by Admin / 16,642 Views
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The Good News about Jesus Christ has spread all over the world and will continue spreading until the end will come “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
The seed of Christian faith has tremendously grown every year. Most of the Christian converts are from Muslim countries that Jesus has personally encountered through dreams and visions.
Now, we will hear from Tibetans who were Buddhists and monks who accepted Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior.
Handley reports that 62 other Buddhist monks have decided to follow the footsteps of the former Buddhist lama and are now following Christ as well.
And that’s not all. “Just within the last year alone, [church leaders] are estimating that more than 200,000 people have come to Christ as a result of the labours of the Christian community there,” Handley says.
What is causing this avalanche of Christian conversions?
Handley says this is all due to the work of Christian workers who provided hope and healing to the people of Tibet in the aftermath of last year’s devastating quake. “They haven’t seen Buddhists, Hindus, or other religious groups helping in the midst of the rubble. Rather, week after week, it is the followers of Jesus who have proved the test of time, sacrificed their own lives to serve and been the hands and feet of Jesus,” he says.
Asian Access is playing a key role in this spiritual movement by training church leaders with the aim of establishing long-term spiritual growth in the region.
“Asian Access just has the privilege of coming alongside key pastors like the ones that have invested in this Tibetan priest’s life,” Handley says. “We invest deeply, building their capacity so they can reach their communities.”
“God does amazing things when you invest in people and see them grow deeper in Him, grow stronger as leaders, learn how to reproduce other leaders, and then it spreads through church planting efforts in ways that are simply remarkable,” he adds.
Asian Access is now seeking the prayer and financial support of Christians worldwide so that the organization could nurture the spiritual movement in South Asia.
Source: Christian Today
by Admin / 903 Views
As long as God exists, you can be what you want to be!! Please share
Who’s your hero? In 2008, 13 year old Joseph Schooling got to meet his hero, Michael Phelps, when the Olympian visited Singapore prior to the Beijing Olympics. Today, 8 years later, Joseph just made history by beating Michael to Gold in the 100m Butterfly finals - the first Singaporean to ever make (let alone win) an Olympic swimming final.
After meeting his hero as a young teenager, Joseph said “Michael Phelps may be my idol, but I just want to make my own career.”
He then became fully committed to his swimming and, 3 years later in 2011 Joseph beat Michael’s age-group (15-16 years) time over the 100 yards butterfly. At the time, Joseph said, "It's been a target of mine and I'm really happy to do that. It is a huge boost… Hopefully, I can get more of his records."
In 2012, at 17, he finally got his dream of swimming in the same race as Michael, saying it was "a tick off on my bucket list.”
That was the year Joseph first qualified for the Olympics in London, but then disaster struck when he was told his goggles weren’t olympic standard just before the race. He rushed to get replacements, but ended up getting a poor time in his heats and didn’t get through to the semi-finals. It was Michael who was there to comfort him:
"I was walking behind Phelps after my race when he looked at me and asked, 'what's wrong?'
"I told him what happened and he hugged me and said, 'you're only so young, you still have a long way to go. It's a learning experience so keep your head high and just keep moving on'."
Again, it was his hero who motivated Joseph on, and he thought: "I know that as I get older, I'll become stronger, and I'll fare better beside him.”
Today, Joseph not only became stronger, but strong enough to win gold in Rio, clocking a new Olympic record time in the 100m Butterly in 50.39 seconds.
Michael, who has already won 4 Gold Medals in Rio, ended up in a 3-way dead heat for Silver with South Africa's Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary, three quarters of a second behind Joseph. After Joseph’s win, Michael was the first to swim over and congratulate him.
Who is your hero? Who inspires you so much that you’re committed to do them the honor of committing to be even better than they are? And then achieve it?
"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." ~ Isaac Newton
A big congratulations to Joseph Schooling on the Gold. And to Michael Phelps for the inspiration.
by Admin / 22,655 Views
‘My doping is my training and my doping is Jesus. Nothing otherwise, I am crystal clear’: Ethiopian gold medal winner of 10,000m who smashed 1993 record insists she won fair and square
- Ethiopian athlete Almaz Ayana took 13 seconds off a 23-year-old record
- She won the 10,000m, beating record set by a doping Chinese runner
- Ayana, 24, said her 'doping was Jesus' and insisted she did not cheat
- Britain's Jo Pavey - Team GB's oldest ever female athlete - finished 15th
The Ethiopian runner who obliterated the 23-year-old 10,000m world record by 13 seconds as she won gold has claimed her 'doping is Jesus' as she denied cheating.
