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Pray for the World 9 November 2005
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-11-10 01:13:17 UTC
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Pray for the World 9 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:



DOCUMENT REVEALS VIETNAM'S STRATEGY TO 'ERADICATE' CHURCHES

MISSION LEADER FEARS DOORS FOR GOSPEL COULD CLOSE IN BELARUS

BILLY GRAHAM CONFIRMS THAT NEW YORK CRUSADE WAS HIS LAST

CANADIAN CHURCH UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT USING SHOCK TACTICS ON SEX

SIX-MONTH WALK ACROSS U.S. INTENDED FOR 'SPIRITUAL AWAKENING'



Today's Top Stories:



DOCUMENT REVEALS VIETNAM'S STRATEGY TO 'ERADICATE' CHURCHES

A leaked document obtained by a Christian religious rights organization
shows that government officials in tribal areas of Vietnam are vowing to
"fight religion" and "eradicate" places of Christian worship. The Center
for Religious Freedom, based at Freedom House, has a document describing a
"comprehensive campaign by Communist Party and government officials, in
partnership with the police and military that was scheduled to have been
waged from March 2 through June 30, 2005." Because of the remoteness of
the rural district, Freedom House says it has not yet been confirmed
whether the campaign was implemented. The document reveals an official
policy of forcing Hmong Christians to give up their faith and of
"eradicating" Christian meeting places. "This document indicates that the
situation in Vietnam can be summed up as repression as usual," said Center
for Religious Freedom Director Nina Shea. There are an estimated 100
religious prisoners in jail or under some form of house arrest for
religious activity and hundreds of churches, home worship centers, and
meeting places in Vietnam remain closed. (Assist News Service)



MISSION LEADER FEARS DOORS FOR GOSPEL COULD CLOSE IN BELARUS

Christians in the Eastern European country of Belarus are reporting
increased harassment from authorities, says Tim Burns of Global Aid
Network (GAiN-USA) who is working to assemble a winter project team to go
into the country. However, he is concerned that the doors for future teams
could be closing. "It is beginning to be a little bit harder to go into
certain areas," he said. "Some public schools we were able to go in before
with open arms are not so welcoming anymore. Our staff on the ground there
are really starting to see a difficult time to get into some locations."
Despite the difficulties, Burns doesn't expect the government will stop
GAiN-USA from bringing much-needed aid to the orphans and poor. "We've
been blessed by God to have some open doors that other organizations,
perhaps, cannot, because we've been there for over 15 years. But those
doors are starting to close somewhat, and we don't quite have the freedom
that we used to have to proclaim the gospel." (Mission Network News)



BILLY GRAHAM CONFIRMS THAT NEW YORK CRUSADE WAS HIS LAST

Evangelism Billy Graham, who turns 87 today (Monday, Nov. 7), confirmed
that his final large-venue crusade in New York in June was in fact his
last. Graham, who has been the friend and confidant of kings and
presidents as well as being considered one of America's most admired
public figures, is enjoying time for recuperation and reflection at his
home in Montreat, N.C. An announcement from the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association (BGEA) stated that while the crusade phase of his evangelistic
ministry is over, Graham keeps busy, such as working on a book. "Ruth and
I have enjoyed our time together these last few months, and we both feel
at peace about the decision to have the New York meetings be our last,"
Graham said. "We know that God can still use us to reach people with the
gospel message in other ways, and we look forward to seeing how He will do
so." Most recently the Grahams offered their old home as a shelter for a
New Orleans family left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. Graham also serves
as chairman of the BGEA board of directors and attends those meetings as
his health allows. (Assist News Service)



CANADIAN CHURCH UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT USING SHOCK TACTICS ON SEX

New Beginnings, a nondenominational Protestant church on the southern edge
of Winnipeg, Canada, unconventionally advertises on their billboard, "Sex:
Live Chat Room." The church is unapologetic about the shock tactics it's
using to entice people to enter the church. Pastor Ivor Grant, 42, said,
"Our aim is to connect with people who would not darken the doors of a
church. God has an interest in our sexuality. God invented it. Clearly he
had an understanding of what could give us pleasure." Grant believes no
other church in Canada has properly addressed sex and the Bible. He offers
an evening class that he describes as "blunt and explicit," adding that
"we live in a sex-obsessed society. For the church not to talk about it
seems to make us irrelevant." Despite his novel approach, Grant holds to
traditional beliefs that sex before marriage and abortion are outside
God's intent. Grant said his strategy is working -- the Word of God is
getting through to people who wouldn't otherwise be interested. Eight
newcomers, all women, have joined his congregation since the sex talks
began. (Religion Today/Toronto Globe and Mail)



SIX-MONTH WALK ACROSS U.S. INTENDED FOR 'SPIRITUAL AWAKENING'

Rick and Jane McKinney, of Our Heart Ministries, are gearing up for a
six-month walk across the U.S. Beginning Jan. 1 from Los Angeles, the
McKinney's intend to cover about 20 miles per day in an effort to draw
attention to the nation's need for a spiritual awakening. "Walk to Reclaim
America" is slated to begin at the Santa Monica Pier in California and
progress east across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. Then they
will follow the I-40 corridor through Arkansas and Tennessee, then head
north through Virginia. The trek will carry them across 2,800 miles to
Washington, D.C., by July 4, 2006. Joining them will be other concerned
Christians who want to share their journey as they set out to reclaim
America one step at a time. The project has many aspects, says Our Heart's
Rick McKinney. "We're going to be interceding for our country and its
people. Secondly, we're going to be encouraging Christians and churches to
stand up and be counted." McKinney served as a pastor for more than 20
years. (AgapePress)
===================

*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at


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AGGreen
2005-11-10 01:29:53 UTC
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"*Peace of Christ*" <***@yahoo.com.au> wrote in message news:His_child2005yourhat-***@h-64-105-81-25.chcgilgm.dynamic.c
ovad.net...
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World 9 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
***What is HCJB World Radio?
Percival P. Cassidy
2005-11-15 12:31:07 UTC
Permalink
On 11/09/05 08:29 pm AGGreen tossed the following ingredients into the
Post by AGGreen
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World 9 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
***What is HCJB World Radio?
HCJB is a Christian shortwave broadcasting station in Quito, Ecuador.
"HCJB" is its offically allocated callsign, but they like to say that it
stands for "Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings."

I first heard their broadcasts 50 years ago.

Perce
*Peace of Christ*
2005-11-14 16:51:03 UTC
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Pray for the World: Guinea: Future in the balance.

Date: Monday 14 November 2005

Subj: Guinea: Future in the balance.

To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis

From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.

---------------------------------------------------
GUINEA: FUTURE IN THE BALANCE
---------------------------------------------------

Nzerekore is located in the Forest Region of southeastern Guinea, West
Africa, close to where the borders of Liberia, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire
meet. In the words of Major Algassimou Barry, the Prefect (government
administrator) of Nzerekore and the surrounding district, "We're at the
heart of a region in turmoil." (July 2004, Link 1)

BAPTISM SERVICE ATTACKED IN NZEREKORE

On Wednesday 19 October, a Christian baptism ceremony in the Gonia
neighbourhood of Nzerekore was attacked by Muslims who were complaining
that music from the church was disturbing their prayers in a nearby
mosque. Ten people were injured, two seriously, and several houses were
sacked. The Muslims rioted again on the Friday evening and razed a local
video store. Elite soldiers, known as Rangers, had to be deployed to
restore calm. Several guns were confiscated and a curfew was imposed. Over
the weekend (22-23 October) some 100 people were arrested, with 56 still
detained. (Link 2)

The Christians belong to the Guerze ethnic group which has a long history
in the Forest Region of southeastern Guinea. Most Guerze practise
Christianity or African Traditional Religion (ATR). The Muslims are
Konianke, a sub-group of the Mandingo (also known as Malinki or Mandinki)
people who have been Muslim since the 13th Century. The Konianke, who are
traditionally nomadic traders, migrated south from northern Guinea during
the late nineteenth century when Guinea was under French rule and the
French had established a colonial administration in the Forest Region.

Ethnic-religious violence had previously erupted in Nzerekore on 16 June
2004 when, according to the US Department of State Human Rights Report
2004, "a Guerze youth on a motorcycle collided with a crowd leaving a
mosque". Of the 238 people arrested, 234 were Konianke and 90 percent were
Liberian. Two people died in that clash, but the toll would have been much
higher had the Guinean security forces not moved so quickly to quell the
fighting. (Link 1)

The incidents in Nzerekore arise out of several much larger issues: the
ethnic tensions created by Mandingo southward migration; the religious
tensions created by Muslim migration into regions historically populated
by settled Christian and Animist tribes; the ethnic and religious
superiority complex of many of the Mandingo Muslims, and the proliferation
of weapons, bored ex-combatants and entrepreneurial criminals and soldiers
for whom "war is more lucrative than peace".

Clearly, the Forest Region of southeastern Guinea must be viewed as a
potential flash-point for future, major ethnic-religious conflict.
Attention must be given to this region now, before disaster strikes and
spreads like shock-waves.

ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

The ethnic and religious tensions in the Forest Region of Guinea are
similar in many ways to the ethnic and religious tensions that have
manifest themselves around the wider region and all along Africa's
ethnic-religious fault-line. Migration by Muslim tribes, into regions long
inhabited and farmed by non-Muslim tribes, has created competition for
land and resources. Increasingly over the past decade, religious tension
has been exacerbated by the revival of Islamic zeal and orthodoxy. This
has caused Muslim intolerance and anger to escalate in proportion to
Muslim feelings of both superiority and victimhood. Once violence erupts
it is virtually impossible to prevent it taking on a religious dimension.
The main threats to peace come from Islamists stirring up feelings of
Muslim supremacy and inciting conflict; and provocation by those who
profit (financially or politically) from conflict. The primary needs are
good governance, justice and disarmament.

Twelve months ago WEA RLC released a News & Analysis posting on
ethnic-religious violence in Monrovia, in neighbouring Liberia, which
touched on many of the same issues. Likewise, many of the WEA RLC posting
concerning neigbouring Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) over the past 3 years,
and on the religious violence in Plateau state, central Nigeria, have
dealt with the same issues. (Link 3)

The main difference in Guinea, when compared to the above mentioned
nations, is that in Guinea, Christians are a very small minority (less
than 5 percent) in a country that is more than 85 percent Muslim, making
the Christians even more vulnerable.

"LIBERIA, THE LURD AND GUINEA'S FOREST REGION" (ICG)

Thrown recently into this pot of simmering ethnic-religious tension is the
most dangerous ingredient of all: a large quantity of armed, bored, exiled
Muslim Liberian ex-rebel fighters. Guinea's support for Liberian rebel
groups has come back to bite it.

In an excellent report entitled "Stopping Guinea's Slide" (June 2005),
International Crisis Group (ICG) looks at the Forest Region as a potential
flash-point where conflict could have dire consequences. ICG warns: "For
some time, both Guineans and Guinea-watchers have been worried that a
conflagration in the Forest Region could spark a generalised meltdown
throughout the country." (ICG report: Link 4)

There is considerable documentary evidence that the government of
President Conte in Guinea trained, armed, funded and gave refuge to
Liberian rebels fighting against the government of Liberian President
Charles Taylor during the Liberian War. ICG maintains "LURD fighters
trained at the Kankan and Macenta military bases and were armed by the
government from 1999 if not 1998." (ICG report, p 21)

ICG notes that 80 percent of Liberian refugees are Mandingos who are
unwilling to return to Liberia where they feel they are not accepted and
are regarded as 'foreigners'. But as ICG also notes, "A similar dynamic
exists in Guinea, primarily in Macenta and N'Zerekore prefectures, where
tensions between Forestier peoples, who consider themselves the original
settlers, and Mandingoes, who are considered strangers, as in Liberia, are
very high." (p 21)

The tension has been stretched to crisis levels in recent years
because, since peace was brokered in Liberia in August 2003, many
hundreds of LURD rebels have moved across the border into the Forest
Region of Guinea where they can blend in amongst the thousands of Liberian
refugees and find protection amidst their fellow Konianke Muslim brothers
and sisters. Tension is further exacerbated by the fact that Taylor was
from the same ethnic group as the non-Muslim peoples of Guinea's Forest
Region.

The UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) reported in July
2004, "Residents in Nzerekore said the town was packed with hundreds of
Liberian gunmen made idle by a peace agreement which
ended 14 years of civil war in their own country in August last
year. 'The town is full of them, everybody knows that,' a local
human rights activist in Nzerekore told IRIN. '...we know that
they're still carrying their weapons and that they help their
brothers the Konianke when the disputes explode between the two
[Konianke and Guerze] communities,' he said." (Link 1)

The ICG adds a further layer to this situation. Under the
sub-heading "LURD and the lost Mande Empire" (p 21), ICG explains
that between 1905 and 1915, African warriors menaced the Manenta and
Nzerekore prefectures and the wider region, preventing the French, English
and American-Liberians from claiming control of the region.

LURD emerged in the Forest Region and is made up primarily of
Mandingoes. The Mandingo fighters have a strong sense of history.
They not only remember the warriors' dominance of the region in the early
20th Century, but they also remember and long for the days of the great
Mali (or Mande) Empire (14th to 17th Centuries), when the Mandingoes, the
founding fathers of Mali, controlled trans-Saharic trade from the Middle
East to West Africa. According to ICG, "These [LURD] fighters sometimes
talk about their longer-term mission being the restitution of a glorious
Mandingo empire."(p 21)

ICG also notes that for many, "war is more lucrative than peace" (p 15).
According to ICG, the military "has entrenched interests in
pillage". ICG claims the military is involved in cross-border trade and in
regional arms flows, including to the rebel "Forces
Nouvelles" in Cote d'Ivoire (p 19). But as ICG notes, what usually starts
out as a simple economic interest, can develop into serious security
problems.

FUTURE IN THE BALANCE

Only months after the Liberian war ended, ICG released a report on the
possible consequences for Guinea. It was entitled, "Guinea:
Uncertainties at the End of an Era". (Africa Report No 74. 19
December 2003). ICG commented, "The large number of weapons and
irregular combatants circulating in this region is one of the
principal elements of concern. These armed groups with their
unpredictable allegiances could serve the interests of
politico-military elites who seek to create disorder and or to take power
by force."

The June 2005 ICG report claims that today many LURD former
combatants in Guinea are angry, believing that Conte has abandoned them.
Also, in Liberia there are both pro- and anti-Guinean forces actively
recruiting ex-combatants. ICG even comments that it is
difficult to understand why no attacks have yet materialised. (p 21,22)

In the midst of this, Guinea is approaching a period of political
uncertainty. President Conte is critically ill, there is no obvious
successor, and the nation is soon to hold its first local elections for 10
years. On Sunday 18 December, Guineans will be able to vote for majors and
rural councils in an election that will be seen as a test of the country's
democratic reform process.

IRIN reports, "Guinea, where more than half the population lives on less
than a dollar a day, has been ruled by Lansana Conte since he came to
power in a 1984 coup. But his ill health and the lack of a clear successor
in either the government or the opposition have led to worries that a
dangerous power vacuum is looming.

"In its [June 2005] report, [International] Crisis Group said that
disaster could only be averted if both the opposition and the
international community engaged fully in the reform process,
starting with these critical municipal elections. They will largely
determine the quality of Guinean democracy. If they fail, the
presidential succession will likely be disastrous." (Link 5)

After decades of Marxist, pro-Islamic persecution of the Church,
there is now religious freedom in Guinea, which is 85.4 percent
Muslim, 9.7 percent African Traditional Religion (ATR), and 4.7
percent Christian. Operation World reports that the Guinean Church has
embraced mission and in the past decade indigenous workers have begun
witnessing cross-culturally to previously unreached people
groups. The Guinean Church is growing. But many analysts fear that Guinea
is "primed for instability" (IRIN), and heading for a crisis. IRIN reports
that diplomats and aid workers have long worried that the Forest Region is
"a powder keg waiting to explode". For Guinea, and especially for the
Church in Guinea, the future is truly in the balance.

Elizabeth Kendal
rl-***@crossnet.org.au

Links

1) GUINEA: Ethnic tensions threaten to explode in southeast.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) 7 July 2004
http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=42067

2) GUINEA: Dozens arrested after ethnic clashes in south-east.
IRIN 24 October 2005
http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=49722
ALSO
WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 351 - Wed 02 Nov 2005
GUINEA: BAPTISM SERVICE VIOLENTLY ATTACKED
http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/news/view.htm?id=228

3) World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
Past postings may be found at http://www.ea.org.au/rlc

4) ICG Stopping Guinea's Slide.
Crisis Group Africa Report No 94, 14 June 2005
http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3509&l=1

5) GUINEA: Opposition throws hat into ring for local elections
CONAKRY, 31 Oct 2005 (IRIN)
http://www.irinnews.org/print.asp?ReportID=49850

============================================
**WEA Religious Liberty News & Analysis**
<Religious-***@xc.org
============================================

Please feel free to pass this along to others giving attribution to:
"World Evangelical Alliance - Religious Liberty News & Analysis."

For more information on the World Evangelical Alliance, please see:
<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com,
For the Religious Liberty Commission of the WEA, see:
<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com/commissions/rlc.htm.
All WEA RLC material is archived at <http://www.ea.org.au/rlc.

Advocates International <http://www.advocatesinternational.org
serves as the legal and judicial advisor to the RLC. Advocates
International links many Christian lawyers and judges around the
world and has been involved in religious liberty issues for many
years.

The Religious Liberty News & Analysis mailing list provides reports on the
state of religious liberty and persecution around the world with those
with a special interest in the field. Most members are involved in
church-based religious liberty advocacy, academic
research, missions leadership, creative-access missions, religious media,
or have prayer networks supporting these groups, although
anyone is welcome to join. Postings average one or two per
week. Information shared does not necessarily reflect the opinion
of World Evangelical Alliance, or of the WEA Religious Liberty
Commission.
--
*Peace of Christ*
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To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-11-15 02:54:51 UTC
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Pray for the World 14 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:



CHRISTIANS FLEE PAKISTANI VILLAGE AS MUSLIM MOB ATTACKS CHURCHES

FAMINE IN MALAWI THREATENS UP TO 5 MILLION PEOPLE WITH STARVATION

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN ERITREA CONTINUES TO INCREASE

NEW ZEALAND COUPLE REACHES OUT TO PROSTITUTES IN INDIA

Today's Top Stories:

CHRISTIANS FLEE PAKISTANI VILLAGE AS MUSLIM MOB ATTACKS CHURCHES

More than 450 Christian families fled the village of Sangla Hill in
Pakistan's Punjab region after an angry mob of up to 2,000 Muslims
vandalized and set fire to churches and other buildings Saturday, Nov. 12.
There were no reports of injuries.



Hundreds of Christians attended Sunday services in the open air after a
mob of angry Muslims in the village, about 80 miles northeast of Lahore,
went on a rampage following allegations that a Christian had desecrated
the Koran, officials and witnesses said. The Christians wore black
armbands to protest Saturday's attacks and demanded protection for the
minority community in Sangla Hill.



The mob, mob destroyed local Salvation Army, United Presbyterian and
Catholic churches as well as a convent, St. Anthony's School, a girls'
hostel and a Catholic priest's home. They burned Bibles, crosses and other
Christian materials and set fire to Christian homes.



The violence was apparently motivated by an alleged case of "desecrating
the Koran." Yousaf Masih, a local Christian, was accused of burning down a
one-room Islamic school that contained copies of the Koran on Friday, Nov.
11 -- a charge he denies.



Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the APMA, condemned the attacks. "No Christian
burned copies of the Koran," he said. "No Christian even can think of
doing it. We have maximum regard and respect for the Koran and Islam's
prophet, Mohammed."



Christian schools throughout Pakistan will go on strike Thursday, Nov. 17,
to protest the attacks. Hindu, Sikh and Muslim leaders have joined church
leaders in condemning the outbreak of violence, and the All Pakistan
Minorities Alliance (APMA) has declared seven days of mourning. Church
leaders are calling on the Pakistani authorities to bring the main
instigators of the violence to justice.



Khusro Pervez, home secretary of the Punjab government, said police are
investigating and have arrested about 90 people for rioting, violence and
vandalizing Christian property. "The situation is under complete control
now," he said.



Sources: Assist News Service, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, dailytimes.com



* HCJB World Radio recently sent two medical teams from Ecuador to
Pakistan to help SIM International in relief efforts following the Oct. 8
earthquake that left tens of thousands dead and thousands more injured and
homeless.



FAMINE IN MALAWI THREATENS UP TO 5 MILLION PEOPLE WITH STARVATION

Famine in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, is
threatening 5 million people with starvation in the next six months,
reported the World Food Program. As a result, aid groups are working to
raise $76 million in order to feed about 3 million Malawians. Maize prices
in southern Malawi have risen nearly 70 percent in recent weeks, making it
unaffordable to the poorest people. Teen Missions International (TMI)
reported that many have already succumbed to the ravages of hunger. People
have been spotted at the TMI compound, foraging for grass to eat.
Desperate for food, some have even resorted to eating poisonous roots to
fill their stomachs. TMI has stored up enough food to feed most of the 150
children at its four orphanages in Malawi, but supplies are dwindling.
(Mission Network News)

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN ERITREA CONTINUES TO INCREASE

Authorities in the East African country of Eritrea arrested 200 Christians
earlier this month as persecution against evangelical Christians continues
to escalate nationwide. "The president of Eritrea has basically made the
evangelical church enemy No. 1 of the state and is going about on a
ruthless campaign to try to eradicate and shut her down," said Kevin
Turner, president of Strategic World Impact, a ministry assisting
persecuted Christians worldwide.



He said the Eritrean government has not responded to world pressure to
cease the religious oppression in its country. Instead, the situation has
been steadily worsening for Christians. Despite the hardships, it has only
strengthened the faith of Eritrean Christians. "They can be such an
encouragement to us because they continue to do that in spite of severe
penalties, incredible physical degradation that they face because they
feel Jesus is worth it," he said.



In a related story, the number of Eritrean Christians confirmed to be
jailed for their religious beliefs has nearly doubled to 1,778 in the last
six months. More than 26 full-time Protestant pastors and Orthodox clergy
are in jail, their personal bank accounts frozen by government order.
"Their family members are suffering [to] a great degree," reported one
source.



