15 days of the beginning of prosecution, the Christians were released at a hearing held on the 10th of April. According to a pastor from northwest Bangladesh, cited by CDNS, "This incident of harassment is a grim reminder of how vulnerable the Christians here are in Muslim-majority society, though rights of religious freedom and freedom of expression by minorities are ensured in our constitution," Mridha said.
    Prayer points: Pray for true religious freedom and the rights of minorities to be respected in Bangladesh - the world's third-largest Muslim-majority nation. Pray for protection of the Christian minority in Bangladesh, that comprises less than 1 percent of the total population. Pray for peaceful cohabitation between Christians, Muslims and Hindus in the country.
    Source: WEA Religious Liberty Prayer News, 01.05.2011
  • Appeal for Prayer for Japan. Pray that God changes the spiritual condition of the affected areas of the earthquake. The areas affected by the earthquake and tsunamis of Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaraki are some of the most spiritually needy places in Japan. With over 4.9 million people yet only about 9,000 active Christians (about 0.15%) in 454 churches. Fukushima has the lowest average worship attendance with only 19 per church. There is one city and 44 towns still with no church.
    Pray for CRASH relief efforts (and other agencies active and networking together) as they assess needs and resources and begin mobilizing people for relief efforts. crashjapan.com
    Source: BrigadaToday (2011/04/01 issued 2011/04/26)
  • Pray for the Chinese Church. From WEA Press release 29 April, 2011.
    The WEA [World Evangelical Alliance] wishes to express its concern over the recent incidents related to Shouwang Church and the local authorities, and calls upon its member constituency to pray for a peaceful resolution to the situation.
    The unsuccessful bid by Shouwang Church to secure their preferred place of worship led its members to express their frustration by choosing to worship outdoors the past three Sunday mornings, which resulted in the arrest and subsequent release of its members by local authorities. That has created an environment of conflict and mistrust.
    Despite all the reasons that led to confrontations between church members and authorities, we pray that the situation can be equitably resolved. It is our belief and understanding that the Church in China wishes to be a blessing to their nation, to be good and faithful citizens, and to participate in nation building together with all Chinese.
    We call upon all Christians to pray for the Church in China and specifically for this situation. May the Father's peace and protection surround those who are amid difficulties and may both sides find a way of bringing about an environment conducive for a peaceful resolution.

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Condolences

  • Condolences to the family of Ryan Davis who passed away unexpectedly on May 22, 2011. Please join the volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation in praying for his widow, Emilie Davis, who has been volunteering with the Foundation for several years. Ryan was 28, and brother-in-law to Erin Mock, wife of Executive Editor Raul Mock. Obituary: www.cookfamilycares.com/#/obituary/886978