Almaz Ayana smashed the record set by Chinese athlete Junxia Wang in 1993, who later admitted that she was complicit in state-sponsored doping at the time.
No one had come within 22 seconds of Wang's record until Ayana's spectacular feat today. It was only the second time she has run 10,000m competitively.
She was almost immediately quizzed on whether she had been doping herself, which she firmly denied.
‘My doping is my training and my doping is Jesus. Nothing otherwise, I am crystal clear,' Ayana, 24, insisted.
- The 10,000m race was won by Ethiopian athlete Almaz Ayana in 29:17:45, a time that both claimed the gold medal and smashed the former world record that has stayed in place since 1993
Ayana was taking part in the 10,000m for just the second time. Her first attempt, in June, saw her record the fastest ever debut over the distance.
Earlier that month, she clocked the second ever fastest time over 5,000m, just 1.44secs slower than the world record set eight years ago.
Ayana's breathtaking feat comes at a difficult time in athletics, with allegations of doping leading to some Russian sport stars being banned from the Games in Rio.
by Admin / 4,001 Views
A church group in Sweden is planning to drop thousands of electronic Bibles over parts of Iraq controlled by Islamic State.
“The Bibles are the size of pill boxes and have a display,” said Christian Åkerhielm from the Livets Ord (Word of Life) group in an interview with SVT. “They require no electricity, but work on their own.”
The church said on its website: “Our ambition is to pass on the hope and love that can fit in the Christian gospel to a population living in closed areas where human rights are denied.”
"We start our project in a few weeks and hope to drop thousands of Bibles," it added. The drop will be carried out by another group on Livets Ord’s behalf, who will be using drones to deliver the devices from high altitude.
Founded in 1983, Livets Ord is an evangelical church with similarities to the Pentecostal movement in the US. "Through worship, preaching and mission we get to be a part of sharing the message of Jesus Christ with the world,” its website says. “We get to see God do great things and touch thousands of lives all over the world.”
In the past the church has sent missionaries to countries including Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Israel, and India.
Livets Ord disputed claims that the Bible drop represented an “attack” on Islamic State, saying: “The project has been in the media portrayed as an ‘attack on IS’ or with the terror group as the main target. This is not true.
“Our ambition is to pass on the hope and love that can fit in the Christian gospel to a population living in closed areas where human rights are denied it.
“The project is done in consultation and collaboration with local partners in the area … [and] occurs in parallel with humanitarian efforts, medical team in refugee camps and distributing food and clothing to the needy.”
by Admin / 2,768 Views
In a determined bid to break the record set by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a 44-year-old popular South African pastor, Alfred Ndlovu, has died of malnutrition following a dry fasting that lasted for 30 days.
According to Buzz South Africa, the cleric left home on June 17 for a nearby bush to have prayers just like Jesus did in an attempt to equal or break Jesus Christ’s record of fasting for 40 days, but died just a month despite having no history of illness.
It was learnt that the pastor was alone in the wilderness and his body was found by a stranger who then called on his family, congragation and the police.
He was known by his family and community at large as a very spiritual person whose faith could move mountains and his death surprised everyone, even church members.
A close relative said: “He was a very spiritual man. Its unfortunate he had to die this way. After a month we got the sad news of his death. Pastor was a healthy and religious old man who did not even look his age.”
by Admin / 6,832 Views
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Update (July 8): This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a package of anti-terrorism laws that usher in tighter restrictions on missionary activity and evangelism.
Despite prayers and protests from religious leaders and human rights advocates, the Kremlin announced Putin’s approval yesterday. The amendments, including laws against sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings, go into effect July 20.
Though opponents to the new measures hope to eventually appeal in court or elect legislators to amend them, they have begun to prepare their communities for life under the new rules, reported Forum 18 News Service, a Christian outlet reporting on the region.
Protestants and religious minorities small enough to gather in homes fear they will be most affected. Last month, “the local police officer came to a home where a group of Pentecostals meet each Sunday," Konstantin Bendas, deputy bishop of the Pentecostal Union, told Forum 18. "With a contented expression he told them: ‘Now they're adopting the law I'll drive you all out of here.’ I reckon we should now fear such zealous enforcement.”