In late September three Protestant leaders imprisoned months ago by
Eritrean authorities were handed jail sentences of two and three years.
Police raids last month in Asmara and the town of Kushete landed at least
51 more Protestants in police detention. (Compass, Assist News Service)



NEW ZEALAND COUPLE REACHES OUT TO PROSTITUTES IN INDIA

Kerry and Annie Hilton and their family left the comforts of Auckland, New
Zealand, in 1999 and moved to the infamous sex district of Sonnagachi in
Calcutta, India, to help the poor, never thinking they would one day work
with prostitutes. They discovered by accident that the crowded district
they had moved to was home to 6,000 women working in the sex industry. The
couple did research on the possibility of setting up a business in the
area which would provide an alternative source of employment for sex
workers and the result was the establishment of Freeset in 2001, a factory
that manufactures jute bags for export. Fifty former prostitutes now work
at Freeset. In addition to learning a trade, they are also taught to read
and write and hear the gospel message. "It is a positive story of hope,"
said John Sinclair who recently produced a television documentary on the
outreach. "It's one day at a time, one person at a time. For every person
helped that is a whole life changed. You can't change the whole world at
once but you can make a difference." Kerry Hilton added, "It's not about
giving them jobs; it's all about giving them freedom." (Assist News
Service)
===================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-11-16 15:56:32 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World 15 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:


HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK CHURCH IN NORTHERN STATE OF INDIA

SAUDI TEACHER SENTENCED TO 750 LASHES FOR 'MOCKING RELIGION'

UPDATE: 5 SUSPECTS LINKED TO BEHEADINGS IN INDONESIA RELEASED


Today's Top Stories:



HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK CHURCH IN NORTHERN STATE OF INDIA

Hindu extremists attacked 62-year-old Pastor Feroz Masih in northern
India's Himachal Pradesh state on Friday, Nov. 4, accusing him of
"forcibly converting" Hindus and beating him severely. The attackers then
forced Masih to sign a document saying he was willing to participate in a
ceremony in which all 60 members of his church would be converted back to
Hinduism. If the pastor and other church members refused to take part, the
extremists threatened to burn them to death. The attack and beating
occurred as Masih, a former Hindu, was traveling from the town of Baijnath
to nearby Norha village to comfort a believer who was mourning the death
of a family member. Masih and his son lead a local chapter of the
Believers' Church which meets in their house in Baijnath. About 60
believers gather for weekly services. (Compass)


SAUDI TEACHER SENTENCED TO 750 LASHES FOR 'MOCKING RELIGION'

A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a teacher to 40 months in jail and 750
lashes for "mocking religion" after he discussed the Bible and praised
Jews, reported the Saudi newspaper, Al-Madina, Sunday, Nov. 13. Secondary
schoolteacher Mohammad al-Harbi will be flogged in public after he was
taken to court by his colleagues and students. He was charged with
promoting a "dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were
right, discussing the gospel and preventing students from leaving class to
wash for prayer." A U.S. State Department report criticized Saudi Arabia
last week, saying religious freedoms "are denied to all but those who
adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam." Harbi said he will
appeal the verdict. (WorldWide Religious News/Reuters)


UPDATE: 5 SUSPECTS LINKED TO BEHEADINGS IN INDONESIA RELEASED

Five soldiers who were arrested after the brutal beheadings of three
teenage girls in Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday, Oct. 29, have been
released, said Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs Canada. "We were
disappointed to learn that those five individuals were released due to
lack of evidence," he said. "To this point we still have no idea if anyone
is ever going to be held accountable." Penner suspects the murders may not
have been motivated as much by faith as they were by politics. "For
militants, they would like to see [sectarian fighting] reignited, if for
no other reason than it creates instability in Indonesia. These militants
do not like the present government, and this is a way of creating
instability in the country again." Christians have recently become the
targets of militant action. Two more high school girls were attacked
Tuesday, Nov. 8, near a Pentecostal church in Poso. One died, the other is
in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range. Hundreds of
troops have been dispatched to secure this high-tension area, but the
attacks show the danger from militant Islamic groups hasn't lessened.
Penner says even with the persecution, it hasn't stopped evangelistic
activity, nor has it stopped the church from steadily growing. (Mission
Network News)
===================
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Pray for the World 17 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:



U.S. MISSIONARIES ORDERED TO LEAVE VENEZUELA WITHIN 3 MONTHS

UPDATE: CHINESE PASTOR DROPS APPEAL ON 3-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

TRIBAL CHRISTIANS OFTEN VICTIMIZED BY ATROCITIES IN MYANMAR

PROTESTANTS IN UZBEKISTAN FACE 'HARSH MEASURES' FROM AUTHORITIES



Today's Top Stories:



U.S. MISSIONARIES ORDERED TO LEAVE VENEZUELA WITHIN 3 MONTHS

The Venezuelan Interior and Justice Ministry announced in a press release
published on Monday, Nov. 14, that U.S. missionaries with New Tribes
Mission (NTM) who work in areas populated by indigenous communities have
90 days "to get out of the country." This follows a radio and television
broadcast on Wednesday, Oct. 12, when President Hugo Chavez ordered NTM
members to be expelled from Venezuelan soil.

Under the resolution, a permit granted to the evangelistic group on Aug.
4, 1953, by then Justice Minister Luis Felipe Urbaneja was revoked. The
press release stated that such authorization "allowed transit and
activities of New Tribes Mission." Such a permit was issued "for an
indefinite term, but it can be revoked on a three month notice," whenever
the Venezuelan government deems it appropriate.

Chavez has accused NTM missionaries of destroying Indian cultures and
spying for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and foreign commercial
interests. He also called the Florida-based organization an example of
"imperialist infiltration."

The Florida-based group, which has 160 missionaries and staff in
Venezuela, has repeatedly denied accusations of wrongdoing and urged
Chavez to reconsider. However, he never responded to a request from
leaders of the Evangelical Council and Pentecostal Evangelical Federation
of Venezuela for a meeting to discuss the allegations.

Tensions also have been reported between Venezuela's government and the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) which announced that
about 200 foreign missionaries were leaving the country because of visa
problems.

Chavez became embroiled in a dispute with Pat Robertson, the U.S.
evangelical leader and broadcaster, who suggested in August that the U.S.
should assassinate Chavez. He later apologized for his remarks.

Sources: Ecumenical News International, The Daily Journal, ElUniversal.com



UPDATE: CHINESE PASTOR DROPS APPEAL ON 3-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE

Cai Zhuohua, pastor of a Chinese house church, and two of his family
members who were found guilty of "illegal business practices" have dropped
plans to appeal their convictions. A press release from the China Aid
Association stated that a clerk from Haidian District People's Court
visited Cai at the Qinghe Detention Center and warned him that his
sentence would be increased if he "annoyed" the judges with an appeal. He
added that Cai's prison sentence would have been suspended if he had not
hired lawyers who were "troubling the government." The decision to drop
the appeal came as President George W. Bush began an eight-day tour of
Asia, including a visit to China Nov. 19-21. In a speech made in Japan on
Wednesday, Nov. 16, he urged China to open the door to more political and
religious freedoms. Cai was found guilty Tuesday, Nov. 8, after the
discovery of 200,000 copies of the Bible and other Christian literature in
a storage room that he managed. He was also fined the equivalent of
US$19,700 while his wife was fined US$14,600 and his brother, US$12,000.
(Compass/Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

TRIBAL CHRISTIANS OFTEN VICTIMIZED BY ATROCITIES IN MYANMAR

The U.N. and various human rights groups have accused the military regime
in Myanmar (Burma) of atrocities including forced labor and extra-judicial
killings. Many of those killings have been tribal Christians, says
Strategic World Impact's Kevin Turner. "This is being conducted by the
government, using its military all up and down the border with Thailand
and of course the entire country, where there's not just persecution,
they're actually killing, slaughtering whole villages." Myanmar tops the
U.S State Department's 2005 list of countries of particular concern.
Turner says Myanmar's abuses have had an impact on the ministry's
outreach. "We've been smuggling in Bibles across the border, and we've
been bringing in food and supplies," he said. "We helped build a church
and a school. Within one month the Burmese military had come in and not
only burned our church to the ground, but they also destroyed the entire
village." (Mission Network News)

PROTESTANTS IN UZBEKISTAN FACE 'HARSH MEASURES' FROM AUTHORITIES

"Harsh measures have been targeted at Christians," reported a Protestant
in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan. Authorities are especially
targeting ethnic Uzbek church members. "Unfortunately, in Uzbekistan today
there is no Protestant church that doesn't face persecution, whether
registered or not," he said. The Uzbek Supreme Court's recently confirmed
the banning of Emmanuel Full Gospel Church in Nukus in northwestern
Uzbekistan, and the separate banning from meeting of the Fores Full Gospel
Congregation in Tashkent. All Protestant activity is illegal in the
northwestern part of the country. Members from the Emmanuel church said
they will fight for their right to meet legally. A member of the Fores
church said that congregants are "tired and angry. They can't reconcile
themselves to the illegal ban on practicing their religious rights."
(Forum 18 News Service)
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Pray for the World 18 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio

Today's Headlines:

OFFICIALS IN BELARUS CONFISCATE LITERATURE FROM BAPTIST LIBRARY

CHURCHES FIND TEMPORARY HOME AFTER CLOSURES IN INDONESIA

VIETNAMESE CHURCHES PETITION AUTHORITIES IN FACE OF ABUSES

Today's Top Stories:

OFFICIALS IN BELARUS CONFISCATE LITERATURE FROM BAPTIST LIBRARY

Religious literature was recently confiscated from a library run by
Baptists belonging to the Council of Churches in late September in the
city of Bobruisk in eastern Belarus. Mikhail Kovalevich, vice chairman of
the Bobruisk city executive committee, said the literature is being held
because the Baptists had both "ignored" and "violated" the legal procedure
for holding religious events by acting without state approval. The church
refuses to register with the government on principle. Local official
Valeri Sidorenko said the operation of a street library by unregistered
Baptists would have violated a law "because distributing literature counts
as one form of their religious activity." On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the head of
the local Ideology Department informed Yermalitsky that the literature
would be sent for expert analysis and might never be returned. (Assist
News Service)

CHURCHES FIND TEMPORARY HOME AFTER CLOSURES IN INDONESIA

Denied permits and ordered not to worship in public or at home, churches
in East Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, have taken temporary refuge in a
Social Affairs Agency office. In September local officials ordered them to
close because they did not have the required permits. The congregations
altered residential buildings to cater to large numbers of worshipers. The
Anti-Apostasy Movement Alliance, an alliance of Muslim extremist groups,
began to enforce the order, attacking the Pentecostal Church of Indonesia
El Shaddai on Sunday, Oct. 2. Radical Muslims also forced a Lutheran
(HKBP) and a Presbyterian church in the complex to cease services. About
500 Christians from the HKBP church "scuffled" with 200 Muslims on Sunday,
Oct. 29, after a third street service, The Jakarta Post reported.
Following the clash, district officials on Sunday, Oct. 30, offered the
use of the Social Affairs Agency office for two months while they searched
for a building site for each of the churches. (Compass)

VIETNAMESE CHURCHES PETITION AUTHORITIES IN FACE OF ABUSES

In an unprecedented shift, Vietnamese church leaders are now petitioning
authorities more openly and internationally. In a country that sentenced
Father Nguyen Van Ly to 15 years in prison for writing to a U.S.
government agency about religious rights violations, leaders of one of
Vietnam's recognized churches have openly copied their petition against
such abuses not only to U.S. and European Union officials, but to foreign
media organizations. Since Wednesday, Oct. 5, Rev. Phung Quang Huyen and
Rev. Au Quang Vinh, president and general secretary respectively of the
Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North), have copied foreign governments and
media on petitions they have written on behalf of persecuted Hmong
Christians. (Compass)
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2005-11-22 16:26:31 UTC
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Pray for the World: CHURCHES AND CHRISTIAN HOMES TORCHED BY MOB IN PAKISTAN


The Christian community in Sangla Hill village in the province of Punjab,
Pakistan, came under attack from a crowd of angry Muslim extremists on
12th November, following a false allegation of desecrating a Qur¹an. At
least three churches were set on fire as well as several Christian homes,
a Christian girls¹ school, hostel and other Christian premises.

It appears that on November 11th Yousaf Masih, a Christian, spent an
evening playing cards with some Muslim friends. Not long after Yousaf left
a fire broke out in an adjoining building, and a copy of the Qur¹an was
burnt. Yousaf¹s friends, angry that he had won their game, accused him of
burning the Qur¹an. The story that a Christian had burnt a Qur¹an spread
quickly. A case was registered with the Sangla Hill police, accusing
Yousaf under Pakistan¹s notorious ³blasphemy law² of desecrating the
Qur¹an (Section 295B of the Pakistan Penal Code).

Reports indicate that within hours of the allegation, the Muslim youth
were being urged by the mosques to attack Christian property. Fearful of
the violence which so often follows blasphemy accusations in Pakistan, the
Christian community requested protection; however it appears no action was
taken by the police.

The main attack came the following morning, 12th November. Eye-witnesses
report that between 2,000 to 5,000 angry Muslims, armed with sticks, rods,
axes and kerosene or other inflammable agents, marched on Sangla Hill,
chanting slogans and burning Christian property. Many of the Christians
fled for their lives. According to one church leader, at least some of the
rioters were brought in on buses. The attack lasted two to three hours,
during which time there was no police intervention to stop the violence.


Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund comments:
³This appalling violence is yet another example of the misuse of Section
295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which has so often been exploited by
Muslims with a personal grudge against Christians. As has happened many
times before, the whole Christian community came under attack and suffered
violence as a result of an unproved allegation against an individual. What
is particularly alarming are the indications that this attack was well
planned and not spontaneous.²



PRAYER ITEMS

* Please pray for Yousaf Masih, who is at present in hiding. Pray that he
will be able to re-establish his life. Pray that his innocence will be
proven. According to press reports in Pakistan, his brother Salim was
taken into custody.

* Pray for the Christian community at Sangla Hill village as they begin to
rebuild their homes and society. Pray that they will be protected from
further violence. Pray that those who have lost homes or possessions will
find comfort in the One who supplies all our needs. (Matt 6 v 25-34)

* Thank the Lord for the Hindu, Sikh and Muslim leaders who have joined
with Christian leaders to condemn this violence. Pray that the Pakistani
Government will respond by seeking true justice for Christians, and will
take action to amend or repeal the ³blasphemy law² to stop other innocent
individuals being persecuted under it.

BARNABAS FUND E-MAIL NEWS SERVICE Barnabas Fund¹s e-mail news service
provides the media and our supporters with urgent news briefs concerning
suffering Christians around the world.

If you would like to receive news briefs from the Barnabas Fund please
contact us with your name, postal and e-mail addresses.

Further details, quotes and photos on this and other stories may be
available for news editors on request.

Barnabas Fund works to support Christian communities mainly, but not
exclusively, in the Islamic world where they are facing poverty and
persecution.

Barnabas Fund, http://www.barnabasfund.org
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Pray for the World Tue, 29 Nov 2005
Russia: Radical restrictions for NGOs and religious groups pray Russia




Date: Tuesday 29 November 2005

Subj: Russia: Radical restrictions for NGOs and religious groups.

To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis

From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.


Russia is launching new restrictive measures to bring civil society under
tighter government supervision and control. A controversial draft law
aimed at tightening state control over NGOs (non-governmental
organisations) passed its first reading at the State Duma on Wednesday 23
November. Also the Russian language magazine "Vedomosti" published an
article on 14 November based on a document from the Ministry of Justice
that recommends radical measures for intensifying control of religious
groups.

The measures are doubtless a response to some major Kremlin fears: the
prospect of a Western-sponsored "velvet revolution"; the threat of
Russian Orthodox displeasure at, and loss of influence due to, the growth
of "totalitarian sects" (non-Orthodox groups ­ includes
Protestants/evangelicals); and the threat of destablising,
government-undermining Islamic terrorism (Wahhabi) and revolution (Hizb
ut-Tahrir). (Notice: all the "non-traditional" problematic elements are
in the brackets!)

------------------------------------
THE NGO BILL
------------------------------------

On Wednesday 23 November, a new Bill that would place non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) under strict state control, passed its first reading
in the Russian State Duma, by 370 votes to 18. The draft bill is
expected to pass its second and third readings by the end of this year.
The Bill would then need to be approved by the Federation Council before
President Putin could sign it into law.

According to The Moscow Times, Independent Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhko
protested in the debate before the vote, "This bill will put an end to
civil society in Russia. The Duma has neither the moral nor the
constitutional right to vote in favor of it." (Link 1)

But as The Moscow Times reports, Andrei Makarov, the Deputy of the
pro-Kremlin United Russia majority party, defended the legislation. He
claimed it was a means to fight extremism and money laundering, and
denied that it sought to clamp down on NGOs. Also, "Alexei Ostrovsky, a
member of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party and a co-author of the
bill, heaped scorn on NGOs and accused the CIA, the U.S. intelligence
agency, of fomenting uprisings. 'We remember how those human rights
organizations defended human rights in Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Georgia
under the cover of the CIA, and we know how it ended,' he said."

Ostrovsky's words echo those of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB)
chief, Nikolai Patrushev, who, in the Russian State Duma on 12 May this
year, accused American, British and other foreign humanitarian and
educational NGOs of providing cover for professional spies. Patrushev
accused Western organisations of bankrolling peaceful revolutions in
former Soviet republics, and claimed that Western intelligence services
use information gathered by NGOs to bring about political upheaval. (Link
2)

The Moscow Times reports: "If the current bill is passed into law, the
country's 450,000 NGOs will be forced to re-register with the Justice
Ministry's Federal Registration Service under tighter rules next year. The
agency would also have to check that NGOs did not use foreign grants to
finance political activities.

"The bill would also bar foreign NGOs from having representative offices
or branches in Russia and restrict Russian NGOs' ability to accept foreign
cash or employ non-Russian workers."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, "According to the Center for
Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia has over 400,000 active
NGOs, 2,000 of which are exclusively devoted to human rights advocacy and
15,000 of which deal with human rights among other issues." (Link 3)

One thing the NGOs fear is abuse of power, and that any number of excuses
will be found to deny registration to, shut down or expel NGOs that
irritate the government.

Holly Cartner, Human Rights Watch's regional director told the Moscow
Times that she believed the legislation would "eviscerate" civil society
in Russia. "The express purpose of this law is to emasculate the NGO
community," she said.

As noted by a Moscow Times editorial, "These measures, which would allow
the authorities to keep tabs on every little group, presumably warm the
hearts of all those former KGB agents now running the country." (Link 4)

---------------------------------------------
RESTRICTIONS ON RELIGION
---------------------------------------------

On 14 November, the Russian language magazine "Vedomosti" published an
article entitled "Spiritual Centralism; Government Prepares Religious
Reform", by Anastasiia Kornia, Nedezhda Ivanitskaia". Stetson University's
"Russia Religion News", which monitors news media reports about religion
in Russia and other countries of CIS, has published a translation under
the heading, "Department of Justice contemplates restrictions on
religion". (Link 5)

The article commences: "'Vedomosti' has obtained a report by the Ministry
of Justice that contains radical measures for intensifying control over
religious organizations. In particular, it is proposed to stiffen the
procedures for issuing entry visas for missionaries and to simplify the
procedures for liquidating religious centers."

The Ministry of Justice's report recommends that the basis for
liquidation of a religious centre could be two verdicts of a court
regarding "crimes of an extremist nature" issued with regard to two of its
members in the course of one year. It is also proposed to establish
administrative and criminal liability for illegal missionary activity.

Vedomosti reports, "The [Justice] ministry's report was prepared for the
October enlarged session of the Security Council. The document's authors
consider that Russia has been subjected to 'foreign religious expansion.'
In the past ten years the number of religious movements in the country has
grown from 20 to 69. To counter this expansion it is proposed to limit the
flow into Russia of foreign missionaries and to regulate the registration
of religious associations."

Paul Globe, writing for Window on Eurasia, notes that Russia views the
multiplication of religious movements as a threat to the social and
religious fabric of the nation, rather than simply a reflection of
Russia's new-found commitment to religious freedom. (Link 5)

Vedomosti also reports, "According to a source in the government, after
simplifying liquidation, the Ministry of Justice would want at the same
time to make registration of a religious organization more complicated."

According to Vedomosti, the Ministry of Justice is also proposing to
introduce a requirement that all members of one religion be subordinate to
"a single central organization of one confessional identity on a given
territory in the capacity of legal entity."

It is this third proposal that has created the most controversy. Muslims
believe this proposal is specifically targeted against them. Vedomosti
quotes Geidar Djemal, the chairman of the Islamic committee as saying, "In
the first place this pertains to Islam. This is connected with the
campaign to discover the forces that are destabilizing the regime." But
the same concerns, about the difficulties of uniting all confessions and
traditions under one central authority, are being voiced by Jews and,
doubtless, Protestants.

The limiting and regulating of issuances of entry visas for foreign
religious figures is an administrative procedure that would be easily
implemented. This will devastate Russia's many young Protestant
Theological Colleges and ministries (including NGOs) that are presently
reliant on foreign professors and workers.

The other two proposed measures would require new laws and none have yet
been drafted. Some analysts wonder if the Justice Ministry's proposals
were leaked in order to test the waters, to probe public opinion.

Vedomosti reports that Evgeny Sidorenko, the director of the Department
of Constitutional Legislation and Security Legislation of the Ministry of
Justice, said that the fate of such legislation could be determined in the
course of work on a law for combating terrorism. Such work, he said, has
been going on in the State Duma since last year.

According to Vedomosti, the Orthodox Church is not concerned by the
prospect of more restrictive legislation. "'It is hard to comment on
suggestions that are not finalized,' says the vice-chairman of the
Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate,
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin. 'But so far as I know, nobody is preparing
any revolutions. We are talking about improving the law within the
framework of already existing concepts. This will permit society, to a
great extent, to control what happens within the religious sphere.'"

PERSECUTION WILL BE BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF DISINFORMATION

The government and the Orthodox Church are laying a foundation of
disinformation upon which they will marginalise and persecute the
non-traditional, "totalitarian sects" (includes
Protestants/evangelicals). Here is one example of how this is done.

The Russian Federation Federal Service of Drugs Control has spoken out
strongly against the practice of "totalitarian sects" operating drug
rehabilitation ministries. "We express serious concern in connection with
the activity of totalitarian sects in the field of drug rehabilitation",
the head of the department, General Alexander Mihajlov, told Interfax on
Friday 25 November. (Link 6)

Mihajlov warned that non-tradition or totalitarian sects providing drug
rehabilitation services are, in the process, creating people who are
psychologically dependent. He believes that the psychological dependence
that people develop towards the "sects" is just as dangerous and damaging
to their health as any dependence upon narcotics. He believes the
government and traditional church must work together to prevent Russian
citizens coming in contact with "sects".

Mihajlov's words echo a May 2005 report delivered by the Dean of Saint
Alexander Nevskii Cathedral, archpriest Alexander Novopashin, to an
international workshop entitled "Neo-pentecostal sects in Russia: threat
of religious extremism".

In that report Novopashin claims that "only 3%-5% of drug addicts can
achieve a steady remission", and that "pseudoreligious totalitarian sects
of destructive nature" take advantage of this situation. He says the sects
claim to be benevolent when really they are predatory, and only seeking
recruits. Novopashin claims the sects recruit by reprogramming a narcotic
dependence into a psychological dependence ­ an addiction to the sect and
its leaders. He claims, "Psychiatrists have already borrowed from
sectology a new term ­ sect addiction." He then illustrates the religious
practice of the sects using extreme examples, such as the "Toronto
Blessing", before finishing with a story of a young girl who has a
wonderful testimony of apparent conversion and rehabilitation through an
evangelical ministry. She then denounces her "sect-dependence", returns
to drugs and to the Mother Orthodox Church. (Link 7)

-------------------------------------------
INDISCRIMINATE CLEANSING

So this is the situation faced by the Russian government: traditional
Muslims are calling for the government to prosecute Wahhabis along with
Hizb ut-Tahrir, so as to prevent unrest, bloodshed and terrorism in the
Muslim provinces and in Moscow. (Link 8) The government knows this is
necessary for national security.

At the same time, the highly influential traditional Russian Orthodox
Church is calling for the government to deal with the
non-traditional/foreign/"totalitarian sects" (including
Protestants/evangelicals) so as to prevent "psychological addiction" and
social breakdown. The government knows this is necessary for political
security.

President Putin is doubtless aiming to cleanse Russia and bolster both
national and political security by sweeping out all problematic
non-traditional religion in the easiest way possibly: indiscriminately,
and for maximum political advantage.

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Duma Gives Nod to Tough NGO Bill (subscription)
By Francesca Mereu. 24 Nov 2005
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2005/11/24/001.html

ALTERNATIVELY

Putin crackdown to limit the power of foreign-funded NGOs
From Jeremy Page and Julian Evans in Moscow. 24 Nov 2005
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1887789,00.html
Russian Parliament Gives 1st Approval to Tightening Control Over NGOs.
http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/11/23/registration.shtml

2) FSB Chief: NGOs a Cover for Spying
By Simon Saradzhyan and Carl Schreck. 13 May 2005

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20050513&articleId=139

3) Russia: NGOs Say New Bill Threatens Civil Freedom

http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/11/45a60888-5deb-4700-80cb-e4dc3f68f277.html

4) Civil Society Should Not Be Smothered (subscription)
Editorial. 24 Nov 2005
http://www.moscowtimes.ru/stories/2005/11/24/005.html

5) Vedomosti: "Spiritiual Centralism; Government Prepares Religious
Reform", by Anastasiia Kornia, Nedezhda Ivanitskaia".
Under the title: Department of Justice contemplates restrictions on
religion

AND

Kremlin seeks tighter controls over religion.
by Paul Goble
http://www.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/0511a.html#03

6) regarding the "totalitarian sects" and drug rehabilitation
http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=7762 (Russian)

7) SECTS AND DRUG ADDICTS
report of Dean of Saint Alexander Nevskii Cathedral, archpriest Alexander
Novopashin, on international workshop "Neo-pentecostal sects in Russia:
threat of religious extremism"
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/russia/2005_05_26.htm

8) Mufti Salman: The developments in France will seem 'childish pranks' in
comparison with what can happen in Russia.
Moscow, 17 Nov 2005
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=582
http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=interview&div=12

============================================

For more information on the World Evangelical Alliance, please see:
<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com,

For the Religious Liberty Commission of the WEA, see:
<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com/commissions/rlc.htm.
All WEA RLC material is archived at <http://www.ea.org.au/rlc.

Advocates International <http://www.advocatesinternational.org
serves as the legal and judicial advisor to the RLC. Advocates
International links many Christian lawyers and judges around the
world and has been involved in religious liberty issues for many
years.

The Religious Liberty News & Analysis mailing list provides reports
on the state of religious liberty and persecution around the world
with those with a special interest in the field. Most members are
involved in church-based religious liberty advocacy, academic
research, missions leadership, creative-access missions, religious
media, or have prayer networks supporting these groups, although
anyone is welcome to join. Postings average one or two per
week. Information shared does not necessarily reflect the opinion
of World Evangelical Alliance, or of the WEA Religious Liberty
Commission.
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Pray for the World 30 November 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

IRANIAN PASTOR KIDNAPPED, STABBED TO DEATH BY UNIDENTIFIED MEN

UPDATE: JAILED INDONESIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS LOSE APPEAL NO. 2

TERRORISTS BEGIN REBUILDING NETWORK AFTER QUAKE IN KASHMIR

MINISTRY PROVIDES VACCINATIONS FOR CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN, INDIA


Today's Top Stories:

IRANIAN PASTOR KIDNAPPED, STABBED TO DEATH BY UNIDENTIFIED MEN

An Iranian convert to Christianity was kidnapped last week from his home
in northeastern Iran and stabbed to death, his bleeding body thrown in
front of his home a few hours later. Ghorban Tori, 50, was pastoring an
independent house church of convert Christians in Gonbad-e-Kavus. Within
hours of the murder on Tuesday, Nov. 22, local secret police arrived at
the pastor's home, searching for Bibles and other banned Christian books
in the Farsi language. A former Muslim of Turkmen descent, Tori converted
to Christianity more than 10 years ago while in Turkmenistan. After
returning to his native Iran in 1998, he began to share his newfound faith
with friends and relatives. Within two years, a small fellowship of 12
believers was meeting in his home. But not all welcomed his message. At
least one relative attacked Tori, scarring his face. In the past year he
received threats from Islamic extremists vowing to kill him if he did not
stop sharing his Christian faith. He is the fifth Protestant pastor
assassinated in Iran by unidentified killers in the past 11 years.
(Compass)



UPDATE: JAILED INDONESIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS LOSE APPEAL NO. 2

Christian Freedom International (CFI) is urging the immediate release of
three Indonesian Christian Sunday school teachers who have lost their
first two appeals after being convicted of "attempting to coerce children
to change their religion" under the country's Child Protection Act. The
women are serving their three-year prison sentences in the Indramayu
district of West Java. A local Islamic group brought the charges against
the three for violating the act. The women still have one appeal left
under Indonesia's law process system which has a three-phase law court
level. A local pastor who visits the three women weekly told CFI, "We
still need support from all of our brothers and sisters to continue with
the legal process until the highest level, the third level, is complete --
the last action for our law process system." (Religion Today/Assist News
Service)



TERRORISTS BEGIN REBUILDING NETWORK AFTER QUAKE IN KASHMIR

There have been reports that terrorists are again causing trouble in
Pakistan's Kashmir region that was devastated by a massive earthquake on
Oct. 8. A partner with Interserve USA who asked to remain anonymous said
the quake zone was a well-known recruiting ground for terrorists. "There
has been a lot of damage done to the infrastructure for these people," he
said. "Whole villages have been swept away where these religious parties
held sway. So they are back there now seeking to regroup, retrain people,
especially trying to get a hold of the orphans so that they can brainwash
them." As for sharing their faith in Christ, the partner said, "Now is the
time to show them the Christian way of handling things. Through our
practice, through the way we conduct ourselves, through the way we meet
with the people, talk to them, listen to their stories, this is a time of
gaining a hearing -- gaining the right to be heard later on." (Mission
Network News)



MINISTRY PROVIDES VACCINATIONS FOR CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN, INDIA

As winter weather bears down on thousands of people in Pakistan and India
left homeless by the Oct. 8 earthquake, the threat of massive spread of
fatal diseases increases. Public health officials and aid agencies have
launched campaigns to immunize affected children in hopes of preventing
another wave of deaths. Hopegivers International, a ministry that cares
for both the physical and spiritual needs of almost 9,000 orphans across
India, has responded to the need with more than 500 vaccines for children
orphaned by the quake. By the end of this month the agency will have sent
50 truckloads of woolen clothing, blankets and tents into the area. A team
will also be traveling to India in January to provide about 2,300 children
with life-saving vaccines. In addition, the children are taught proper
hygiene techniques and are given toothbrushes, vitamins and antibiotics.
Registered nurse Bobbye Thomas said the ministry also addresses people's
spiritual needs. "It gives us . . . the privilege to share the saving
knowledge of Christ to those children who have been left orphaned and
abandoned on the streets of Pakistan, India and Africa," she said.
(Mission Network News)
===================
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Pray for the World: 2 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

ISLAMIC MILITANTS TERRORIZE SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS IN INDONESIA

BELIEVERS IN INDIA MEET PEACEFULLY DESPITE DEATH, ARSON THREATS

UPDATE: INDIA'S SUPREME COURT AGAIN DEFERS RULING ON DALIT RIGHTS

LUIS PALAU APOLOGIZES FOR REMARKS ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CHINA

MINISTRIES FOCUS ON CHRIST'S PROMISES DURING WORLD AIDS DAY

Today's Top Stories:

ISLAMIC MILITANTS TERRORIZE SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS IN INDONESIA

As approximately 30 children gathered in a home in Curug, Indonesia,
Sunday, Nov. 27, to study the Bible, a mob of Islamic militants descended
upon the home and caused the children to scatter in panic. Local sources
said the militants destroyed guitars, a keyboard, an organ and a fan as
well as several desks and chairs. They forced the teachers and children
out of the house and then "sealed" it with posters denouncing the Sunday
school. One of the teachers, Anton Neta, said he had agreed several months
ago, under threat, to stop meeting in the home in January. The class had
been meeting there since 1992. (Voice of the Martyrs)

BELIEVERS IN INDIA MEET PEACEFULLY DESPITE DEATH, ARSON THREATS

Members of a Believers Church in northern Indian met peacefully Sunday,
Nov. 20, after receiving death and arson threats from Hindu extremists.
Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannon updated his supporters saying, "It
is with great joy that I can share with you that the threat against 60 of
our Believers Church members in Himachal Pradesh has been thwarted." The
threats came after members of the World Hindu Council (VHP) and its youth
wing, Bajrang Dal, attacked the pastor of the church, Feroz Masih. After
beating him, the attackers said that if he and his church members failed
to take part in a "reconversion" ceremony on Nov. 20, they would burn them
to death. "Your prayers were answered, however, and the planned
reconversion ceremony was dropped, apparently due to police intervention,"
Yohannon said. The police pointed out that the attacks were made by people
who were misleading the public into thinking that Christians "force"
people to convert to their faith. Yohannon added that one positive outcome
of the incident is that "people now know that those who come to faith in
Christ are doing so because of the power of the gospel, not the coercion
of men." (Assist News Service)

UPDATE: INDIA'S SUPREME COURT AGAIN DEFERS RULING ON DALIT RIGHTS

For the third time, India's Supreme Court deferred a ruling Monday, Nov.
28, on whether Dalit Christians ("untouchables" outside of the caste
system) can be denied job and education rights. Supreme Court justices
postponed until February a ruling on the matter after government attorneys
told the court they were awaiting the findings of a commission set up to
study the issue. Dalits belonging to Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh faiths
qualify for a government plan that reserves 26 percent of jobs and
educational places for them. Under current laws, Dalits who convert to
Christianity or Islam lose their reservation privileges. Christian leaders
said India's 16 million Dalit Christians are extremely frustrated and
demoralized by the government's position. "We as Dalit Christians," they
said in a statement by the All India Catholic Union, "are intrigued and
saddened by the contrary positions taken by the ruling coalition in its
public assurances to us and its arguments before the Supreme Court."
(Compass)

LUIS PALAU APOLOGIZES FOR REMARKS ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN CHINA

American evangelist Luis Palau has apologized for saying during a recent
weeklong visit to China that the religious freedom situation there was
better than expected, and for saying that "underground" Christians should
register with church associations set up by the government. Palau's trip
coincided with a visit by President George W. Bush, and he was invited to
attend a church service in Beijing with the president and first lady. In
an interview with the official China Daily newspaper, Palau called for
unofficial churches in China to register with the government bodies. In
response, the South China Church said in a statement that 16 of the
denomination's leaders were in prison, and more than 1,000 of its pastors,
evangelists and believers had been jailed since 2001. Palau said he
regretted some of his comments. "It's not my role as an evangelist to
suggest that churches in China should register," he said. "My role is to
proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ." (Religion Today/CNSNews)

MINISTRIES FOCUS ON CHRIST'S PROMISES DURING WORLD AIDS DAY

As people around the globe mark World AIDS Day today, Christian
organizations are focusing on the spiritual hope found only in Jesus
Christ. The theme for the annual even the next five years is "Stop AIDS.
Keep the Promise."

Bruce Sonnenberg of He Intends Victory, an HIV/AIDS ministry, challenges
Christians worldwide to join the battle against the disease and pray for
those infected and affected by this worldwide pandemic. "With [more than
40 million people] worldwide infected and 3 million people a year newly
infected, the challenge continues," he said. "There is no cure for AIDS,
but there is a cure for the hopelessness that comes with AIDS -- the hope
of Jesus Christ. He truly does intend victory!"

Purpose Driven Ministries recently held its first AIDS conference in the
U.S. in response to a belief that "Christians are doing very little about
[AIDS]," said Kay Warren, wife of Purpose-Driven Life author Rick Warren.
The conference presented ways churches can have an impact on AIDS victims.
"We want every person to come to know Jesus Christ," she said. "But it's
very difficult to introduce people to Jesus Christ when you're pushing
them away. We've been given the task of making the invisible God, visible.
How do we do that? We do it by our arms of love, by our compassion, by our
acceptance."

The grip of AIDS on Sub-Saharan Africa is not loosening. World Vision's
Steve Haas says it is alarming that the epicenter of the pandemic is
shifting east to Russia, India and China. He believes this is a great
opportunity to fulfill the mandates of Scripture. UNAIDS, the joint United
Nations program on HIV/AIDS, has warned that up to 10 million could be
infected in China by 2010 without more aggressive prevention. World Vision
employs a multi-pronged approach to battle AIDS involving students,
businesses and churches.

More than 250 East African children are receiving life-sustaining therapy
through Compassion International's AIDS Initiative. About 1,000
Compassion-assisted children in East Africa have been confirmed as being
HIV-positive, and approximately 4,300 caregivers and siblings of the
children have the disease. It is believed these numbers represent just 25
percent of the actual HIV cases among the children and families Compassion
serves. The ministry is involved in prevention, treatment and
rehabilitative care for AIDS patients.

Christian World Outreach (CWO) is reaching out to AIDS orphans through its
mobile orphanage in Zimbabwe. "We're not trying to bring children to a
center and out of their communities, but be able to keep them in their
communities," said CWO's Greg Yoder. "We go to them and try to work with
school teachers and community leaders and churches in the community to
care for the children who have been orphaned by AIDS. The camps are held
for a couple of reasons. One is to introduce them to Christ and to provide
spiritual teaching. The other is to give them some counseling." He said
many children as well as their caregivers are coming to Christ.

Sources: Mission Network News, Assist News Service, CNN
===================
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Pray for the World: Bangladesh: Islamist threat escalates with suicide bombings.

From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.

------------------------------------
BANGLADESH: WAVE OF SUICIDE BOMBINGS - new terror tactic increases risk
to threatened Christian leaders, institutions and NGOs.
------------------------------------

More than 30 years ago, Bangladesh fought a Liberation War for the right
to be independent of Pakistan, and secular. The war cost the Bangladeshis
somewhere between 500,000 and three million lives. Today, Islamic
militants with al Qaeda training and links are engaged in a violent and
deadly campaign to force Bangladesh to submit to Sharia law.

Islamic zeal and radicalisation have skyrocketed in Bangladesh since
October 2001 causing local persecution of Christians to escalate in
frequency and severity. Now organised Islamic terror threatens to
destabilise the nation and the wider region. Of course it will also
seriously impact the Church. Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is
presently targeting Bangladesh's secular courts and judges, and
threatening to continue until Sharia is implemented. But JMB has also
declared that it will target NGOs and non-Muslim religious figures and
institutions engaged in "anti-Islamic activities". It is reported that
Bangladesh has some 172 terror training camps operating on its soil, and
that JMB has a 2,000-strong suicide squad prepared for martyrdom operations.

The pro-Islamic Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), elected in October
2001 to rule in coalition with some very radical Islamist groups, has
difficulty facing and dealing with these threats. It has used Western law
and democracy for its own advantage, but now the popularist Islamist puppy
it has fostered and nurtured has matured, is exerting its independence,
and is starting to bite. Unless the government gets serious about
replacing radical madrassas with real and positive education, closing
terror training camps, and promoting secularism, tolerance and democracy,
then Bangladesh will develop into a Islamic terror hub and jihad launching
pad. Nothing grows, spreads and wreaks havoc like a disease that is not
acknowledged and is left untreated.

-----------------------------------------------
WAVE OF SUICIDE BOMBINGS

On Tuesday 29 November, suicide bombers from Jama'atul Mujahideen
Bangladesh (JMB) ­ also known as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) ­ fatally
struck law courts in two Bangladeshi cities, killing seven. Around 60 were
wounded, 21 of them seriously. The death toll has since risen to ten.
(Link 1)

The first bombing took place at 9:05am in Bangladesh's second largest
city, the port city of Chittagong. In response to terror threats, police
had been posted at the entrance of the court and were checking all
visitors. Just before he was to be intercepted at the police checkpoint,
the bomber took an explosive device out of his bag and threw it at the
officers. He then detonated another explosive device strapped to his leg.
The two policemen were killed.

The bomber, who survived but lost both his legs and his right hand, was
identified as Abul Bashar (19). He reportedly told Agence France-Presse
(AFP), "I attacked the Chittagong court by the order of Allah. I did not
do any wrong in carrying out the suicidal attack." A report by the
Bangladesh Independent online news said police had found a JMB leaflet in
his pocket. According to Chittagong police official Mohammad Majedul Huq,
it was handwritten and warned police, judges and lawyers "to stop
upholding man-made laws which go against Islam". At least 16 others were
injured; 13 of them were police. Abul Bashar has since died from his
injuries in Chittagong Medical College Hospital.

The second bombing took place in Gazipur at 9:40am. The bomber donned a
lawyer's black gown and walked right past police security into the bar
library where he detonated his bomb. Three people in the library died
immediately and four others died from their wounds soon after in hospital
in Dhaka. The suicide bomber's body was found with wires and bomb parts
still strapped to it.

At around 10am on Thursday 1 December, as lawyers were staging a
demonstration in Gazipur, a bomb exploded near the police checkpoint
outside the chief government administrator's office. Two were killed and
30 were injured, five critically. One of the dead was a policeman, the
other is believed to be the suicide bomber. According to Kazi Fazle Rabbi,
Gazipur district commissioner, "The suspected bomber ... disguised himself
as a tea vendor. One of his flasks exploded when police stopped him for
checking." (Link 2)

ESCALATION OF TERROR

On 17 August, JMB (JuM) orchestrated a nation-wide terror attack, setting
off nearly 500 small improvised explosive devices (IEDs) virtually
simultaneously in 63 of Bangladesh's 64 districts. While the devices did
not contain shrapnel, they did result in three deaths and left more than
150 injured. Pamphlets found near many of the explosive devices demanded
the expulsion of foreign NGOs "engaged in anti-Islamic activities in
Muslim countries". (Stratfor Terrorism Brief, 23 November 2005)

The carnage from the August bombing campaign was minimal but the message
was loud and clear. As noted by Stratfor, the August bombing campaign
"demonstrates that JuM has a widespread presence, robust logistics and
sophisticated command-and-control capabilities".

After this attack JMB (JuM) declared, "Everybody is the enemy of Islam
who wants to launch democracy as an institutional form. Therefore we
invite the ruling party and also the opposition toinitiate the rule of
Islam within a short time in Bangladesh."

On 22 August, Bangladesh's leading national Bengali daily newspaper
reported that the Intelligence Department had informed the government that
Islamic militants are planning to attack the largest non-Muslim religious
centres in Dhaka. They were also threatening to kill local and foreign
non-Muslim leaders, missionaries, priests, humanitarian workers and
anyone else preaching religion other than Islam. Christianity was to be
particularly targeted for the purpose of discrediting the government of
Bangladesh in the West. (See WEA RLC report: link 3)

On 3 October, larger bombs exploded in three district courts outside
Dhaka, killing two people and wounding more than a dozen. Then on 14
November two senior Assistant Judges of Jhalakathi District Judges Court
were assassinated on their way to work. Their microbus stopped outside the

government staff quarters to pick up another judge. The assassin,
identified as Mamun, a JMB militant, approached the microbus with the
pretext of showing papers to the judges. He then shoved a package into the
microbus which immediately exploded. The assassin, who survived with
serious leg wounds, was immediately arrested. He was found to have some
24 JMB leaflets, and a live bomb fastened to his body. Presumably the
assassin intended to escape, with the body-bomb to be used only in the
case of capture. His injuries however probably prevented him detonating
the body-bomb before his arrest. His willingness to explode himself and
thus become a "martyr" was evidence of a shocking new tactic and
ideological shift.

In their 23 November Terrorism Brief, Stratfor Intelligence reported,
"According to a Nov. 22 report in the Bangladeshi English-language Daily
Star newspaper, the JuM's (JMBs) policymaking body -- Majlis-e-Shura --
recently ordered its bomb and suicide squad members to fight their
opposition to the death and to continue striking government offices and
courts." Stratfor notes, "JuM (JMB) appears to have no problem obtaining
explosives, and apparently is actively constructing devices ­ an activity
normally conducted at the end of the attack planning cycle." And Stratfor
adds, "JuM members reportedly received training from al Qaeda in
Afghanistan and Pakistan and allegedly maintain links with that group."

According to Reuters, Bangladeshi police report that the explosives used
in the 29 November suicide bombings are the most powerful and highly
destructive explosives used by the militants so far. Reuters also reports,
"The State Minister for Home Affairs Lutufuzzaman Babar said earlier this
month [Nov] that there were reports that the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen had set
up a 2,000-strong suicide squad." (Link 4)

THREAT TO EMBASSIES

The British High Commission's First Secretary in Dhaka, Mike Stevenson,
reports that Manik Hossain, a Muslim extremist identifying himself as a
member of "al-Qaeda in South Asia", has threatened to blow up the UK
mission, along with other Western missions. The threatening message was
sent to the UK Embassy by fax on Sunday 27 November, and signed by Manik
Hossain of Faridganj" (220km, or around 140 miles, southeast of Dhaka).
Security has now been increased around diplomatic offices in Dhaka. (Link
5)

BANGLADESH: TERROR HUB

Webindia reports that on 29 November, India's Border Security Force (BSF)
Director General R S Mooshahary told a press conference "the unabated
mushrooming of terror camps" in Bangladesh, and the fact that Bangladesh
is becoming "a hub of infiltrators and fundamentalist forces" threatens to

destabilise the whole region. "In the long run," warned Gen. Mooshahary,
"Bangladesh could be a greater problem than Pakistan going by the shifting
of population, massive infiltration bids and mushrooming of terror
camps... it has become a hub of drug dealers and smugglers."