“There are potentially very wide-sweeping ramifications to this law,” Joel Griffith of the Slavic Gospel Association said in a Mission Network News report. “It just depends on, again, how it is going to be enforced, and that is a very huge question mark.”
Earlier reporting (June 29): Christians in Russia won’t be allowed to email their friends an invitation to church or to evangelize in their own homes if Russia’s newest set of surveillance and anti-terrorism laws are enacted.
The proposed laws, considered the country’s most restrictive measures in post-Soviet history, place broad limitations on missionary work, including preaching, teaching, and engaging in any activity designed to recruit people into a religious group.
To share their faith, citizens must secure a government permit through a registered religious organization, and they cannot evangelize anywhere besides churches and other religious sites. The restrictions even apply to activity in private residences and online.
This week, Russia’s Protestant minority—estimated around 1 percent of the population—prayed, fasted, and sent petitions to President Vladimir Putin, who will have to approve the measures before they become official.
“Most evangelicals—leaders from all seven denominations—have expressed concerns,” Sergey Rakhuba, president of Mission Eurasia and a former Moscow church-planter, told CT. “They’re calling on the global Christian community to pray that Putin can intervene and God can miraculously work in this process.”
Following a wave of Russian nationalist propaganda, the laws passed almost unanimously in the Duma, the upper house, on Friday and in the Federation Council, the lower house, today.
“If this legislation is approved, the religious situation in the country will grow considerably more complicated and many believers will find themselves in exile and subjected to reprisals because of our faith,” wrote Oleg Goncharov, spokesman for the Seventh-day Adventists’ Euro-Asia division, in an open letter.
Proposed by United Russia party lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, the law appears to target religious groups outside the Russian Orthodox church. Because it defines missionary activities as religious practices to spread a faith beyond its members, “if that is interpreted as the Moscow Patriarchate is likely to, it will mean the Orthodox Church can go after ethnic Russians but that no other church will be allowed to,” according to Frank Goble, an expert on religious and ethnic issues in the region.
Russian nationalist identity remains tied up with the Russian Orthodox church.
“The Russian Orthodox church is part of a bulwark of Russian nationalism stirred up by Vladimir Putin,” David Aikman, history professor and foreign affairs expert, told CT. “Everything that undermines that action is a real threat, whether that’s evangelical Protestant missionaries or anything else.”
Sergei Ryakhovsky, head of the Protestant Churches of Russia, and several other evangelical leaders called the law a violation of religious freedom and personal conscience in a letter to Putin posted on the Russian site Portal-Credo. The letter reads, in part:
The obligation on every believer to have a special permit to spread his or her beliefs, as well as hand out religious literature and material outside of places of worship and used structures is not only absurd and offensive, but also creates the basis for mass persecution of believers for violating these provisions.
Soviet history shows us how many people of different faiths have been persecuted for spreading the Word of God. This law brings us back to a shameful past."
Stalin-era religious restrictions—including outlawing religious activity outside of Sunday services in registered churches and banning parents from teaching faith to their kids—remained on the books until the collapse of the Soviet Union, though the government enforced them only selectively.
Some have questioned whether the government could or would monitor religious activity in private Christian homes.
“I don’t think you can overestimate the Russian government’s willingess to exert control,” Aikman told CT. If history is any indication, the proposed regulations reveal a pattern of “creeping totalitarianism” in the country, he said.
The so-called Big Brother laws also introduce widespread surveillance of online activity, including requiring encrypted apps to give the government the power to decode them, and assigning stronger punishments for extremism and terrorism.
The proposal is an “attack on freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and the right to privacy that gives law enforcement unreasonably broad powers,” the humanitarian group Human Rights Watch told The Guardian.
If passed, the anti-evangelism law carries fines up to US $780 for an individual and $15,500 for an organization. Foreign visitors who violate the law face deportation.
Russia has already moved to contain foreign missionaries. The “foreign agent” law, adopted in 2012, requires groups from abroad to file detailed paperwork and be subject to government audits and raids. Since then, the NGO sector has shrunk by a third, according to government statistics.
“In Moscow, we shared an office with 24 organizations. Not a single foreign expatriate mission is there now,” Rakhuba previously told CT. “They could not re-register. Missionaries could not return to Russia because they could not renew their visas. It is next to impossible to get registration as a foreign organization today.”
While Russia’s evangelicals pray that the proposed regulations are amended or vetoed, they have gone underground before, and they’ll be willing to do it again, Rakhuba said.