Mooshahary claimed to have recently given Bangladesh a list of 172 terror
training camps. "But their reply is the same every time," he complains,
"...that no such camps exists on their soil." (Link 6)

Elizabeth Kendal

1) BANGLADESH BOMBING TOLL RISES30 November 2005. SBS
http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=126032®ion=2
Seven killed, many injured in Bangladesh blasts
http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=58404
Nine die in Bangladesh bombings
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4480408.stm
Bangladesh's escalating extremism. 29 November 2005
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4482320.stm

2) Two dead in court attack. 2 December 2005
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17435239-23109,00.html

3) WEA Religious Liberty News & Analysis
Militants Move to Islamise Bangladesh
By Elizabeth Kendal, 16 September 2005
http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.org/news/view.htm?id=151

4) Bangladesh explosives most powerful yet -- police
30 Nov 2005. Reuters
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/DHA129923.htm
Bombs target Bangladesh lawyers. 29 November 2005

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/11/29/bangladesh.blasts.reut/index.html

5) Man threatens UK, US missions in Bangladesh ­ police
28 Nov 2005. Reuters
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/DHA97711.htm

6) Bangladesh a hub of infiltrators and fundamentalists: BSF DG
New Delhi, 29 November 2005
http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=176465&cat=India

<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com,

For the Religious Liberty Commission of the WEA, see:
<http://www.WorldEvangelicalAlliance.com/commissions/rlc.htm.

All WEA RLC material is archived at <http://www.ea.org.au/rlc.

Advocates International <http://www.advocatesinternational.org
serves as the legal and judicial advisor to the RLC. Advocates
International links many Christian lawyers and judges around the
world and has been involved in religious liberty issues for many
years.

The Religious Liberty News & Analysis mailing list provides reports
on the state of religious liberty and persecution around the world
with those with a special interest in the field. Most members are
involved in church-based religious liberty advocacy, academic
research, missions leadership, creative-access missions, religious
media, or have prayer networks supporting these groups, although
anyone is welcome to join. Postings average one or two per
week. Information shared does not necessarily reflect the opinion
of World Evangelical Alliance, or of the WEA Religious Liberty
Commission.
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Pray for the World: 3 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

YEMENI MAN EXECUTED FOR ROLE IN KILLING 3 BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN 2002

CHURCH-BASED SOCIAL ACTIVIST GUNNED DOWN IN PHILIPPINES

31 HOUSES BURN IN INDIA AFTER HINDUS SET FIRE TO CHRISTIAN'S HOME

6 MONTAGNARD CHRISTIANS SENTENCED IN VIETNAM FOR 'INCITING PROTESTS'

Today's Top Stories:

YEMENI MAN EXECUTED FOR ROLE IN KILLING 3 BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN 2002

A Muslim militant was executed Sunday, Nov. 27, for his part in the
murders of three medical workers serving with the Southern Baptist
International Mission Board (IMB) in the Middle East nation of Yemen three
years ago.

The Baptist Press reported that Ali al-Jarallah was executed for planning
the attack although Abed Adul Razak Kamel actually carried it out. Kamel,
who was also convicted and sentenced to death, remains in prison. No
execution date has been set. Yemeni officials believe the two were tied to
the al-Qaida terrorist network.

Kamel walked into the Jibla Baptist Hospital on Dec. 2, 2002, and shot and
killed the hospital's director, William Koehn, 50, along with 57-year-old
obstetrician and surgeon Dr. Martha Myers and purchasing agent Kathleen
Gariety, 43. A hospital pharmacist was wounded, but later recovered.

Myers' father, Ira Myers, said the execution gave little solace to the
family. "I have no hate in my heart . . . and I've gotten over my grief a
long time ago," Myers, the former state health officer, said Monday. "But
when you commit a crime, although you may be forgiven completely, you
still have a punishment to deal with." (Mission Network News/Associated
Press)


CHURCH-BASED SOCIAL ACTIVIST GUNNED DOWN IN PHILIPPINES

A coordinator of a church-based human rights organization in the Ilocos
and Cordillera region of northern Philippines was shot dead by a lone
gunman the night of Monday, Nov. 28. Jose Pepe Managdeg III, 37,
coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, had just spoken
at a seminar sponsored by the Ilocos Human Rights Advocacies and was
waiting for a bus at about 10 p.m. (local time) when a man stopped in
front of him, police said. A man jumped from a vehicle and shot Managdeg
multiple times with a 45-caliber pistol. Fearing for his life, an
eyewitness riding a bicycle sped off and returned to the resort where the
seminar was held and informed Managdeg's companions about the incident.
Together with the police, they rushed to the scene and found his bag, cell
phone and other belongings missing. He was killed while going to pick up
his wife, Florence, who would be arriving from Hong Kong, police said.
(Assist News Service)

31 HOUSES BURN IN INDIA AFTER HINDUS SET FIRE TO CHRISTIAN'S HOME

Thirty-one homes in the village of Gandahati in eastern India's Orissa
state were destroyed by fire on Sunday, Nov. 20. The incident began as
Christians and Hindus were discussing their religious beliefs. Local
sources said some of the Hindus became angry and set fire to the home of
one of the Christians. Since the homes in Gandahati are close together,
the fire quickly spread to other houses owned by both Christians and
Hindus. Six Christians received minor injuries and were treated at a local
hospital. Police have set up a camp in the village to monitor the
situation. (Voice of the Martyrs)

6 MONTAGNARD CHRISTIANS SENTENCED IN VIETNAM FOR 'INCITING PROTESTS'

A Vietnamese court has sentenced six ethnic minority Montagnard Christians
to between seven and 17 years in jail for "threatening national security,"
reported the Vietnam News Agency. The men, who live in the country's
central highlands, were found guilty of inciting protests in 2004 to call
for religious freedom. They face an additional five years' surveillance
after their release. A story on the BBC's website stated, "Vietnam has
been criticized by rights groups for repressing the Montagnards. Many are
Protestants who attend an evangelical Christian church not sanctioned by
the government. They claim their tribal lands have been taken to grow cash
crops and that they face constant harassment from the police. The 2004
protests, which centered on the capitals of Dak Lak and Gia Lai provinces,
were quickly suppressed by security forces. The crackdown led to hundreds
of Montagnards fleeing across the border to Cambodia." (Assist News
Service)

=================
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2005-12-03 16:54:27 UTC
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Come to Washington to Pray for a Moral Budget

"Woe to you legislators of infamous laws...who refuse justice to the
unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make
widows their prey and rob the orphan" (Isaiah 10:1-2, Jerusalem Bible).

There are moments in every generation when a society must decide on its
real moral principles. This is one of those moments in history: When our
legislators put ideology over principle, it is time to sound the trumpets
of justice and tell the truth.

Click here for details of the "altar call" to Washington, D.C.:
http://www.sojo.net/capitol
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2005-12-05 17:47:33 UTC
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This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else
By ADAM COHEN

Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the
commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.

The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not
using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising. (Target denies it
has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted
Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for
"Christmas." Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a
"Christmas Under Siege" campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores
that use the phrase "Happy Holidays," along with a poll that asks, "Will
you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?"

This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio -
is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in
control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state
supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters.
There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for
discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about
spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday trees."

What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's self-proclaimed
defenders are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that the
"traditional" American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson,
another Fox anchor, calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters."
But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the
Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending
America's Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday
that fits a political agenda.

The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out
of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source
of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from
Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first
Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building
projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681
Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing
of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.

The concern that Christmas distracted from religious piety continued even
after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop lamented that the
Devil had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of worldly
festivity, shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many religious
leaders were still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New York
newspapers reported that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches
were closed on Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy
One." On the eve of the Civil War, Christmas was recognized in just 18
states.

Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic
celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from
St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created
the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new
emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be
given over to drinking and swearing, but it introduced another concern:
commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas
as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas
shopping season."

Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an
inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while
clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas
sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not
survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953
Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons -
lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic
found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV
special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum
tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial
racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.

This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just tolerating
commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting
Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to
having the holiday forced on them.

The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a "liberal plot,"
in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary
Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the
classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946,
the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish
children to sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their rights as
Americans."

Other non-Christians have long expressed similar concerns. For decades,
companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with "holiday parties,"
schools have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas breaks," and
TV stations and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and
"Season's Greetings" out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.

The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are promoting - one
closely aligned with retailers, with a smack-down attitude toward
nonobservers - fits with their campaign to make America more like a
theocracy, with Christian displays on public property and Christian
prayer in public schools.

It does not, however, appear to be catching on with the public. That may
be because most Americans do not recognize this commercialized,
mean-spirited Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear the
campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's
online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among
the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor
Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the
"holidays" to "Christmases."
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-05 18:32:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else
By ADAM COHEN
Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the
commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.
<snipped>
Serious Christians should be against the celebration of Christmas,
because it's been thoroughly paganized. This was exactly the reasoning
of the English Puritans, when they outlawed Christmas in the 17th
century. It had become an excuse for drunken reveling, and excesses of
all kinds. It's probably even worse today. As for commercialization,
it's clearly the worship of Mammon and the Almighty Dollar rather than
a remembrance of the Christ Child.
Richard Smol
2005-12-09 06:17:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Post by *Peace of Christ*
This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else
By ADAM COHEN
Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the
commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.
<snipped>
Serious Christians should be against the celebration of Christmas,
because it's been thoroughly paganized.
Then again, most of Christianity consists of icorporated pagan rites.

RS
MichaelC
2005-12-05 21:28:30 UTC
Permalink
"*Peace of Christ*" <***@yahoo.com.au> wrote in message news:His_child2005yourhat-***@h-68-164-231-210.chcgilgm.dynamic
.covad.net...
Post by *Peace of Christ*
This Season's War Cry: Commercialize Christmas, or Else
By ADAM COHEN
Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the
commercialization of Christmas. They're for it.
Incorrect. In fact, the "cause" they espouse is precisly the opposite.
Extracting the *reason* for the holiday celebration FROM that celebration
increases its commercialization, not decreases it. (That's so obvious the
writer ought to be embarrassed.)
Post by *Peace of Christ*
The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not
using the words "Merry Christmas" in its advertising. (Target denies it
has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted
Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for
"Christmas." Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a
"Christmas Under Siege" campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores
that use the phrase "Happy Holidays," along with a poll that asks, "Will
you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?"
This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio -
is an odd one. Christmas remains ubiquitous, and with its celebrators in
control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and every state
supreme court and legislature, it hardly lacks for powerful supporters.
Nonsense. The issue is that *Christmas* is NOT ubiquitous. What IS
ubiquitous is the celebration of a Winter Holiday Season devoid of religious
content as far as your local retailer is concerned. (I must add that I find
writer's implication above chilling -- that it is possible for politicians
to someday control said establishments who do *not* support Christmas. I can
only expect that means the party that's not currently running things.)
Post by *Peace of Christ*
There is also something perverse, when Christians are being jailed for
discussing the Bible in Saudi Arabia and slaughtered in Sudan, about
spending so much energy on stores that sell "holiday trees."
What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's self-proclaimed
defenders are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that the
"traditional" American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson,
another Fox anchor, calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters."
But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the
Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending
America's Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday
that fits a political agenda.
We'll note here that the ominous term "political agenda" is used, but not
explained.
Post by *Peace of Christ*
The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out
of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source
of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from
Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first
Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building
projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681
Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing
of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.
The concern that Christmas distracted from religious piety continued even
after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop lamented that the
Devil had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of worldly
festivity, shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many religious
leaders were still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New York
newspapers reported that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches
were closed on Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy
One." On the eve of the Civil War, Christmas was recognized in just 18
states.
Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic
celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from
St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created
the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new
emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be
commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas
as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas
shopping season."
Mr. Cohen should be commended on providing for us the above ancient history
lesson, which has nothing to do whatsoever with the current issue raised by
Mr. Gibson. Christian sensibilities about such matters evolve all the time,
and there's no need hold up a single historical viewpoint on Christmas as
some sort of Holy Relic that must be adhered to at all costs.
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an
inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while
clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas
sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not
survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953
Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons -
lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic
found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV
special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum
tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial
racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.
This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just tolerating
commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting
Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to
having the holiday forced on them.
Utter nonsense. The "defenders" of Christianity are pointing out
sociological reality -- that the only defense against ungodly commercialism
taking complete control over the Christmas season is to assert that the
meaning of Christmas (which is the generosity and gift of God in Jesus
Christ to man) not be removed from its context. And, to make this point, we
have the leftist's usual straw man -- the unnamed miniscule minority who,
somehow, find that they have the Right to be Not Offended someplace in the
U.S. Constitution. (It can't be the Jews. They're on Gibson's side --
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/12/18/145204.shtml)
Post by *Peace of Christ*
The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a "liberal plot,"
in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary
Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the
classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946,
the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish
children to sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their rights as
Americans."
And.....Jewish children no longer have to sing Christmas Carols, in 2001.
The writer seems to forget that their right to opt-out has been codified for
some time. So, now we have a straw man with legs.
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Other non-Christians have long expressed similar concerns.
Who? (Please be specific. The only ones I here expressing these concerns are
(1) liberal Christians, a.k.a Barry Lynn and crowd, and (2) pissed-off,
militant atheists (who, if they really were living an atheistic life, ought
not to care, and be happy as a clam that they have days off of work without
obligatoin so they can get to the ski slopes while everyone is indulging in
their religion.)

For decades,
Post by *Peace of Christ*
companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with "holiday parties,"
schools have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas breaks," and
TV stations and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and
"Season's Greetings" out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.
Nothing wrong with respect. After all, that's what the entire campaign is
all about -- insuring that the majority also has respect. Was this respect?

http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/12/52005b.asp
Post by *Peace of Christ*
The Christmas that Mr. O'Reilly and his allies are promoting - one
closely aligned with retailers, with a smack-down attitude toward
nonobservers - fits with their campaign to make America more like a
theocracy, with Christian displays on public property and Christian
prayer in public schools.
Hm? Fox is doing the opposite, suggesting boycotts in certain circumstances.
A boycott against a retailer is a funny way to be closely aligned with them.
(I also note that the writer has tossed in a couple of additional straw men
in the final sentence, matters that have precisely zero to do with the
Christmas issue.)
Post by *Peace of Christ*
It does not, however, appear to be catching on with the public.
I suppose it's not, Mr. Cohen, at your local synagogue. An informal survey
of my Sunday School class showed that most adults had noticed the lack of
religious content in decoration and advertising at retail stores, and to a
person agreed that their interest in a large, gift-giving Christmas was
dampened by the secular emphasis. This led to a vibrant discussion about how
perhaps we ought all to cut our Christmas budgets by 20% this year and give
the money to the poor. Very good from a Christian perspective, but a
nightmare for the Madison Avenue pencilneck MBAs who are pushing the
Nativity scenes out on the assumption that it will drag non-Christian
shoppers with money in.

Mike




That may
Post by *Peace of Christ*
be because most Americans do not recognize this commercialized,
mean-spirited Christmas as their own. Of course, it's not even clear the
campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's
online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among
the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor
Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the
"holidays" to "Christmases."
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Bbd
2005-12-07 18:13:18 UTC
Permalink
Anti-Semitism and the Christmas warriors
By Michelle Goldberg
Forgive me
http://mentalhelp.net/
MichaelC
2005-12-07 19:07:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bbd
Anti-Semitism and the Christmas warriors
By Michelle Goldberg
Forgive me
http://mentalhelp.net/
ROTF!
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-09 02:20:24 UTC
Permalink
AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY FALWELL
December 2005

Dear Jerry:

Heres some news: There is no war on Christmas!

Ive seen you on various television news shows claiming that there is but,
in fact, there simply isnt. Even as I write this, millions of Americans
are erecting Christmas trees and nativity scenes at their homes, and
thousands of churches are planning special Christmas services.

And, if I might say so, most of them are planning their lives without
getting permission or encouragement from you.

I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen a time that Christians
observe as a season of peace and good will and turned it into a time of
religious divisiveness and community conflict. Your Friend or Foe campaign
may be great for fund-raising and publicity, but it has sown discord
unnecessarily.

Contrary to your wild allegations, Jerry, neither Americans United, nor
any other civil liberties organization that I know of, is waging any kind
of war on Christmas. The First Amendment of our Constitution ensures every
Americans right to observe religious holidays or to refrain from doing so.
We can wish each other a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, and its really
none of your business which term we choose. We can call our decorated tree
a Christmas tree or a holiday tree, and thats our right. (We can observe
the holidays of other traditions as well.)

I think we all know whats really going on with your campaign. You want an
America where there is no separation of church and state and where your
rather narrow interpretation of Christianity is forced on everyone. If you
can convince Americans that their cherished Christmas traditions are under
fire, you think maybe they will join your nefarious crusade to tear down
the protective church-state wall that guarantees our freedoms.

Well, it wont work, Jerry. Americans are, by and large, a tolerant lot,
and they are quite unlikely to join forces with someone like you who is so
far out on the political and religious fringes. Many people remember the
outrageous comments you made after the 9/11 terrorist assaults, suggesting
that America had it coming because of our (in your opinion) sinful ways.
They also remember your dire warning that Tinky Winky, a kids TV
character, was brainwashing our children into homosexuality! You cant
rehabilitate an image like that by trying to depict yourself as Father
Christmas.

I am particularly outraged that you are attacking our public schools as
part of your misguided project. Our public schools serve children from
2,000 different faith traditions and some who follow no spiritual path at
all. They generally do a tremendous job of helping each of these students
without imposing any particular religious viewpoint. They steer a careful
course, broadly allowing student religious _expression while trying to
avoid school endorsement of specific faiths. That means there are
sometimes disagreements about what songs should be sung in the winter
concert or what decorations should go in the hall. We can work through
those decisions by applying common sense, the Constitution and plain old
civility.

Thanks to the crusade by you and your allies, however, some of these
schools are being targeted for venomous attacks. After the Alliance
Defense Fund unfairly maligned a public school in New York for its holiday
observance policies, education officials there received hateful mail of
all sorts. One e-mail said "You are either bigoted Jews who hate
Christians or mindless secularists."

Since I debated you about the Christmas issue on Fox News Channels OReilly
Factor, I have received 66 nasty e-mails, including two death threats.
Observed one of my correspondents, Hope you die soon. Merry Christmas.

Jerry, this is the kind of interfaith and community hostility that you are
stirring up, and I implore you to stop it now. You are polluting the
public square with animosity and anger. And at Christmas, of all times!!
Have you no decency?

Youve dubbed your latest round of antics a Friend or Foe campaign. Well,
Jerry, I am a friend of the Constitution and a foe of intolerance. You
should be too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,



The Rev. Barry W. Lynn
Executive Director


PS: I saw on a couple of the news shows that you are again questioning my
ministerial credentials. I believe the _expression that you used on Fox
News Channels The Big Story with John Gibson is that I am about as
reverend as an oak tree and that I never preached in a church. Drop me a
line, Jerry, and Ill send you (again) a copy of my ministerial credentials
from the United Church of Christ. And by the way, Id be happy to come to
Thomas Road Baptist Church and deliver the sermon on the Sunday of your
choice. Your congregation might like a change of perspective every now and
then.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Mike Painter
2005-12-09 04:45:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY FALWELL
December 2005
Contrary to your wild allegations, Jerry, neither Americans United,
nor any other civil liberties organization that I know of, is waging
any kind of war on Christmas.
I wonder if he mentioned the ACLU in his little talk.
They filed a brief for him when he wanted to buy more church land that a
country wanted him to have, probably because of the lost tax revenue.
Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-09 23:59:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY FALWELL
December 2005
Heres some news: There is no war on Christmas!
<snipped>
There *ought* to be a war against Christmas, but not by secularists.
Serious Christians themselves should be in the forefront of this
battle, because Christmas, as presently constituted, is thoroughly
paganized. It's an affront to real Christianity -- a paean to
commercialism, the point where retail stores make their profits for
the year, an excuse for consuming alcohol to excess, office parties at
which otherwise decorous managers think they have license to grope
their secretaries, etc. Even to children, the most significant thing
by far about Christmas is the presents they're hoping to get. It's all
about "Me Me Me" -- and in all this brouhaha, the Christ Child is a
mere footnote.

Even the Roman Saturnalia festival was mild by comparison. Actually,
it's a slander against the pagans to call Christmas "pagan."
MichaelC
2005-12-10 12:13:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Post by *Peace of Christ*
AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY FALWELL
December 2005
Heres some news: There is no war on Christmas!
<snipped>
There *ought* to be a war against Christmas, but not by secularists.
Serious Christians themselves should be in the forefront of this
battle, because Christmas, as presently constituted, is thoroughly
paganized. It's an affront to real Christianity -- a paean to
commercialism, the point where retail stores make their profits for
the year, an excuse for consuming alcohol to excess, office parties at
which otherwise decorous managers think they have license to grope
their secretaries, etc. Even to children, the most significant thing
by far about Christmas is the presents they're hoping to get. It's all
about "Me Me Me" -- and in all this brouhaha, the Christ Child is a
mere footnote.
Although commercialism is certainly in excess at Christmas, it ought to be
remembered that the inspiration for gift-giving (which today inevitably
means retailing) is inspired by the Nativity story (the Wise Men brought
gifts, plus the entire core of Christmas is God's Gift of His Son.)

So, therein lies part of the "problem", in that the entire notion of
CHRISTIAN Christmas means NOTHING without the gifting symbology. In order to
get rid of the commercial excess, you';d have to throw the baby out with the
bathwater (a cliche which is apropos, considering there is indeed, in this
case, a Baby to be thrown out.)

I, for one, do not generally believe in amputing my arm to get rid of a
hangnail, which is what your above rant seems to suggest.

As for the rest, conspicuous consumption of food, alcohol, and poorly
behaved managers at business parties have nothing to do with it. You have
noticed, perhaps (or, perhaps not) that such behavior happens, when in does,
at New Years, Mardi Gras, the 4th of July.......it's intellectually
dishonest to connote the party behavior of poorly deported people with
Christmas, as it happens at other times, as well. In order to draw a
correlation, you need to have, well, a correlation. Make Christmas
disappear, and you'd still have "end of the year parties" where corporate
types would frolic away, without a thought of Christ at all.
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Even the Roman Saturnalia festival was mild by comparison. Actually,
it's a slander against the pagans to call Christmas "pagan."
Nonsense, unless you really belive that today's corporate Christmas party is
a drunken orgy. I've been to dozens over the last decade, and I haven't
found anything but decorous behavior. Managers today lose their jobs for
groping women -- who, btw, are no longer secretaries (their "secretary", in
2005, being a beige box named "Dell" or "HP", who doesn't mind being groped)
but business professionals in their right. It's no longer the 50's.

Mike
Joe Orthodox
2005-12-10 15:27:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by MichaelC
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Post by *Peace of Christ*
AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY FALWELL
December 2005
Heres some news: There is no war on Christmas!
<snipped>
There *ought* to be a war against Christmas, but not by secularists.
Serious Christians themselves should be in the forefront of this
battle, because Christmas, as presently constituted, is thoroughly
paganized. It's an affront to real Christianity -- a paean to
commercialism, the point where retail stores make their profits for
the year, an excuse for consuming alcohol to excess, office parties at
which otherwise decorous managers think they have license to grope
their secretaries, etc. Even to children, the most significant thing
by far about Christmas is the presents they're hoping to get. It's all
about "Me Me Me" -- and in all this brouhaha, the Christ Child is a
mere footnote.
Although commercialism is certainly in excess at Christmas, it ought to be
remembered that the inspiration for gift-giving (which today inevitably
means retailing) is inspired by the Nativity story (the Wise Men brought
gifts, plus the entire core of Christmas is God's Gift of His Son.)
So, therein lies part of the "problem", in that the entire notion of
CHRISTIAN Christmas means NOTHING without the gifting symbology. In order to
get rid of the commercial excess, you';d have to throw the baby out with the
bathwater (a cliche which is apropos, considering there is indeed, in this
case, a Baby to be thrown out.)
I, for one, do not generally believe in amputing my arm to get rid of a
hangnail, which is what your above rant seems to suggest.
As for the rest, conspicuous consumption of food, alcohol, and poorly
behaved managers at business parties have nothing to do with it. You have
noticed, perhaps (or, perhaps not) that such behavior happens, when in does,
at New Years, Mardi Gras, the 4th of July.......it's intellectually
dishonest to connote the party behavior of poorly deported people with
Christmas, as it happens at other times, as well. In order to draw a
correlation, you need to have, well, a correlation. Make Christmas
disappear, and you'd still have "end of the year parties" where corporate
types would frolic away, without a thought of Christ at all.
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Even the Roman Saturnalia festival was mild by comparison. Actually,
it's a slander against the pagans to call Christmas "pagan."
Nonsense, unless you really belive that today's corporate Christmas party is
a drunken orgy. I've been to dozens over the last decade, and I haven't
found anything but decorous behavior. Managers today lose their jobs for
groping women -- who, btw, are no longer secretaries (their "secretary", in
2005, being a beige box named "Dell" or "HP", who doesn't mind being groped)
but business professionals in their right. It's no longer the 50's.
Mike
I concur, Mike. I've been in the corporate world in various IT
consulting functions for over a decade and never witnessed what AA is
describing. That cynical description is the exception rather than the
rule. In fact, many corporations have been forgoing these official
Christmas parties to prevent any potential legal and ethical problems.
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-10 17:46:54 UTC
Permalink
(!) Advent in Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, and reality
by Ryan Beiler

In August this year I began considering participation in a Christian
Peacemaker Teams delegation to Iraq in November. With much prayer by
friends and family, I began my discernment process, weighing the obvious
risks. In Colombia I had traveled through territory controlled by
guerillas with a penchant for kidnapping. In Gaza I had fled from warning
shots fired by Israeli soldiers. But I had never walked in solidarity with
people whose land had been invaded and occupied by my own nation's
military. I struggled with the notion expressed by kidnapped peacemaker
Norman Kember, the heart of the CPT mission: am I willing to take the same
risks for peace that those in the military take for war?


As weeks passed, circumstances and logistics dictated my choice not to go.
The November delegation had filled up before I could join. And even before
Kember, and fellow team members Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney, and Tom Fox
were taken hostage on Nov. 26, I had been told that my primary reason for
going - photojournalism - would not be worthwhile because of the team's
own security precautions.


Tomorrow is the day that the so-called Swords of Righteousness Brigade
have set for the peacemakers' execution if U.S. forces do not release all
detainees held in Iraq. So today, with a vague sense of survivor's guilt,
I reflect on the impending miracle or tragedy of these men's lives.


Their survival would be a miracle. And yet, statements of support from the
likes of Hamas and cleric Abu Qatada, a suspected al Qaeda terrorist
imprisoned in the U.K., are already miraculous. Our enemies - by any
conventional definition - have appealed for the release of our friends.
The cynic will say that support from such quarters merely confirms that
CPT must be as anti-American as the terrorists. But hints of parable
permeate: The Samaritan, a despised foreigner and outcast to Jesus'
audience, disregards religious and ethnic division to aid one in need,
while countrymen preoccupied with their own purity pass by.


Indeed, Rush Limbaugh is glad these "leftist feel-good hand-wringers" are
being "shown reality." To follow his version of the parable, they'd never
have fallen among thieves if they hadn't been walking on the road to
Jericho in the first place. His reference to reality is intriguing, coming
in support of an administration now widely regarded as out of touch with
the reality in Iraq. Promises that we would be greeted as liberators, that
Iraq would pay for its own invasion with oil revenue, that we knew where
the weapons of mass destruction were, that only a few troops would be
needed - all evaporated in the face of a reality that the likes of
Limbaugh can only imagine, while the men and women of the armed forces,
CPT members, and the people of Iraq experience its horror on a daily
basis.


Hawks are always eager to chide doves that though war is hell, it's the
only realistic course to security. But frankly, their reality is terrible.
While the body count in Iraq surpasses 10 times that of Sept. 11 (I will
not here discriminate between theirs and ours), this week the 9/11
Commission has issued a report card filled with Ds and Fs - evidence that
while our military misadventures overseas have exacted billions of dollars
and tens of thousands of lives, measures at home that could truly make us
safer have been neglected. Katrina is merely one case in point.


Jesus warned us, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's
clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15). Watching file
footage of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, and hearing their hollow
promises followed by claims of "mission accomplished" - one is not sure
whether to laugh at the absurdity or cry at the resulting tragedies such
as Abu Ghraib. "A few bad apples," we were told. "You will know them by
their fruits," Jesus said (v. 16).


But in stark contrast with neo-con messiah complex fantasies, Tom Fox had
no illusions about the dangers he would face in Iraq. "I am to stand firm
against the kidnapper as I am to stand firm against the soldier," he wrote
more than a year ago. "Does that mean I walk into a raging battle to
confront the soldiers? Does that mean I walk the streets of Baghdad with a
sign saying ŒAmerican for the Taking?' No to both counts. But if Jesus and
Gandhi are right, then I am asked to risk my life, and if I lose it to be
as forgiving as they were when murdered by the forces of Satan."


Far from "feel-good hand-wringers," these men knew the difference between
good and evil, and that living out Christ's call is costly. They were so
in touch with reality that officials preferred to ignore that they
denounced abuses at Abu Ghraib long before the photographs came out -
before anyone was listening.


I could denounce the Swords of Righteousness Brigade for threatening to
kill the people who have defended the very detainees they demand be
released, but that doesn't seem productive at this moment. Instead, I
stand astonished as other Muslims - militants, politicians, and religious
leaders - defend these captive Christians, and Jesus' upside-down kingdom
glimmers. CPT's risky Christianity, broadcast by al Jazeera, has done more
to promote mutual understanding and goodwill than any ham-handed tour by
Karen Hughes, the U.S. State Department's head public relations envoy.


This week's advent theme is promise - the promise that a true and
trustworthy savior is coming. We are called to cast aside false prophets
and anticipate a messiah who was willing to become vulnerable, to enter
dangerous territory, to put his life in the hands of those who couldn't
tell enemies from neighbors, and taught us to love them all. 1 John 2:17
tells us, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." If this
seems unrealistic, we now have four more witnesses to the contrary. While
in a spirit of Advent anticipation we wait and pray that tomorrow will
bring a new promise of life, I am confident that as they walk in his
steps, the Christ who defeated death will work more miracles regardless of
grim realities.


Ryan Beiler is web editor for Sojourners.
===============================
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*Peace of Christ*
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Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-10 19:42:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
(!) Advent in Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, and reality
by Ryan Beiler
In August this year I began considering participation in a Christian
Peacemaker Teams delegation to Iraq in November. With much prayer by
friends and family, I began my discernment process, weighing the obvious
risks. In Colombia I had traveled through territory controlled by
guerillas with a penchant for kidnapping. In Gaza I had fled from warning
shots fired by Israeli soldiers. But I had never walked in solidarity with
people whose land had been invaded and occupied by my own nation's
military. I struggled with the notion expressed by kidnapped peacemaker
Norman Kember, the heart of the CPT mission: am I willing to take the same
risks for peace that those in the military take for war?
<snipped for brevity>
The motives of these "peacemakers" may have been pure, but going to
Iraq was sheer stupidity. What did they really think they could
accomplish, other than getting themselves killed? Was this the
Christian "martyrdom complex" at work? God often protects fools, but
there's a limit to His patience.
• Ninure Saunders
2005-12-11 20:38:25 UTC
Permalink
In article <***@4ax.com>, Alexander Arnakis
<***@address.none> wrote:

-On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 17:46:54 GMT, ***@yahoo.com.au
-(*Peace of Christ*) wrote:
-
->(!) Advent in Iraq, Rush Limbaugh, and reality
->by Ryan Beiler
->
->In August this year I began considering participation in a Christian
->Peacemaker Teams delegation to Iraq in November. With much prayer by
->friends and family, I began my discernment process, weighing the obvious
->risks. In Colombia I had traveled through territory controlled by
->guerillas with a penchant for kidnapping. In Gaza I had fled from warning
->shots fired by Israeli soldiers. But I had never walked in solidarity with
->people whose land had been invaded and occupied by my own nation's
->military. I struggled with the notion expressed by kidnapped peacemaker
->Norman Kember, the heart of the CPT mission: am I willing to take the same
->risks for peace that those in the military take for war?
->
-><snipped for brevity>
-
-The motives of these "peacemakers" may have been pure, but going to
-Iraq was sheer stupidity. What did they really think they could
-accomplish, other than getting themselves killed? Was this the
-Christian "martyrdom complex" at work? God often protects fools, but
-there's a limit to His patience.

So, was Jesus a fool?

Didn't he know in advance that he would be betrayed, handed over to the
religious authorities, and be killed..?..
--
Pax Christi,
• Ninure Saunders aka Rainbow Christian

Jesus is my Shepherd and He knows I'm Gay
http://Ninure-Saunders.tk

My Yahoo Group
http://Ninure.tk

Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
http://www.MCCchurch.org

The Bible Site - help provide free scripture
http://www.thebiblesite.org

To send e-mail, remove nohate from address
Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-10 19:33:43 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 15:27:14 GMT, Joe Orthodox
Post by Joe Orthodox
I concur, Mike. I've been in the corporate world in various IT
consulting functions for over a decade and never witnessed what AA is
describing. That cynical description is the exception rather than the
rule. In fact, many corporations have been forgoing these official
Christmas parties to prevent any potential legal and ethical problems.
It's telling that Christmas is a big thing in Japan, although very few
Japanese are Christians. What you have in Japan is a purely
secularized Christmas, which in its external manifestations is hardly
distinguishable from what we see here in the West.

My point is that the *core* of Christmas, everywhere, is its
commercialism. OK, we could replicate the gifts of the Magi to the
Christ Child by limiting ourselves strictly to handmade gifts and
promises of personal services, but where would that leave the
retailers, and by extension the whole economy?

Serious Christians should simply "opt out" of the commercial thing,
either by forswearing the gift-giving, or by giving token gifts on the
Old Calendar Christmas (some 13 days later) or (as is done in Russia)
on St. Basil's Day (Old Calendar New Year's).

It's the nexus between commercialism and the commemoration of the
Nativity that should be broken. If the Christian wants to buy into the
commercialism, OK, but then let's call Christmas a frankly pagan
holiday.
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-06 17:52:35 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 5 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

KIDNAPPING OF MISSIONARY IN HAITI HAS RIPPLE EFFECT ON MINISTRIES

CHRISTIAN WORKERS ATTACKED IN INDIA'S MAHARASHTRA STATE

CHRISTIANS IN TURKEY EXPERIENCE ONGOING HARASSMENT

Today's Top Stories:

KIDNAPPING OF MISSIONARY IN HAITI HAS RIPPLE EFFECT ON MINISTRIES

Lawlessness in the streets of Haiti has given way to a rash of kidnappings
throughout the nation. Gunmen released 48-year-old American missionary
Phillip Snyder of Michigan Friday, Dec 2, a day after he was shot in the
arm and seized while driving on the outskirts of the Haitian capital of
Port Au Prince. Snyder was released after the kidnappers were paid an
unspecified ransom, said police Commissioner Francois Henri Doussous, head
of Haiti's anti-kidnapping unit. Snyder was treated for a gunshot wound to
his shoulder and released from a U.N. military hospital. Christian World
Outreach's Greg Yoder says this will affect the ministry which has an
extensive outreach in Haiti. For example, the ministry may cancel its
annual pastors' conference the first week of January. "We just really need
to pray," Yoder said. "I don't know what else to do. For us it's
emotional. For me, having lived there, I have Haitian people that are my
friends that are there and know the danger they are in. I feel like my
hands are tied, so I don't know what more we can do." (Mission Network
News/Associated Press)



CHRISTIAN WORKERS ATTACKED IN INDIA'S MAHARASHTRA STATE

A group of young people attacked three Christians as they distributed
Christian literature in western India's Maharashtra state Saturday, Nov.
26. Two of the three were hospitalized. The attack took place in Panvel
Taluka, near the state capital, Mumbai. A young man approached Christian
worker Shaji Samuel, took a piece of literature and asked him why there
was no mention of the 330 million Hindu gods in it. Enraged, the young man
and 30 other people started beating him. "It's a miracle that we are alive
today," Samuel told Compass. "We were beaten up very badly." The area is
still tense, as the attackers have put up posters on area walls warning
Hindus of conversions. (Compass)

CHRISTIANS IN TURKEY EXPERIENCE ONGOING HARASSMENT

Turkey's Protestant Christian minorities experienced fresh harassment this
past week from both security police and the judiciary, along with an
attempt by vandals to set on one local church on fire.

On Sunday, Nov. 27, members of the Agape House congregation in Samsun, a
city along the Black Sea coast, were disquieted when a large, white
minibus that appeared to be filming them, parked in front of their church
as they came to morning worship services. Samsun's Agape House has just
become the third Protestant church granted formal "association" status by
the Turkish authorities.

In another incident, in the Aegean coastal town of Selcuk, the local
prosecutor's office summoned two members of the Ephesus Protestant Church
to answer accusations filed against them. The Selcuk prosecutor informed
Kamil Moussa that he had been accused of "threatening" a former student
who attended the church's Tyrannus Bible School from 2000-2002.

In the resort city of Antalya along the Mediterranean coast, unknown
vandals tried to set fire to three windows of the St. Paul Cultural Center
in the early-morning hours of Monday, Nov. 28. The center was the first
new Christian congregation in Turkey to gain government recognition as an
official "association" in August 2004. (Compass)
=================
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*Peace of Christ*
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-07 02:14:34 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 6 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

MILITANT HINDU GROUPS IN INDIA CONTINUE ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

MEDICAL TEAM TO PROVIDE VACCINES FOR INDIA'S ORPHANS

INTERNATIONAL CALLERS JOIN IN PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHURCH

Today's Top Stories:

MILITANT HINDU GROUPS IN INDIA CONTINUE ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

Two militant Hindu groups struck churches in central India's Chattisgarh
and Madhya Pradesh states on Sunday, Dec. 4. At least 25 members of the
Hindu extremist group Dharma Sena attacked a church in Raipur,
Chattisgarh, severely beating five Christians. After beating four
Christians in the church, the attackers took them and a pastor from
another area church into a Hindu temple where they tried to force them to
bow down to idols. Also on Sunday, a group of 15 extremists from the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh attacked a pastor in the Jhabua district of
Madhya Pradesh state. Police declined to arrest any of the militant
Hindus. Instead, they detained Pastor Anil Mehra of the Indian Evangelical
Team for more than 10 hours for "disrupting public peace." (Compass)

MEDICAL TEAM TO PROVIDE VACCINES FOR INDIA'S ORPHANS

Hopegivers International is sponsoring a special medical team to travel to
India to vaccinate orphans against the deadly virus Hepatitis A. Led by
retired registered nurse Bobbye Golden, five volunteers will leave for
India in January. "In everything we do, we want to reflect the love of
Christ," said Hopegivers President Dr. Samuel Thomas. "I'm thankful for
people like Bobbye Golden who make it their business to reflect Christ
through helping others." The India Vaccination Campaign first began when
Golden went to India in 1997 with Hopegivers to provide typhoid vaccine
for hundreds of orphans at the Raipura orphanage in Kota, Rajasthan. Along
with her team of volunteers, Golden has been back to India every year
since then to provide life saving shots for abandoned and orphaned
children. Along with the vaccines, the children are taught proper hygiene
techniques and are given toothbrushes, vitamins and antibiotics. (Assist
News Service)

INTERNATIONAL CALLERS JOIN IN PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHURCH

International callers from 15 countries and 22 states in the U.S. joined a
12-hour conference call to unite in prayer for the International Day of
Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, Nov. 13. Greater Calling, a
nonprofit Christian teleconferencing prayer ministry, announced that
several callers from countries where persecution of Christians is severe
were able to use their telephones to unite with Christians in the U.S. for
prayer. "We were so excited to hear the voice of callers that actually
live in the persecuted church regions," said Dana Simons, co-founder of
Greater Calling Ministry. "Even though they could not stay on the line for
more than a few minutes, through the power of the Internet, they were able
to find out about the call and get the number to join us in order to
remind us about their plight. We had callers from Myanmar, Somalia and
Algeria, all of whom were literally putting their lives at risk to make
the phone call," she added. (Assist News Service)

=================
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*Peace of Christ*
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Bbd
2005-12-07 13:33:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World: 6 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
http://mentalhelp.net/
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-09 16:25:51 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 9 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

PAKISTANI CLERICS DEMAND DEATH FOR CHRISTIAN ACCUSED OF 'BLASPHEMY'

UPDATE: NEW TRIBES MISSION APPEALS ORDER TO LEAVE VENEZUELA

U.S. ACCEPTS 4 IRANIAN CHRISTIAN CONVERTS FOR RESETTLEMENT

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP CALLS FOR RELEASE OF CHRISTIAN PRISONER IN CUBA

MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS FOSTER PEACE EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Today's Top Stories:



PAKISTANI CLERICS DEMAND DEATH FOR CHRISTIAN ACCUSED OF 'BLASPHEMY'

During Friday prayers last week in Pakistan's Punjab province, Muslim
clerics flanked by government officials demanded the public execution of a
Christian accused of blasphemy. An Islamist group leader has since called
for a nationwide protest Friday, Dec. 9, urging the execution of Yousaf
Masih, a Christian accused of burning pages from the Koran three weeks
ago. The accusations triggered Muslim violence in the Punjabi town of
Sangla Hill that destroyed four churches. Eyewitnesses have said they saw
a Muslim who owed Masih a large amount of money throw a burning match into
the room where there was a copy of the Koran. Hill police have arrested
and tortured four of Masih's six brothers, prompting the alleged
blasphemer to give himself up in exchange for their release. The clerics
and officials also called for the immediate release of 88 Muslims arrested
for attacking and destroying four churches and other Christian property in
Sangla Hill on Saturday, Nov. 12, the day after Masih's alleged
desecration of the Koran. (Compass)



UPDATE: NEW TRIBES MISSION APPEALS ORDER TO LEAVE VENEZUELA

Florida-based New Tribes Mission (NTM) is appealing its ordered expulsion
from Venezuelan tribal areas to that nation's Supreme Court. NTM's Nita
Zelenak is asking people to pray that Venezuela's high court will take the
case and suspend the order -- or at least let the missionaries continue
their Bible translation and evangelism while the case is considered.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the expulsion nearly two months
ago, accusing NTM missionaries of spying for the CIA, a charge they
vigorously deny. Zelenak said that missionaries are rushing to complete as
much work as possible in the few weeks left before their mandatory
departure in mid-February. "Pray that God would touch the right people in
power in Venezuela to reverse this decision, that there would be freedom
of religion, and that we'd be able to continue working in Venezuela,
helping the indigenous people." (Agape Press/Associated Press/Mission
Network News)



U.S. ACCEPTS 4 IRANIAN CHRISTIAN CONVERTS FOR RESETTLEMENT

The U.S. has approved emergency resettlement for a family of four Iranian
Christians left stranded in Turkey since an October deportation order.
Widow Zivar Khademian, together with her daughter Fatemeh Moini, 19, and
sons Hossein and Kazem Moini, both in their early 30s, had fled to Turkey
in January 2003. After arriving in Turkey, the family was twice refused
United Nations refugee status even though they were former Muslims who had
converted to Christianity. Under Iran's strict Islamic laws, anyone who
abandons the Muslim faith faces the death penalty. (Compass)



HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP CALLS FOR RELEASE OF CHRISTIAN PRISONER IN CUBA

Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling on the international community
to renew efforts for the release of Christian human rights activist Dr.
Oscar Elias Biscet on the third anniversary of his imprisonment in Cuba.
Biscet was detained on Dec. 6, 2002, for organizing informal discussion
meetings for the Friends of Human Rights groups that he was trying to
establish. He was later sentenced to 25 years in prison along with scores
of other human rights and democracy activists in a major crackdown on
dissidents in March 2003. Reports were received in November that Biscet's
health continues to worsen as the authorities at the Combinado del Este
Prison, where he is being held, place harsher restrictions on him. Biscet
is a physician and father of two children. (Christian Solidarity
Worldwide)



MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS FOSTER PEACE EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Muslims and Christians belonging to various groups advocating harmony
recently observed "Mindanao Peace Week" urging all to help peace in the
Mindanao region of the Philippines. Pastors, Catholic priests, Islamic
imams, Arabic teachers, government employees, military and police
officials, students, local officials, indigenous people and housewives
trooped to the streets and open fields in observance of the peace week
that started on Tuesday, Nov 29.

For the last 40 years there has been constant strife between Christians
and Muslims in the country. As a result, church leaders from various
denominations have been making concerted efforts to foster and maintain
peace in the region. There are about 9 million Muslims in the Philippines
which has the highest proportion of Christians of any country in Asia.

General Santos Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. started the celebration with a
parade in the city and a program during which speakers underscored the
need for peace as the "mother of requirements" in bringing development to
Mindanao. In his welcome address, Acharon exhorted his people to continue
their vigilance to help keep peace in the region.