“They say, ‘If it will come to it, it’s not going to stop us from worshiping and sharing our faith,’” he wrote. “The Great Commission isn’t just for a time of freedom.”
by Admin / 484 Views
Worldwide Challenge® writer Jess Fong asked Cru staff members Jennifer Hu and Gary Padgett for their advice on discipleship, a commonly used term yet vaguely understood subject.
WWC: What is discipleship?
Jennifer: It’s walking alongside someone; challenging them to study and live out the Bible in their life, and to influence others with the gospel.
Gary: Discipleship is meeting people where they are. It’s [an invitation to] someone who relishes carrying the cross: suffering, sacrifice, service, submission. It’s the highest calling, being a disciple of Jesus.
WWC: Where can I find someone to disciple?
Jennifer: I think a good place would be your church. Talk to the pastor and find out if there is a need. If you are a mom with older kids, maybe connect with a mom with young kids. If you are a young adult, maybe you can disciple someone in the youth group. If you are near a campus, connect with the local Cru staff members and ask if you can help.
WWC: How do you ask someone to begin a discipleship relationship?
Jennifer: I always like to ask the question, “How would you define discipleship?” Some people think it’s just counseling. Some women think, I just want to talk about the boy I have a crush on. I explain the Great Commission in regard to discipleship [Matthew 28:18-20] and 2 Timothy 2:2, about entrusting the ministry to reliable men. Then I say, “I’ve had people pour into me in a discipleship relationship and found it really beneficial. Would you be interested?”
Gary: I say, “We need to have a good understanding of who Christ is and how He wants us to associate with Him and one another, both the church and the unchurched. We’re going to do a Bible study, and get out and talk to others.”
WWC: How do you pick a disciple?
Jennifer: The acronym we use is F.A.T.: Are they faithful, available and teachable? If you are going to be investing time in this person, you want to make sure they are going to show up to the appointment. When you have conversations about what the Bible says, you want to know they will strive to walk in obedience.
Gary: I also say “T” is “telling others.” Even if they are scared [about doing evangelism], or don’t want to, they have a heart for people or want to have a heart for people.
WWC: Should you disciple members of the opposite sex?
Jennifer: No. Discipleship is too intimate, and you get into each other’s business too much.
WWC: What is your commitment to your disciples?
Jennifer: My expectation is you wouldn’t take this information and keep it to yourself, but you would be pouring into other people’s lives.
I sign a covenant with my disciples, which includes [these words]: “I commit to meet at our agreed-upon time. I commit to come prepared and offer you three things in our relationship: grace, truth and time. Grace: I accept you. You don’t have to perform, you have the freedom to fail, and you can be honest with me. Truth: I love you for who you are and too much to let you stay that way. I’m committed to the Bible and will use it. Time: Growth takes time, we are both in process, and neither of us has arrived. I agree to keep things confidential that we have discussed together.”
Gary: I tell them what they are getting into. Like their classes or their guns, we’re not just going to talk and look at pictures. We’re going to do it.
WWC: What would you say to someone who doesn’t think they need discipleship?
Jennifer: We need to be sharpened and poured into by other people. As you read the Bible, [you see that] people were in community together. We all have our blind spots. We are all susceptible to temptations. I’ve been walking with Jesus for a long time, and I need people to refine me. I need people to tell me how I affect them. I need to know when I’m not being fully humble and when I’m not being completely loving.
WWC: What should a discipler never do?
Jennifer: Do not act shocked. When the person is sharing something they are tempted in or did, they’ve just poured out their heart to you. Help them understand God’s best and extend a lot of grace with truth.
Gary: I never tell them [walking with God] is easy. The battle of the heart is the ongoing thing we live with. And maturity just takes time, and is sometimes a painful lesson. Following Jesus is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and the most rewarding.
WWC: Should there be a life span to discipleship? How should we stop?
Jennifer: Set up a short time initially, maybe three months, and a time you can re-evalute, even just to make sure if the other person is appreciating it. Be a good steward of your resources and time.
Gary: I have no problem saying, “You graduated, and it’s time to move on, and you and I can continue to encourage each other, but we don’t need to be a group forever.”
WWC: How can one be a good discipler?
Jennifer: We have to be teachable. We have to be willing to ask for help. If most of us are honest, the first time we do this, we don’t know what we’re doing. Be available to be used by God.
Gary: It’s the same as being a good disciple. I suffer with pride. It’s hard to follow Jesus, so to humble myself makes me a better disciple.