The city has been facing security threats from a number of groups.
Bombings have also rocked the city. Meanwhile, governmental officials are
also doing their best to ascertain peace measures in the region. (Religion
Today/Assist News Service)
``````````````````
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*Peace of Christ*
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Bbd
2005-12-09 22:30:07 UTC
Permalink
PAKISTANI CLERICS DEMAND DEATH...
http://www.tourism.gov.pk/
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-13 17:47:25 UTC
Permalink
The Preeminent Christmas Activity"

'Tis the season and the air is filled with Christmas songs, both religious
and secular. Have you ever noticed how many of the Christmas songs speak
about the activities associated with Christmas. Here in the United States
our already busy lives become even busier during this time season. Many,
if not all, have one time or another, after Christmas day has passed, ask
ourselves that penetrating question; "Why do we go through all of this
anyway?" It is a question that stems from the frustration of activity run
amuck. Not that all we do is wrong. It is that the preeminent activity of
Christmas is overshadowed by the lesser important things.

Scripture reveals what that preeminent activity is to be. Luke 2:8-17
records that shepherds received an angelic announcement concerning the
Savior's birth. As soon as they received the message "they hurried off" to
find the child. Matthew 2:1-12 reveals that star following Magi from the
east sought "the King of the Jews." For both the shepherds and the Magi
all other activity took a back seat to seeking the Christ.

When the Magi found Jesus "they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they
opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense
and of myrrh." They worshiped Him; not the stable, not the manger, not the
event, not the family, they worshiped Jesus! After seeing Jesus the
shepherds "spread the word concerning what had been told them about this
child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to
them." They could not remain silent! For both the shepherds and Magi their
seeking was honored and what, no Who, they found transformed them.

Herein lies the preeminent Christmas activity for all. We are to seek
Jesus, worship Him, and tell everyone we can about what we have seen and
heard concerning Him. "Seek and you shall find," Jesus promised. And when
we find Him the only reasonable worship is to offer ourselves to Him as a
living sacrifice wholly and acceptable unto Him. As He transforms us by
grace through our faith we cannot remain silent. All else we may speak
pales in comparison to sharing Jesus and His saving work in our lives.
These three actions are so interwoven that it is nearly impossible to
separate them. That is why we can refer to it as the preeminent Christmas
(Christian) activity - seek, worship, and tell!

Beloved, as we enter the Advent season, let us make a conscious concerted
effort to be sure that all we do to celebrate Christmas is a seeking,
worshiping, and sharing Christ activity! Without this, all we do is an
empty enterprise of filling our lives with that which can neither satisfy
or last.

Keep Close To Jesus
Pastor Gerry
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*Peace of Christ*
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-10 01:38:38 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 10 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES BULLDOZE 5 LOCAL CHURCH BUILDINGS

HOUSE CHURCH IN EGYPT KEEPS MEETING DESPITE PASTOR'S DEATH

PASTOR IN INDIA FACES ATTACKS, DEATH THREATS FOR REACHING MUSLIMS

AUDIO MINISTRY SPREADS GOSPEL AMONG ILLITERATE TRIBE IN MOZAMBIQUE

POLL: YOUNG AMERICAN ADULTS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT REDUCING POVERTY

Today's Top Stories:

INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES BULLDOZE 5 LOCAL CHURCH BUILDINGS

Local sources in Indonesia have reported that the Pamong Praja police
bulldozed five church buildings in an area of Tangerang county west of
Jakarta Wednesday, Nov. 30, while church members stood in front of their
buildings and watched. When the churches initially heard about the
proposed demolitions, they requested a delay until after Christmas.
However, at 11 a.m. hundreds of local security officials moved in, cleared
the buildings of their contents and destroyed the buildings. The five
churches included the Indonesia Protestant Christian Church, Indonesia
Pentecost Church, Protestant Batak Christian Huria Church, Indonesia
Haleluyah Pentecost Church, and Indonesia Bethel Church. Officials claim
that the church buildings violated residential bylaws. Church leaders
believe, however, that political interests motivated the destruction.
(Voice of the Martyrs)


HOUSE CHURCH IN EGYPT KEEPS MEETING DESPITE PASTOR'S DEATH

Protestant Pastor Ezzat Habib, 58, was killed in an apparent accident
after being struck by a taxi in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Oct. 23. However,
his sons, Ibram, George and Amir, suspect their father's death was no
accident. He, along with his entire family, have been threatened by
Egypt's security police for holding church services in their home. The
Beit-El (House of God) congregation has met in the Habib home in the Cairo
suburb of Giza since 1997. In the past two years members of the
congregation have faced harassment, arrests and even stabbings as they
continue to meet. In spite of their father's death, the Habib brothers
remain resolute in continuing their house fellowship. Fearing further
police harassment, the three brothers and their mother have been forced to
separate and stay with various friends, only returning to their home for
church services. (Compass)


PASTOR IN INDIA FACES ATTACKS, DEATH THREATS FOR REACHING MUSLIMS

Since receiving Christ at age 21, Rev. K.K. Alavi of Manjeri, India, a
predominantly Muslim town in the southern part of the country, has endured
at least four attempts on his life because of his ministry among Muslims.
He continues to receive numerous death threats by telephone and letter.
The National Development Front (NDF), a major Indian Islamic group, has
launched several public campaigns against Alavi. "Now, sources have
alerted me that I'm second on the hit list prepared by the Muslim
fundamentalist NDF," he said. Alavi pastors an independent Lutheran church
(New Hope India Mission); oversees a literature program involving tracts,
booklets and study aides that examining Islamic viewpoints on
Christianity; and has written more than 20 books and tracts calling upon
Muslims to understand the true essence of the teachings of Jesus. He has
led up to 200 Muslims to Christ. (Compass)


AUDIO MINISTRY SPREADS GOSPEL AMONG ILLITERATE TRIBE IN MOZAMBIQUE

Talking Bibles International is reaching an illiterate people group, the
Xitshwa, in Mozambique with the gospel through partnership with Cross
Connection Outreach, Youth with a Mission (YWAM) and local pastors. Luke
Rider with Cross Connection Outreach is the distribution and production
partner for the New Testament for the approximately 1.7 million people who
speak the language. Rider says the literacy rate in Mozambique makes audio
Scriptures essential. "The literacy rate in Mozambique is astounding.
Basically, nobody reads their mother language," Rider said. "The local
pastors, they know where we need to take them. Talking Bibles are working
with the process. YWAM has provided us with technicians to record and the
Bible society is encouraging it. We have about 500 Bibles in the country
right now with about 400 in circulation. And, those Bibles are actually in
areas where people have never heard the Word of God before." (Mission
Network News)


POLL: YOUNG AMERICAN ADULTS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT REDUCING POVERTY

Barna Research Group conducted a poll for Compassion International
indicating that young American adults, more than any other age group,
believe they can make a difference in poverty overseas. The poll also
showed an increase in giving to the poor in 2005. Officials at Compassion
said they believe that the increase was in large part a response to the
natural disasters that have been occurring frequently around the world.
David Dahlin, senior vice president and chief operating officer of
Compassion International said, "We're grateful that Americans responded.
But we also hope they realize that even when there are no natural
disasters, there are still children in other countries who are in
desperate need." United Nations' figures indicate that of the 2.2 billion
children on the planet 1 billion live in poverty, and 300 million go to
bed hungry every night. An estimated 30,000 children die every day because
of malnutrition or disease. One of the most compelling trends in the poll
was the generational difference that emerged with young adults aged 18-21
most optimistic about the chances of individual Americans having an
influence in the world. "With the optimism expressed by American young
people, we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a nationwide trend,"
Dahlin said. (Assist News Service)
=================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-10 05:48:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World: 10 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
*Don't* pray for the world. God knows what He's doing, and all our
measly prayers do is prove how little faith we have in Him.
Bbd
2005-12-12 13:30:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World: 10 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
*Don't* pray for the world. God knows what He's doing, and all our
measly prayers do is prove how little faith we have in Him.
This loon doesn't care about anyone's prayers - he is just acting out
his psychosis.
R.V. Gronoff
2005-12-13 02:24:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bbd
Post by Alexander Arnakis
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Pray for the World: 10 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
*Don't* pray for the world. God knows what He's doing, and all our
measly prayers do is prove how little faith we have in Him.
This loon doesn't care about anyone's prayers - he is just acting out
his psychosis.
Since we all are images at the likeness of God who is "I Am the Being",
then the world is not separated from our own mind or soul. The world is
the whole of phenomenality, meaning that everything that happens in the
world happens to "me" and for "me" - "me" being the "I" that "I am".

If we stick to this idealistic view, in a philosophical sense (like
Berkeley for example), then we understand two things: if we say that the
world exists in itself, then the self of the world is really my-self.
So, morally, "I" am completeley responsible for the entire world, even
if it doesn't exist much more than a dream.

Now, still considering that the Universe is "my" world, how come there
exist alter-egoes (the human phenomenon, the other fellow men) with whom
I can talk sensibly and reasonably about the nature of the spirit ? How
come I can totally share, through language, the absoluteness of
consciousness and not fall into solipsism and some sort of schizophrenia ?

That's because, as the I that I Am, I am not only contained into my
present body, but "I" also exist in all the reasonable beings: I am also
You and We and Them.

That's why the God-man Jesus-Christ, the measure (metron) of all things
divine and human, has taught us how to start praying:

"Our Father, who art heavenly..."
Not "my" father - and then the world is nothing but an illusion; but the
heavenly, ie of the nature of consciousness, Father, the God who
revealed His name to Moses in the flaming bush as "I Am the Being" (Ego
eimi o On), as the communion of all the beings, created and uncreated,
divine Persons, angels and men, who call themselves "I" - knowing that
even the one God Himself sometimes express himself as a "We", like in:
"Let *us* make man an image at our likeness".

"The world is a dream of which we all are the unique dreamer." -- Andrej
Tarkovsky
--
Virez Ahmadinejad pour me répondre.
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Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-13 23:27:35 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 13 Dec 2005 03:24:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by R.V. Gronoff
Since we all are images at the likeness of God who is "I Am the Being",
then the world is not separated from our own mind or soul. The world is
the whole of phenomenality, meaning that everything that happens in the
world happens to "me" and for "me" - "me" being the "I" that "I am".
Welcome to pantheism.
R.V. Gronoff
2005-12-14 00:57:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander Arnakis
On Tue, 13 Dec 2005 03:24:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by R.V. Gronoff
Since we all are images at the likeness of God who is "I Am the Being",
then the world is not separated from our own mind or soul. The world is
the whole of phenomenality, meaning that everything that happens in the
world happens to "me" and for "me" - "me" being the "I" that "I am".
Welcome to pantheism.
?
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Virez Ahmadinejad pour me répondre.
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Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-14 05:07:09 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 14 Dec 2005 01:57:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by Alexander Arnakis
On Tue, 13 Dec 2005 03:24:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by R.V. Gronoff
Since we all are images at the likeness of God who is "I Am the Being",
then the world is not separated from our own mind or soul. The world is
the whole of phenomenality, meaning that everything that happens in the
world happens to "me" and for "me" - "me" being the "I" that "I am".
Welcome to pantheism.
?
Those are exactly the kinds of things a pantheist would say.
R.V. Gronoff
2005-12-14 12:47:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alexander Arnakis
On Wed, 14 Dec 2005 01:57:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by Alexander Arnakis
On Tue, 13 Dec 2005 03:24:57 +0100, "R.V. Gronoff"
Post by R.V. Gronoff
Since we all are images at the likeness of God who is "I Am the Being",
then the world is not separated from our own mind or soul. The world is
the whole of phenomenality, meaning that everything that happens in the
world happens to "me" and for "me" - "me" being the "I" that "I am".
Welcome to pantheism.
?
Those are exactly the kinds of things a pantheist would say.
You seem to lack some philosophical education.
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-13 02:31:02 UTC
Permalink
In article <***@4ax.com>, Alexander Arnakis
<***@address.none> wrote:

-On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 01:38:38 GMT, ***@yahoo.com.au
-(*Peace of Christ*) wrote:
-
->Pray for the World: 10 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio
->
-*Don't* pray for the world. God knows what He's doing, and all our
-measly prayers do is prove how little faith we have in Him.

Jesus prayed, and taught "us" to pray.

What does that say about Jesus?
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Alexander Arnakis
2005-12-13 22:26:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Jesus prayed, and taught "us" to pray.
What does that say about Jesus?
Jesus recognized prayer as a concession to human weakness. Plus, that
was the generally accepted thing to do in His time and in His milieu.
It would have hurt His credibility if He *hadn't* prayed. But, if you
parse the relevant Biblical passages carefully, you'll see that the
thrust of Jesus' teaching was to *limit* prayer to less than what was
common at the time. Even the Lord's Prayer is mainly reflexive -- it
effectively addresses the one doing the praying, not God. It's mainly
an acknowledgement of God's supremacy. The only thing it specifically
asks for is "our daily bread" -- which is something that usually is
within our own power to provide.
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-13 02:29:38 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 13 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

ATTACK IN PAKISTAN PROMPTS INCREASED SECURITY AT CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

CHRISTIANS SCRAMBLE TO AID PAKISTANI QUAKE VICTIMS AS COLD DESCENDS

CHURCH IN TURKMENISTAN BANNED FROM MEETING IN PUBLIC PLACE

POLL: MAJORITY OF AMERICANS FEEL RELIGION IS 'UNDER ATTACK'

Today's Top Stories:

ATTACK IN PAKISTAN PROMPTS INCREASED SECURITY AT CHRISTIAN SCHOOL

An explosion in a bazaar that killed 12 people and wounded 40 others in
Pakistan Thursday, Dec. 8, has prompted Strategic World Impact (SWI) to
beef up security measures at its nearby Christian school. Terrorists set
off a bomb in a hotel restaurant in Jandola in Pakistan's tribal belt that
borders Afghanistan, destroying nearby weapons shops and other businesses,
said military and civilian officials. SWI's Kevin Turner said the key to
the Christian school's future safety isn't necessarily having more
security, but "having a good rapport with the community. The attacks that
have taken place on our school are not so much by the citizenship, per se,
but there is a madrasa (Islamic school) a few miles down the road, and
this is where all the vitriol comes from." Some 154 students attend the
Christian school. "We have Pakistani teachers who are all Christian, and
we also have families from the West who serve with SWI, teaching at the
school," Turner added. "Of course, these children are getting a chance to
hear the gospel continually." (Mission Network News/The Hindu)

CHRISTIANS SCRAMBLE TO AID PAKISTANI QUAKE VICTIMS AS COLD DESCENDS

Evangelical ministries are hurriedly responding to Operation Winter Race,
a U.N. effort to gather and distribute aid to Pakistan's North-West
Frontier province before snow and ice cut off devastated mountain villages
from transport trucks and helicopters. By mid-November, the U.N. reported
that more than 87,000 people had died with 100,000 injured and 3 million
homeless in some of the world's most rugged terrain.

Len Stitt, director of Shelter Now Pakistan, said an equal number of
people could now perish from illness and exposure to harsh winter weather.
Children are most vulnerable. One evangelical physician working in the
Himalayan foothills said that by early November about 80 area communities
still had not been reached by aid workers. Landslides destroyed roads and
entire villages. Relief-bearing helicopters that could ferry victims to
hospitals had no place to land.

The doctor described rampant misery in makeshift communities. Surgeons
have amputated numerous limbs because many of the victims could not access
healthcare until 10 or more days after the earthquake. Hundreds of
children have been orphaned. (Religion Today/Christianity Today)

CHURCH IN TURKMENISTAN BANNED FROM MEETING IN PUBLIC PLACE

After just four weeks of holding services in a rented hall in Ashgabat,
the capital of the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of
State Security has banned the Greater Grace Protestant church from holding
meetings in a publicly owned premises. "This was the first time we could
meet together as a church for many years," said a church member. "Now
we've had to try to find a private venue." Grace was one of just two
registered Protestant churches that had permission to hold public worship
services in rented facilities in Ashgabat. "In effect, this means they
have to be in remote parts of towns where people will find it hard to
reach them and there may not even be electricity and water supplies," said
another church member. "Moreover, churches can't put up signs declaring
that they are churches." The officials said that registered religious
communities can buy buildings to use as places of worship, provided they
are free-standing, not near schools and kindergartens, and not in
residential or commercial districts. (Forum 18 News Service)

POLL: MAJORITY OF AMERICANS FEEL RELIGION IS 'UNDER ATTACK'

A new survey shows the majority of Americans think religion is "under
attack" and "losing influence" in American life. According to the poll,
"American Attitudes Toward Religion in the Public Square," 64 percent of
800 adults polled agreed with the statement that "religion is under
attack" in the U.S., and 80 percent of those who identify themselves as
evangelical Christians were in agreement. The poll also found 53 percent
of respondents believe that religion is "losing influence" in American
life while 35 percent said it is "increasing influence." Among those who
think religion is losing influence, 60 percent are evangelical Christians,
while 33 percent of that same group said religion is increasing in
influence. (Religion Today/CNSNews.com)
=================
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-14 17:07:11 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 14 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio

Today's Headlines:

HINDU MOB IN INDIA DESECRATES CHURCH, FORCES BELIEVERS TO LEAVE

CHANGES IN IRAN'S GOVERNMENT POSE THREAT TO SATELLITE TV MINISTRY

UPDATE: BELARUS COURT UPHOLDS STATE DECISION TO CONFISCATE CHURCH

FIJIAN PASTOR SAYS ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS RIFTS CONTINUE TO GROW

TIDE OF SECULARISM IN EUROPE BEGINS TO TURN: GERMAN CHURCH LEADER

Today's Top Stories:

HINDU MOB IN INDIA DESECRATES CHURCH, FORCES BELIEVERS TO LEAVE

Gospel for Asia (GFA) President K.P. Yohannan has called for worldwide
prayer for a pastor in northern India's Himachal Pradesh state after Hindu
radicals took over his home and church building the first weekend in
December.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, a group of more than 20 Hindu extremists surrounded
the home of Ramesh Masih Bhatti, pastor of the local Believers Church, and
began conducting Hindu worship rituals. The group included members of the
VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council) and its youth wing,
Bajrang Dal. The mob became increasingly violent, shouting threats against
the believers and brandishing large bamboo sticks. This went on all day
and continued into the next morning.

On Sunday morning a police team arrived at the church at Bhatti's request.
As he and his family were praying, the radicals shouted and danced outside
the church. They also yelled slogans against religious conversion. After
the Christians left, the mob entered the building and declared it a Hindu
temple, writing phrases praising their gods on the church wall and set up
an idol in the courtyard.

Bhatti and his family have been forced to move from the building which was
their home for the past 25 years, and are living with relatives. "Now the
leader of the Hindus in Himachal Pradesh is threatening a massive
village-by-village campaign to force Christians to convert back to
Hinduism," Yohannan wrote. (Assist News Service)

CHANGES IN IRAN'S GOVERNMENT POSE THREAT TO SATELLITE TV MINISTRY

Iran's hard-line government could pose a threat to SAT-7, a Christian
Arabic satellite television ministry, said spokesman Terry Ascott. In
November, under the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian
government fired 40 ambassadors and senior diplomats. They also dismissed
those who promoted ties to Europe. In their place, the government has been
putting Islamic fundamentalists at key posts, including security agencies.
As these governmental changes continue there's a question as to what could
happen to Christians. "As things become more difficult, it's more
embarrassing, if you like, for church leaders to be involved with the
satellite television system," Ascott said. "So yes, it is potentially much
more difficult for us in the days ahead to produce indigenous materials
within the country." (Mission Network News)

UPDATE: BELARUS COURT UPHOLDS STATE DECISION TO CONFISCATE CHURCH

The embattled New Life Church in the Belarusian capital of Minsk has
failed to overturn the state's decision to confiscate its building and
land. In October Economic Court hearings, the church attempted to
challenge the validity of Minsk City Executive Committee's Aug. 17
decision curtailing the church's land rights and ordering the sale of its
building -- a cowshed it purchased in 2002. Ruling against New Life, the
Economic Court claimed that the August decision was valid because the
church had both used the cowshed as a house of worship and modernized it
without obtaining state permission to change the designation of either the
building or its attached land. Because of its lack of state-approved
worship premises, New Life Church has been unable to obtain compulsory
re-registration under the country's 2002 Religion Law. Some other
religious organizations face similar problems. New Life had been using the
cowshed as a last resort since being barred from renting a local house of
culture in September 2004. (Assist News Service)

FIJIAN PASTOR SAYS ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS RIFTS CONTINUE TO GROW

"When the righteous increase . . . the people rejoice; when the wicked
rule, the people groan," said Pastor Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, vice president
of the Association of Christian Churches in Fiji, who spoke at the
Transform World conference in Jakarta last May, attended by 1,000
Christian leaders worldwide. This saying from Proverbs 29:2 is as true on
the Fiji Islands as it is anywhere else in the world, he said. There are
two main population groups on the islands: Indians constitute 43 percent
of the population, native Fijians 52 percent. The Fijians are 99-percent
Christian. The Indians are predominantly Hindu and Muslim. The significant
cultural and religious differences between the two main groups has long
caused an ethnic rift which political declarations mostly strengthened
more than they reduced. (Friday Fax)

TIDE OF SECULARISM IN EUROPE BEGINS TO TURN: GERMAN CHURCH LEADER

Western Europe has been riding on a wave of secularism, but the tide seems
to be turning, says Bishop Wolfgang Huber, leader of the mainline
Protestant Churches in Germany. The past year has seen a resurgence of
interest in religion, fueled by natural catastrophes on the one hand and
major church events on the other. The tsunami in Asia, hurricanes in North
and Central America, earthquakes in Pakistan and India and the threat of
bird flu have aroused new interest in God, said Huber during the general
synod in Berlin last month. Many secular people are asking questions like,
"Are such disasters an expression of God's wrath or of His impotence? Are
they indications that God does not exist, or do they lead us to the point
where we -- in all our helplessness -- seek a foothold in Him?" New
interest in religion was also aroused by the death of Pope John Paul II
and the election of his successor, Benedict XVI. The Catholic World Youth
Day in Cologne, Germany, attracted 1 million participants, and 200,000
people came to the Protestant "Kirchentag" in Hanover. (Assist News
Service)=================
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-15 02:29:59 UTC
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Pray for the World: 15 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

CAR BOMB EXPLODES NEAR CHRISTIAN TV NETWORK'S STUDIOS IN LEBANON

CHRISTIANS IN MYANMAR FACE GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS, FAMINE

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT RELAXES BUILDING REGULATIONS FOR CHURCHES

FIJI'S CHURCHES URGE FORMATION OF BODY TO MONITOR RELIGIOUS SECTS

STUDY: ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF CHURCH CHANGING RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE

Today's Top Stories:

CAR BOMB EXPLODES NEAR CHRISTIAN TV NETWORK'S STUDIOS IN LEBANON

A massive car bomb exploded near a Christian satellite network studio in
Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Dec. 12, killing four people, including Christian
journalist Gebran Tueni who was also a member of the Lebanese parliament.
"We have a studio in Beirut with about 25 employees there," said SAT-7's
David Harder in the Middle East. "As some were on their way to work and
some had already begun their day, a huge explosion went off about 1,000
yards from the studio. It shook it. People inside were very concerned."
While none of their staff members were injured in the blast, one of the
staff members was only about 30 feet from the blast which covered his car
with broken glass. A series of bombings, assassinations and a change in
government have all hit the country hard in the last nine months. Harder
said he does not think SAT-7 was targeted in the bombing. "It just
happened to be in the same area, and there have been many bombs around
there. It's a predominately Christian part of Lebanon, and that's where a
lot of the bombings have been going off lately." (Mission Network News)

CHRISTIANS IN MYANMAR FACE GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS, FAMINE

In Myanmar (Burma) in recent weeks government restrictions on Burmese
Christians have increased, especially in rural areas. Ministry leaders
report closing of house churches, small churches, Bible seminaries and
colleges. Bible schools have been ordered to close down and new schools
are not allowed to be built. Such restrictions come amid an apparent
country-wide tightening of control by Burma's military government.
Christian Aid reports that much trade with foreign countries has been
stopped, and consequently inflation is skyrocketing in this already
poverty-stricken country. In addition, reports are emerging of drought and
famine. One missionary writes, "The rainfall is very irregular this year.
Farmers cannot plant their rice fields. Within this year, we believe, many
people will die of hunger. Diseases are plentiful in rural areas because
of drought and intense heat. Prices of medicines rose fourfold within
months. (Christian Aid Mission)

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT RELAXES BUILDING REGULATIONS FOR CHURCHES

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak eased long-controversial restrictions on
church repair last week. His decree allows churches to implement basic
repairs without waiting for government approval. For major church
renovations, governors must now process requests within 30 days and can
only reject an application by producing detailed reasons for the decision.
However, many Coptic Christians remain skeptical of the decree's vague
wording, as well as its failure to resolve fundamental inequality between
the construction of mosques and churches. "This decree will solve almost
80 percent of our problems: rebuilding old churches," said Safwat
El-Baiady, president of the Protestant Churches of Egypt. "But we have to
be very frank, it doesn't solve all our problems." (Compass)

FIJI'S CHURCHES URGE FORMATION OF BODY TO MONITOR RELIGIOUS SECTS

Fiji's mainstream churches are calling for a watchdog to be set up to
monitor the formation of any new religious sects in the country. It
follows the ban on controversial South Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon,
last week and the recent registration of a cult in the Wainibuka district.
Fiji live reports the Fiji Council of Churches, which has the Methodist
Church, Catholics, Anglicans and six other Christian denominations as its
members, wants the independent body to be set up by the government soon.
The council's general secretary, Rev. Ledua Kacimaiwai, says someone from
the government should be responsible for monitoring the activities of
religious groups. (WorldWide Religious News/ABC News)

STUDY: ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF CHURCH CHANGING RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE

A growing number of Americans no longer view a local church as their
primary religious meeting place. A study by the Barna Group shows that new
forms of religious experience and expression -- such as house churches,
marketplace ministries and cyber-churches -- are becoming the norm for
millions of people. The U.S. has more than 300,000 Protestant
congregations and some 20,000 Catholic parishes that have been the primary
gathering place for Americans for most of the past century, but the new
research shows that more than 50 million adults now practice their faith
through a variety of divergent faith models. Barna discovered that
discontent with congregational churches, changes in lifestyles and a
burgeoning desire to get closer to God have caused many people to seek new
ways of being in community with God and other God-seeking people. In 2000
most of the nation's organized religious activity took place at or through
local churches. Today the action is shifting to newer forms of corporate
religious commitment. The Internet serves as the foundation for
interactive faith experiences for more than one out of every 10 adults,
although most of them use it in tandem with another form of corporate
religious experience. (Religion Today/Barna Group)

=================
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*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-16 16:17:05 UTC
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Pray for the World: 16 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio

Today's Headlines:

29 CHINESE CHRISTIANS ARRESTED FOR HOLDING ILLEGAL CHURCH SERVICE

NIGERIAN PASTOR MAY AGAIN FACE ARREST FOR HARBORING CONVERT

BELARUS GIVES TAX BREAK TO RELIGIOUS GROUPS BEFORE ELECTIONS

NEW BELIEVERS IN KYRGYZSTAN REFLECT PEACE TO MUSLIM NEIGHBORS

Today's Top Stories:

29 CHINESE CHRISTIANS ARRESTED FOR HOLDING ILLEGAL CHURCH SERVICE

Chinese authorities arrested 29 Christians Monday, Dec. 12, for holding an
"illegal religious gathering." The China Aid Association, citing
eyewitness reports, reported that 40 law enforcement officers with eight
police vehicles raided a house church leadership meeting at Xiapigang
village in China's Henan province. Some 100 major church leaders from
Henan and Anhui were gathered at a believer's house, discussing how the
house churches could help a large group of peasants in the area who had
contracted AIDS by blood that had been contaminated with the AIDS virus by
people who sold it to local blood centers. When the 29 leaders were
arrested their private property was confiscated without receipts,
including three motorized bicycles, one cell phone, all of their luggage
and winter blankets. One pastor who was at the raided meeting said police
officers showed a search warrant and said that the meeting was an "illegal
religious gathering." Pastor Shen Yiping, founder of internationally known
house church group called China Gospel Fellowship, as well as the host of
the meeting, Yang Huamin, were among those arrested. (WorldWide Religious
News/WND)

NIGERIAN PASTOR MAY AGAIN FACE ARREST FOR HARBORING CONVERT

Nigerian Pastor Zacheous Habu Bu Ngwenche faces possible police detention
if he fails to produce a convert from Islam abducted from his house by
Muslim militants in September. The 31-year-old pastor of the Foursquare
Gospel Church in Akwanga in central Nigeria's Nasarawa state, was arrested
twice in September for harboring a Muslim who converted to Christianity.
After the second arrest, he spent seven days in a cell in Lafia, the state
capital. Muslim militants pressured police into arresting him the second
time even after officials had confirmed that Bature Suleimanu Idi had not
been coerced into converting to Christianity. "I have now been told to
produce the Muslim convert, even when the police know that it is the
Muslims that abducted Idi," Ngwenche said. Police have told Ngwenche that
if he does not produce Idi before the end of the year, he runs the risk of
going back into detention. Though not a clear majority, Muslims have large
populations in Nasarawa state. Some officials in the state have campaigned
for sharia (Islamic law) to be imposed, as it is in 12 northern states,
but so far without success. (Compass)

BELARUS GIVES TAX BREAK TO RELIGIOUS GROUPS AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

In the run-up to the presidential elections in Belarus (expected next
July), state authorities appear to be seeking the support of religious
organizations by exempting their land and property from tax. In a surprise
concession, a decree signed by President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday,
Dec. 1, exempts religious organizations from land and property tax. Under
the decree, tax-exempt land is that occupied by houses of worship,
"including diocesan offices, monastic complexes and theological schools."
However, some churches face liquidation by court order after they were
denied compulsory re-registration. Vasily Yurevich, administrator of New
Life Church, said the tax break would be of little help to his community
since its property is due to be confiscated by the state authorities.
Although the country's top religious affairs official has rejected recent
U.S. allegations that Belarus restricts religious freedom, some churches
continue to be fined or warned for worshiping in private homes. A new
amendment to the Criminal Code allows the state to imprison participants
in unregistered or liquidated religious organizations for up to two years.
(Forum 18 News Service/mosnews.com)

NEW BELIEVERS IN KYRGYZSTAN REFLECT PEACE TO MUSLIM NEIGHBORS

In a small village at the foot of the Kyrgyz Mountains, hearts are
changing because of an International Bible Society distribution of My
First Bible in Kyrgyz, Russian and English. One family that responded to
the gospel was rejected by their neighbors in the beginning. The Muslim
cleric of the town tried to stir up hatred against the new believers and
even demanded that all contact with them cease. Even so, the testimony of
the family became such that their neighbors couldn't resist the pull of
peace coming from the home. Most families in the culture struggle with
discord and alcoholism, but the neighbors noticed the lack of disharmony
emanating from the home. Their curiosity drew them in and they saw
something different. When neighbors ignored the cleric's order and visited
the house, they could sense a new atmosphere because the peace of Jesus
prevails there. (Mission Network News) =================
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2005-12-17 01:53:39 UTC
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Pray for the World:17 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

VENEZUELAN ORDER TO OUST NEW TRIBES MISSION ALSO AFFECTS MAF

HEAVY SNOWFALL DELAYS GOSPEL FOR ASIA'S RELIEF EFFORTS IN KASHMIR

NEW STUDY SHOWS CHANGING EVANGELICAL VIEWS ON ISLAM SINCE 9/11

CHILDREN'S OUTREACH IN NICARAGUA LAYS FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE

GALLUP POLL: AMERICANS' BELIEF IN GOD REMAINS STRONG

Today's Top Stories:

VENEZUELAN ORDER TO OUST NEW TRIBES MISSION ALSO AFFECTS MAF

After more than 40 years of working in Venezuela, the work of Mission
Aviation Fellowship (MAF) there may come to an end. Last month Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez ordered New Tribes Mission (NTM) out of the tribal
areas of the country. That order will also affect MAF, said Dave Fyock,
the ministry's Latin America director. "Last Thursday I read something
from the Ministry of Defense which clearly indicated that they lumped Alas
de Socorro (Wings of Help) -- which is the name that we use in Venezuela
-- in with New Tribes Mission." Fyock says not all the news is bad. "With
the Yanomami Indians, for example, more have come to know the Lord in the
last three years than in all of the 50 previous years. We believe we'll
continue to see God work in spite of the fact that missionaries may not be
able to live in those areas." NTM is appealing the government's decision
but there's no word on when those arguments will be heard by the court. If
nothing is done, these missionaries will have to leave the region sometime
in February. (Mission Network News)

HEAVY SNOWFALL DELAYS GOSPEL FOR ASIA'S RELIEF EFFORTS IN KASHMIR

Permanent shelters being built by Gospel for Asia (GFA) for those affected
by the earthquake in Kashmir has been delayed until April due to heavy
snowfall. A GFA Compassion Services relief team is planning on
constructing 25 to 30 houses for the families left homeless by the Oct. 8
earthquake that left tens of thousands dead and up to 3 million without
shelter. Many survivors are living in temporary shelters provided by the
government.

GFA has been providing relief services to the Kashmir region since the
earthquake hit. A team spent eight days distributing food, medical
treatment and blankets to the needy. They also handed out several tracts
and New Testaments, all of which were well received. After returning to
Jammu, another team traveled to Kashmir with fresh supplies. GFA's state
leader and his small team attempted to get permission to construct
permanent housing for the homeless victims of that region, but were not
granted permission to reenter Kashmir until April due to heavy snowfall.

As the winter months approach, those living near the Himalayan Mountains
are in danger of freezing to death without proper living conditions.
Although the situation appears bleak, many have received food supplies of
rice and lentils. Helicopters have brought food into the region through
sling operations. (Religion Today/Gospel for Asia)

NEW STUDY SHOWS CHANGING EVANGELICAL VIEWS ON ISLAM SINCE 9/11

After the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the U.S., evangelical leaders emerged
as the strongest critics and even antagonists of Islam. Numerous surveys
have found evangelicals in general to have more negative views on Islam
than other Americans. This rhetoric is reflected in evangelical books and
articles that have been published in the last decade, but particularly
since 9/11. A new study by Richard Cimino, editor of Religion Watch
newsletter, finds that this discourse sheds as much light on how
evangelicals view the challenges of pluralism and relativism in American
society as it does about their views on Islam. The study, called "No God
In Common: American Evangelical Discourse on Islam After 9/11," is
published in the December issue of the Review of Religious Research.
Through conducting an analysis of popular evangelical books published
before and after 9/11, the study finds that most of the post-9/11
literature draws sharper distinctions between Islam and Christianity as
well as asserting that Islam is essentially violent. This polemic against
Islam takes three forms: evangelical apologetics to prove the truth of
Christianity against Islam; prophetic literature linking Islam as the main
protagonist in end-times scenarios; and charismatic literature applying
"spiritual warfare" teachings to Islam. (Religion Today/Religion News
Service)

CHILDREN'S OUTREACH IN NICARAGUA LAYS FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE

Bible Pathway Ministries' has found that Nicaragua's public schools are a
wide-open door to spread the gospel. Karen Hawkins says the ministry's
Nicaragua team recently distributed literature in the country's public
schools this year, sharing the gospel with some 8,000 students. Hawkins
said the results were even greater than team members anticipated. "Out of
the 8,000 children, 6,474 accepted the Lord this school year!" Plans are
being made to triple the scope of the ministry, depending on funding. "Can
you imagine what's going to happen if these children grow up in the
Christian faith, how it's going to change their city? A country is not
going to be changed unless the people's hearts change. You start with
these children, and you bring them up in the faith, and you are going to
mold what's going to happen in the country." (Mission Network News)

GALLUP POLL: AMERICANS' BELIEF IN GOD REMAINS STRONG

A Gallup survey released Wednesday, Dec. 14, finds that four decades after
the "God is dead" controversy was first noted, Americans retain a strong
belief in a higher power. Some 94 percent think God exists. Only 5 percent
feel God "does not exist" -- and even most of them "are not sure" of that.
One percent said they are certain there is no God. But how strongly do the
believers believe? Nearly eight in 10 say they are "convinced" God exists,
although Gallup does not ask them why. Conservatives are more likely than
liberals (87 percent vs. 61 percent), women are more likely than men (82
percent vs. 73 percent), and residents of the South more than those in the
East (88 percent vs. 70 percent) are convinced of God's existence. Some 61
percent of those who seldom or never attend church are nevertheless
convinced that God exists. The poll sampled 1,002 adults nationwide Nov.
17-20. (Religion Today/Editor and Publisher)
=================
Post by *Peace of Christ*
16 December 2005
PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS FAST AND PRAY FOR REPEAL OF BLASPHEMY LAW
Churches in Pakistan will observe Tuesday 20th December as day of fasting
and prayer for the repeal of the country¹s much-feared ³blasphemy law².
This legislation, introduced in 1986, has created an atmosphere of
insecurity and intimidation, as the law hangs over the Christians like a
³sword of Damocles².
The so-called ³blasphemy law² is found in Section 295 of the Pakistan
Penal
Code. There are four parts to the law, only two of which cause problems
for Christians.
The non-problematical parts are 295 and 295-A. These deal respectively
with defiling places of worship or sacred objects and with outraging the
religious feelings of others. The offence must be intentional or
deliberate, and the maximum sentence is two years for 295 or ten years for
295-A, with the option of a fine as well or instead.
The parts of the law which cause difficulties for Christians are 295-B
which was added in 1982 and 295-C which was added in 1986. Both these
parts protect only Islam, rather than all religions. Section 295-C omits
any requirement for the offence to be committed deliberately.
Section 295-B covers defiling, damaging or desecrating a copy of the
Qur¹an, which is to be punished with life imprisonment. Section 295-C is
concerned with defiling the name of Muhammad, a crime which was at first
punishable by death or by life imprisonment. In 1991 the life
imprisonment
option was removed, leaving a mandatory death sentence.
HOW THE LAW IS ABUSED
Section 295-C is the most easily abused of all. The offence can be merely
spoken, and there is no need to prove intent. Although there is a
mandatory death sentence, there is no penalty for false accusation. So,
unsurprisingly, numerous cases have been registered under this section,
against Christians, Muslims and Ahmadiyyas. Almost all have turned out to
be malicious accusations made by someone with a personal grudge against
the
accused.
WHY CHRISTIANS ARE MORE VULNERABLE
While both Christians and Muslims suffer from accusations under 295-C,
Christians are much more vulnerable because there is a tendency for both
police and judiciary to give greater weight to the testimony of Muslim
witnesses than that of Christian witnesses. Cases under 295-C are often a
matter of one person¹s word against another concerning a purported
conversation in the past. So if the accuser is a Muslim and the accused a
Christian there tends to be a bias in favour of the accuser.
Other problems which face Christians accused under the ³blasphemy law²
include the fact that zealous Muslims often feel they have a religious
duty
to make sure that the accused is killed, no matter what the legal
authorities decide. Several Christians have been murdered in this way.
(A judge was also murdered, apparently for acquitting a Christian.) Even
if officially found ³not guilty², a Christian who has been accused of
blasphemy can never return home because their life will be in danger.
Furthermore, there is a growing tendency for Muslim mobs to target not
just
the accused Christian individual but the whole of the local Christian
community. This was seen most recently in the riots at Sangla Hill,
Punjab, on 12th November 2005.
CAN IT BE CHANGED?
Various Pakistani governments have attempted to introduce amendments to
Section 295 to make it less easily abused, but intimidation from Islamists
has led to any substantive changes being abandoned.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, explains the
reason why so many Pakistani Muslims will not allow this law to be
changed.
³South Asian Islam places huge emphasis on the veneration of the person of
Muhammad. This is why feelings run so high about the ³blasphemy law², and
it is so difficult to change this powerful weapon against Christians.
There are calls for the introduction of such a law in Bangladesh as well.
In the UK, where a large proportion of the Muslim community have their
roots in South Asia, some Muslim leaders have indicated that they hope the
proposed law on incitement to religious hatred will function as a
blasphemy
law to protect Muhammad, just like Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal
Code.²
PRAYER ITEMS
* Join with the Christians of Pakistan as they pray and fast on Tuesday.
Pray for the repeal of Sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal
Code.
Pray for courage for law-makers, judges and police, all of whom face
threats of violence from Muslim extremists if they do anything to protect
innocent Christians accused of blasphemy.
* Pray for all who have been maliciously accused under this law,
remembering especially those who have had to leave their homes never to
return. Pray for the Christian communities whose property has been
destroyed by Muslim rioters in the wake of blasphemy accusations. Pray
for
those who mourn for Christian loved ones who have been murdered by zealous
Muslims after false accusations of blasphemy.
BARNABAS FUND E-MAIL NEWS SERVICE
Barnabas Fund¹s e-mail news service provides the media and our supporters
with urgent news briefs concerning suffering Christians around the world.
If you would like to receive news briefs from the Barnabas Fund please
contact us with your name, postal and e-mail addresses.
Further details, quotes and photos on this and other stories may be
available
for news editors on request.
Barnabas Fund works to support Christian communities mainly, but not
exclusively, in the Islamic world where they are facing poverty and
persecution.
Barnabas Fund, www.barnabasfund.org
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-22 17:00:24 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World:22 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:


ARSONISTS CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO CHURCH IN INDONESIA

MILITANTS THREATEN TO ERADICATE CHRISTIANITY IN VILLAGE OF INDIA

INDIA'S LOWEST CLASS HELPS SPREAD GOSPEL TO THE HIGHEST CLASS

BELIEVERS URGED TO KEEP PRAYING AS PERSECUTION INCREASES WORLDWIDE

STUDY: FAITH-BASED PROGRAMS REDUCE INMATE VIOLENCE IN U.S.

Today's Top Stories:

ARSONISTS CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO CHURCH IN INDONESIA

Unknown attackers set fire to the Beth Eden Protestant Church in Manado,
Indonesia, on the night of Thursday, Dec. 8. There were no injuries even
though Pastor Stephen Liow and his family were living in the building
which received extensive damage. Liow told Asia News that he had been
receiving anonymous calls in the past few months from people threatening
to burn down the church building. The Christmas season in Indonesia has
often been a time of suffering for Christians who are targeted by Islamic
militants. Due to the heightened threat of terrorism, thousands of police
officers have been put on alert. A police spokesman said, "Churches and
other worship buildings have become our top security priority along with
entertainment centers and shopping compounds." (Voice of the Martyrs)

MILITANTS THREATEN TO ERADICATE CHRISTIANITY IN VILLAGE OF INDIA

Tensions remained high Tuesday, Dec. 20, in a village of western India's
Maharashtra state where an angry mob attacked Christian converts in a
campaign to "eradicate Christianity," investigators said. The Washington,
D.C.-based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC),
reported that an attack in the village of Bivsi Dabhadi Saturday, Dec. 10,
was the second in as many months. "The village head [wants] to eradicate
Christianity from the village," ICC said. In the latest violence, four
villagers, including the village head, tried to attack a convert
identified as Dhakya Laksya Bhavar. "The attackers came with sticks,
stones and sickles to beat the convert, but he managed to escape."
Although Bhavar "promptly lodged a police complaint," the police had not
arrested any of the attackers. (Religion Today/BosNewsLife)

INDIA'S LOWEST CLASS HELPS SPREAD GOSPEL TO THE HIGHEST CLASS

Bibles for the World is reaching India's leaders with the gospel through
the countries most oppressed class. The majority of people coming to
Christ in India are from the Dalit caste, the lowest caste of society. The
country's 300 million Dalits are often known as "untouchables." Bibles for
the World is mailing Bibles that are going into the homes of doctors,
lawyers and business people that missionaries can't reach. The blessing is
that new Dalit believers are doing the work. "Our native evangelists and
pastors are making disciples of these new believers," said Mawii Pudaite
of Bibles for the World. "When we bring them together they also have the
opportunity to have an hour or more as needed to teach them the Word of
God. And then, they in turn go home and tell their families and start a
little house church. .. .
. Isn't it interesting the untouchable outcasts, whom they can't even
employ inside their homes are now wrapping these Bibles for the elite."
(Mission Network News)

BELIEVERS URGED TO KEEP PRAYING AS PERSECUTION INCREASES WORLDWIDE

Open Doors USA is celebrating 50 years of ministry by encouraging
believers to acknowledge the persecution of brothers and sisters who are
being tortured, imprisoned and even killed for their belief in Jesus
Christ as well as those who are suffering from natural disasters.

The ministry has launched an ongoing Prayer Campaign for North Korea as a
result of the estimated 400,000 Christians in North Korea facing daily
persecution, including torture in prison camps which put the country at
the top of Open Doors' 2005 World Watch List of countries where
persecution is most severe for the third consecutive year.

In Indonesia, Christians were killed and churches burned. Three Christian
women (Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun) were arrested for
running a "Happy Sunday" program for children. Muslim fundamentalists
protested that they were proselytizing Muslim children and as a result the
three were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.

In the East African country of Eritrea, 26 pastors and 1,700 evangelical
church members are imprisoned and some have been tortured by government
military forces. That's double the total imprisoned from a year ago. Open
Doors responded to the increased persecution by launching an E-Petition
Campaign for Eritrea which urges the U.S. Congress and the Department of
State to work to put a stop to the persecution.

In response to the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami in Southeast Asia, Open Doors
launched a $2-million relief campaign called "Wave of Hope" to support and
strengthen partner churches in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. In the past
year Open Doors brought hope in the midst of suffering by providing
shelter, rebuilding churches, trauma counseling, funding livelihood
projects and replacing lost Bibles and study materials. The ministry also
sent emergency aid to Pakistan which suffered from a devastating
earthquake on Oct. 8. (Assist News Service)

STUDY: FAITH-BASED PROGRAMS REDUCE INMATE VIOLENCE IN U.S.

And independent study of inmates at Mississippi State Penitentiary
concludes that religion can reduce the incidence of antisocial behavior in
prison, making faith-based programs an attractive alternative to expensive
correctional treatment. The study, published in the Journal of the
Scientific Study of Religion, reports that believing in a higher power,
attending worship services regularly and participating in faith-based
prison programs directly reduces inmate arguments that typically result in
fights. Studies have also shown that treatment programs focusing on
literacy, general equivalency diplomas and college training, and recovery
from substance abuse are promising, but are expensive in comparison to
faith-based programs. (Religion Today/Washington Times)

~~

Today's Headlines:



KYRGYZSTAN GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS GRIP ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM



INDONESIAN OFFICIALS TO REVISE LAW REGULATING PLACES OF WORSHIP



POLICE IN INDONESIA URGE CHURCHES TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS ATTACKS



FIRST CHRISTIAN JOURNALISM COURSE OF ITS KIND LAUNCHED IN U.K.



PAKISTANI BELIEVERS HOLD DAY TO PROTEST ATTACK BY MUSLIM MOB



Today's Top Stories:



KYRGYZSTAN GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS GRIP ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The government of Kyrgyzstan is tightening its grip on religious freedom
since a successful coup in March, and Bridge International reports that
Christians are ready for the change. "There is a lot of pressure on the
Christian leaders," said Bridge spokesperson R.K. Ulrich. "There is a
risk by a large group, by the Muslims [and even the] Orthodox Church to
see that the evangelical church is muzzled." Ulrich recently returned
from the region, and she says the church is ready. "They are not at all
discouraged. They're just bracing for the fact that, yes, it's going to
be tougher. They're training their people for the fact that they're going
to have to stand up and be counted." Ulrich says if pressure is put on
the church, it will only grow. "You've seen that historically that when
there is a lot of pressure coming from the outside coming on the church,
it will grow." (Mission Network News)





INDONESIAN OFFICIALS TO REVISE LAW REGULATING PLACES OF WORSHIP

Following the closure of scores of churches in the past two years, the
Indonesian government is revising a controversial law that regulates
places of worship. But Christian leaders fear the changes would do little
to keep Muslim communities from blocking or shutting down churches. The
original 1969 decree requires all religious groups to apply for permits
before setting up a place of worship. Neighbors in the immediate vicinity
of a proposed church, mosque or Hindu temple must give their consent
before a permit is granted. Under proposed revisions, community members
would be given even greater power to determine whether a church could be
established as an "inter-faith forum," mirroring the religious make-up of
the village and province, before it could get approval to apply for a
permit. "If it comes down to a vote, Muslim leaders will influence others
to vote against churches," warned Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a
spokesman for the Indonesian Bishops' Council. (Compass)





POLICE IN INDONESIA URGE CHURCHES TO PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS ATTACKS

Police have urged churches in and around the Indonesian city of Solo to
dig holes for disposing of suspicious objects that might be bombs, an
officer said amid fears of Christmas-related attacks. Police across the
world's most populous Muslim country have been stepping up security
measures ahead of the yearend holidays to avoid a repeat of 2000
Christmas Eve bombings of churches in several Indonesian cities which
killed 19 people. "I urged churches, especially those in villages, to dig
holes to throw away suspicious objects that might be bombs," Solo Police
Chief Abdul Madjid told Reuters. For inner city churches with nowhere to
dig, "I order them to make bomb baskets," he said, referring to large
metal drums the police bomb squad uses for defusing explosives. "This is
an anticipatory act. Who knows; there might be a pack of bombs," Madjid
said. Officers had been assigned to guard more than 60 churches in the
city, and priests were asked to tell congregations to bring only
"essential items" to Christmas events such as Bibles and hymnbooks, and
not carry backpacks, he said. (WorldWide Religious News/Reuters)



FIRST CHRISTIAN JOURNALISM COURSE OF ITS KIND LAUNCHED IN U.K.

With the aim to equip Christian believers to make an impact in the
secular media, the first Christian journalism course of its kind in the
U.K. has been launched. Set up by Cleland Thom Journalism Training
Services, the coursework is done online with full tutorial support and
carries with it the National Council for the Training of Journalists'
qualification. The course leads to the National Council for the Training
of Journalists qualifications and will enable those who take the course
to follow God's call into a career in journalism. "That could be on a
local paper, or even a national one. Or you could end up working on a
magazine, radio station or a website. Or working for yourself as a
freelance, or for the Christian press," said Thom in a website report.
The course usually takes about one year to complete. Cleland Thom has
been a journalist for more than 30 years and is a member of the Society
of Editors. He trains staff at The Manchester Evening News, The Liverpool
Post and Echo, The Birmingham Post and Mail, and many other media
outlets. (Assist News Service)



PAKISTANI BELIEVERS HOLD DAY TO PROTEST ATTACK BY MUSLIM MOB

Pakistani believers are observing a day of "Protest, Prayers and Fasting"
today, signifying the completion of 40 days of mourning for the recent
tragedies in the Punjabi town of Sangla Hill when announcements were made
in mosques urging Muslims to attack Christians.



"This day [is being] observed to condemn the lawlessness and intolerance
in the name of religion and the callous attitude of authorities for not
arresting the real culprits, " said Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman of the All
Pakistan Minorities Alliance in a news release.



The incidents revolved around a Christian man, Yousaf Masih, who was
falsely accused of desecrating the Koran. Following the urging of local
Islamic leaders, a mob of approximately 5,000 Muslims attacked Christians
with weapons, gasoline, flammable chemicals, sticks and batons.



At the insistence of a variety of Sangla Hill's community leaders, an
official finally visited the site of the incident six days after it
occurred. He promised to launch an immediate official inquiry into what
happened.



Christians living in Sangla Hill are concerned because of the ongoing
atmosphere of fear and insecurity. "Discriminatory laws such as blasphemy
laws, a major tool for creating disharmony should be repealed, and
reconciliation efforts between people of different faith should be made
to eliminate violence in the name of religion," Bhatti said. (Religion
Today/Assist News Service)


~~~

Today's Headlines:



TURKMENISTAN AUTHORITIES RAID BAPTIST CHURCH, QUESTION 7 MEMBERS



SWEDEN'S HIGHEST COURT ACQUITS PASTOR OF HATE SPEECH



UPDATE: CONVICTED PASTOR, RELATIVES GRANTED SECOND TRIAL IN CHINA



CHRISTIANS IN NEPAL FACE ONGOING DANGER IN SPITE OF CEASE-FIRE



SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO LAUNCHES CHRISTIAN TALK CHANNEL



Today's Top Stories:



TURKMENISTAN AUTHORITIES RAID BAPTIST CHURCH, QUESTION 7 MEMBERS



Baptists in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan continue to face
pressure from authorities. On Saturday, Dec. 17, officials with the
Ministry of State Security (secret police) entered a meeting of the
Turkmen-speaking registered Baptist church in Deynau in the northeastern
Lebap region. Seven church members were holding a house group meeting
when a police officer, a public prosecutor and a local imam raided the
house of a recent convert to Christianity. During the raid, the secret
police officer and prosecutor started shouting and threatening the
Christians and began searching the house (without a search warrant) for
religious literature. Two Christians had their personal Bibles
confiscated. Later the seven congregants were taken to the public
prosecutor's office where they were again threatened and insulted.
Officials told the Baptists that local authorities should hold public
meetings in villages to name Christians and denounce them as traitors.
The officials also threatened one woman with expulsion from her rented
apartment. The detainees were forced to justify their actions in writing
before being released. (Forum 18 News Service)





SWEDEN'S HIGHEST COURT ACQUITS PASTOR OF HATE SPEECH



The Swedish Supreme Court, in a unanimous, precedent-setting decision,
Tuesday, Nov. 29, acquitted Pastor Ake Green of charges of "hate speech"
arising from a sermon he preached in July 2003 denouncing homosexual
behaviors, reported the Lawyers Christian Fellowship in London. Green was
initially convicted under Sweden's hate crimes law, enacted in 2003,
which makes illegal any expressions of "disrespect" or "incitement
towards a group of people," including groups with "sexual inclinations."
Green had been convicted and sentenced by a lower court in 2004. In a
16-page ruling, the Supreme Court said his sermon was protected by
freedom of speech and religion under the European Convention on Human
Rights. "We believe that it is probable that a conviction against Pastor
Green would not hold up in the European Court of Justice," said Supreme
Court Justice Johan Munck. The Lawyers Christian Fellowship said the
decision to acquit Green is "very positive, setting a standard for the
right to religious freedom and right to freedom of expression." (Assist
News Service)



UPDATE: CONVICTED PASTOR, RELATIVES GRANTED SECOND TRIAL IN CHINA



Pastor Cai Zhuohua and two other Christian relatives who were found
guilty in a Chinese court Tuesday, Nov. 8, of "illegal business
practices" were summoned to appear at a second trial on Wednesday, Nov.
30. Reasons for granting the second trial are still obscure. A fourth
member of the family, Hu Jinyun, was also asked to appear, although she
escaped sentencing in the first trial. A new verdict is expected on
Tuesday, Dec. 20, reported the China Aid Association (CAA). Charges
against Cai, his wife, Xiao Yunfei, and her brother, Xiao Gaowen, were
filed after public security officials raided a warehouse containing more
than 237,000 copies of the Bible and other religious publications in
September 2004. During the first trial, defense lawyers argued that the
books were printed for free distribution throughout house church networks
and should not be considered a "profit-making" venture as alleged by the
government. The judge rejected these arguments and sentenced Cai to three
years in prison, his wife to two years and her brother to 18 months. A
key source told CAA that members of the State Security Bureau and Public
Security Bureau interrogated Cai almost 90 times from September 2004 to
October 2005. These interrogation sessions were often held at midnight.
(Compass)



CHRISTIANS IN NEPAL FACE ONGOING DANGER IN SPITE OF CEASE-FIRE



Maoist rebels have extended a unilateral cease-fire in Nepal, hoping this
will allow for negotiations in the 10-year-old conflict in the Himalayan
nation. Despite the cease-fire, government forces have continued to
fight, causing problems for national Christians, says Rody Rodeheaver of
IN Network. "Many of our people are right in the middle of where the
government and Maoist guerrillas are engaged," he said. "So it's been a
very difficult time for them. It's curtailed a lot of their movements."
Rodeheaver says some Christians have been accused of being spies and have
been killed by both sides. Despite the violence, the Christians are
focused. "In the midst of all of this they are working diligently to
share the gospel in any way they can," he said. "It's a great opportunity
because in times like this people ask the hard questions that are
answered by the truth of the gospel and so our people are willing to be
there and share." (Mission Network News)



SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO LAUNCHES CHRISTIAN TALK CHANNEL



A new Christian Talk channel featuring FamilyNet programming has been
launched. FamilyNet, the broadcast arm of the Southern Baptist
Convention, and SIRIUS Satellite announced that they have launched
Christian Talk exclusively on SIRIUS. The new channel airs FamilyNet's
most popular programs, including preaching from some of the nation's top
pastors, innovative radio-specific programs, and leading evangelical
talk personalities. Christian Talk is the companion to SIRIUS' Christian
music programming. "It is a goal for SIRIUS to offer the most
comprehensive Christian programming," said Scott Greenstein, president of
SIRIUS Entertainment and Sports. "We welcome FamilyNet's popular talk
programming as the perfect complement to our Christian music offerings."
(Assist News Service)
=================
--
*Peace of Christ*
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To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-23 02:39:51 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 23 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

FATHER OF MURDERED PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN REQUESTS POLICE PROTECTION

GROWTH OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN MEXICO DRAWS BACKLASH

RENEWED RELIGIOUS REPRESSION IN RUSSIA REMINISCENT OF EARLIER ERA

MINISTRY TO HAND OUT 10,000 BIBLES ON RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS

FATHER OF MURDERED PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN REQUESTS POLICE PROTECTION

The father of a Pakistani Christian tortured to death by Muslim seminary
students in 2004 has requested police protection after receiving death
threats for refusing to drop charges against his son's attackers. Pervez
Masih and his lawyer appealed to Judge Mohammed Javed Iqbal for protection
from radical Muslim clerics at a hearing Thursday, Dec. 15, in the Punjabi
town of Toba Tek Singh. Islamists have stepped up pressure on Masih since
the re-arrest last month of Maulvi Ghulam Rasool, charged with torturing
Javed Anjum to death for refusing to convert to Islam. Members of a
radical Islamic group have targeted Masih and his lawyer three times in
the past three weeks. On each occasion small crowds of 50 clerics armed
with pistols gathered outside the courtroom, yelling that they would not
"spare the lives of liars," and jostling the plaintiff as he exited trial
hearings. (Compass)

GROWTH OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES IN MEXICO DRAWS BACKLASH

While freedom of religion is guaranteed by Mexico's constitution, the
steady growth of evangelical congregations has produced a backlash among
the country's Catholic majority. Some Catholic lay leaders are using their
control of local communal assemblies to enforce religious traditions. In
San Nicolas, angry Catholics recently used a backhoe to cut off Nicolasa
Vargas' water after she and her husband were absent from the fiesta
honoring the village's patron saint. In Chiapas, evangelical leaders say
Mayan Catholics have forced thousands of families from their homes.
Guillermo Cano wouldn't help pay for music at the San Nicolas fiesta or
partake of the food or drink, saying all that was against his religion.
When he and other Pentecostal Christians bought land for a new church,
local Catholic leaders blocked the road to the property with a bulldozer.
Catholicism has defined life for centuries in countless villages across
Mexico. Nine out of 10 Mexicans are Catholic, but the number of
non-Catholics has increased in every census since 1970. (Religion
Today/Los Angeles Times)

RENEWED RELIGIOUS REPRESSION IN RUSSIA REMINISCENT OF EARLIER ERA

Russia is experiencing a resurgence of religious repression similar to
that of an earlier period in the country's history, said Isabel Du Toit,
head of the prayer ministry of TBN and the Association of Christian
Churches in Russia, in an e-mail report. "Our country, Russia, is
experiencing a very difficult time now," she wrote. "In many respects it
is very similar to the 1920-1930 period in Russian history. During that
time the [secret police] were trying to destroy churches in Russia. Their
main tactic was to divide churches through special agents inside the
churches and to slander leaders of the churches. Today we face a new wave
of slander against Christian leaders in Russia. . . . There are waves of
gossip to discredit Russia's main Christian leaders." In a resolution, the
U.S. Congress recently urged the Russian Federation to ensure full
protection of freedoms for all religious communities without distinction
and end the harassment of unregistered religious groups by the security
apparatus and other governmental agencies. (Assist News Service)



MINISTRY TO HAND OUT 10,000 BIBLES ON RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS

Churches in North America are partnering with churches in the former
Soviet Union to reach out to children on the Russian Orthodox Church
Christmas which it will celebrate on Sunday, Jan. 7, based on the old
Julian calendar. Joel Griffith of the Slavic Gospel Association says the
ministry will hold its Immanuel's Child program. "This year it is going to
be taking place in 10 locations in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Armenia, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan," he said. "We're also going to be
having an Immanuel Child outreach in the city of Beslan, Russia." Churches
in North America raised money, enabling local churches to hand out
presents, candy and God's Word to nearly 10,000 children. Griffith says
government approval for this kind of work will vary. "For instance,
Ukraine is probably one of the freest places for ministry for evangelical
churches, but then you go to a place like Turkmenistan, heavily Muslim in
nature, and it's very, very, very difficult to work there." (Mission
Network News)
=================
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*Peace of Christ*
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To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-24 01:49:17 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 24 December 2005 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO EXONERATE 400,000 SHOEBOX GIFTS

TURKEY'S BID TO JOIN EUROPEAN UNION BOOSTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS

WORLD VISION NAMED TOP PROVIDER OF EMERGENCY RELIEF AFTER TSUNAMI

SURVEY: ONE-THIRD OF SCOTTISH CLERGY BELIEVE IN LITERAL HELL

AMERICANS OVERCOME 'COMPASSION EXHAUSTION,' CONTINUE TO GIVE

Today's Top Stories:

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO EXONERATE 400,000 SHOEBOX GIFTS

Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse which
distributed more than 4 million shoebox gifts in Russia alone in the last
five years, won't be able to do the same this year.

Mark Schroeder, international field ministries manager for Operation
Christmas Child, said Russia's Humanitarian Aid Committee refused to
exonerate 400,000 shoebox gifts that the ministry had planned to hand out
to needy children in Russia. "They would be viewed as commercial goods and
would be taxable," he said. "As a result, we have reallocated the
shoeboxes to other countries."

Operation Christmas Child has worked with Russian Ministries to help with
the distribution in the past. However, Russian Ministries Vice President
Sergey Rakhuba said the organization will still help out some of the
poorest children with its own Russian-based program called Box of Hope.

The ministry is raising funds to provide 5,000 boxes for orphans this
Christmas. "We decided to encourage Russian Christians to help pack these
boxes" he said. "We'll simply go ahead and buy these gifts in Russia."

Rakhuba said the shoebox gifts have been the ministry's most effective
child evangelism tool. "They build relationships," he said. "They help
open the doors to families that were not open to Christianity before.
Thousands of those children who received boxes [in previous years] made
decisions for Christ. Tens of thousands . . . came to Sunday school, and
many came to summer camps where they heard more about Jesus." (Samaritan's
Purse/Mission Network News)

TURKEY'S BID TO JOIN EUROPEAN UNION BOOSTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS

Turkey's desire to join the European Union is allowing evangelical
Christians a bit more freedom, says IN Network's Rody Rodeheaver. "Because
of Turkey's interest in being a part of the EU, it's opening up to
religious diversity . . . because they're under the microscope of the
European Union. So this has helped the church. It gives an opportunity for
Christians to take a stand, to begin to put into place ministry projects
and to work with people in a way that I believe will give a new birth to
the land of Turkey." That doesn't mean there aren't threats to the
believers' efforts. Rodeheaver adds, "The dangers in Turkey, at this
point, are more from the hard-line fundamentalists. Many of them are in
opposition to their government's desire to be more of a secular Western
nation." An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 evangelicals live in Turkey. (Mission
Network News)

WORLD VISION NAMED TOP PROVIDER OF EMERGENCY RELIEF AFTER TSUNAMI

World Vision has been named as the top provider of emergency aid in
Indonesia following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean
Dec. 26, 2004, according to a recent study done by Fritz Institute. World
Vision was also one of the top aid providers in India. The study showed
that the recipients of aid considered international relief organizations
to be superior to government and local relief groups. (Mission Network
News)

SURVEY: ONE-THIRD OF SCOTTISH CLERGY BELIEVE IN LITERAL HELL

Even though the concept of hell as a literal place has declined in an
increasingly secular world, more than a third of Scotland's clergy still
believe in the existence of hell as a literal place. This was one result
of a recent survey conducted by Dr. Eric Stoddart of St. Andrews
University. A former Baptist minister, Stoddart says he no longer believes
in hell in the sense of a future destination. He canvassed 750 clergy from
a wide variety of denominations to find out what they thought constituted
a modern hell. The survey showed belief in hell appears to follow
geographical boundaries. Social commentators said the continuing strength
of the literal belief among ministers in modern Scotland reflected the
rise of religious fundamentalism across the world. Stoddart commented on
his findings, "I can understand that after death there might be some who
think there are others who won't get into heaven. They just won't exist.
But for others to think there is really mental and physical torment came
as a shock to me." (Religion Today/The Scotsman)

AMERICANS OVERCOME 'COMPASSION EXHAUSTION,' CONTINUE TO GIVE

Americans are generous people when it comes to donating money and time
following crises. Donations to survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita,
the 9/11 attacks and last year's tsunami have reached almost $6 billion.
Despite the talk of "compassion exhaustion," Americans from all walks of
life continue to donate, even well into the holiday season. Helping to
feed the fire of giving is a new breed of philanthropists -- Generation Y.
They have grown up appreciating their good fortune in a world they see
vividly each day where television and Internet images convey a sense of
urgency which often translates into rapid donations. "We have every reason
to believe that the percentage of change in charitable giving will outpace
that of the gross domestic product, yielding a positive environment for
capital campaigns to begin and to continue," said Richard Blackmon,
president of RSI
Institutional Services Group. In 2004 about 83 percent of U.S adults
donated to one or more nonprofit organizations, but the average pretax
contribution of 3.2 percent of income shows that Americans could give much
more. Americans, for example, spend $23.5 billion a year on candy and gum
and $40 billion a year on weight loss. (Religion Today/Religion News
Service)




=================
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Pray for the World: 7 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

DEADLY BOMBING IN INDONESIA MAY HAVE TARGETED CHRISTIANS

ERITREAN SECURITY POLICE ARREST LEADERS FROM 5 'BANNED' CHURCHES

MOB ATTACKS CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE IN SRI LANKA, INJURING 4 PEOPLE

VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS DETAIN, DEPORT PASTOR VISITING FROM U.S.

INCREASED AVAILABILITY OF PORNOGRAPHY POSES THREAT TO CHURCHES

Today's Top Stories:

DEADLY BOMBING IN INDONESIA MAY HAVE TARGETED CHRISTIANS

A marketplace bomb blast in Palu, Indonesia, killed eight people and
injured 56 others on New Year's Eve, reported Glenn Penner of Voice of the
Martyrs Canada. Authorities say two shrapnel bombs were placed in key
areas meant to target a specific group of people. The bomb exploded in a
marketplace in a Christian area at 6:30 a.m. as residents were buying pork
for their festive meals. Pork is offensive to Muslims, and the bombing of
what locals call a "Christian market" where the meat is sold may point to
Islamic terrorists. Indonesian authorities have widely condemned the
attack, and there have been a series of arrests. Despite the attack,
Christians are "continuing to move forward," Penner said. "They're
continuing to try to reach their neighbors for Christ." There was concern
that the surrounding communities would retaliate against local Muslims,
but so far that hasn't happened. Human rights groups immediately called
for an independent investigation, but the government responded with the
new Security Operation Command with plans to send 1,100 police
reinforcements and an unspecified number of soldiers to Poso and Palu.
(Mission Network News/Compass)


ERITREAN SECURITY POLICE ARREST LEADERS FROM 5 'BANNED' CHURCHES

At least 40 pastors, elders and leading laymen from five banned Protestant
churches in the East African country of Eritrea were arrested in their
homes or offices in late 2005 and early 2006. Starting early on the
morning of Tuesday, Dec. 22, security police began tracking down leaders
of the Church of the Living God along with clergymen and elders in the
Full Gospel, Rema, Hallelujah and Philadelphia churches. One Church of the
Living God pastor escaped shortly after his arrest, and police have
arrested a member of his church board and one of his parishioners. Police
also raided a music shop run by members of the Philadelphia Church, jailed
all 15 people present and shut down the store. The music shop was the main
source of Christian materials, music tapes and books for Protestant
evangelicals in Asmara. (Compass)

MOB ATTACKS CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE IN SRI LANKA, INJURING 4 PEOPLE

On Christmas Day a mob of about 30 people accosted members of the King's
Revival Church in Alawwa in west-central Sri Lanka's Kurunegala district.
They threatened the pastor and warned the congregation not to attend the
service. They told the pastor not to hold a Christmas service and warned
they would attack again on New Year's Eve.

Many worshipers fled in fear, reported the National Christian Evangelical
Alliance of Sri Lanka. Those who continued on their way to church were
beaten up. One man and three women were injured, and the man was taken to
a hospital for treatment. One of the women was pregnant.

The incident was reported to local police that day and again on Wednesday,
Dec. 28, but no action was taken to apprehend the attackers until the
following day when police detained some people for questioning.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, Dec. 20, the family members of Mr.
Karunaratne, a deceased Christian, were refused permission to bury their
relative in a local public cemetery. Local Buddhists told the family, from
Hopton in the southeastern Uva province, that they could not bury the dead
man in the cemetery because he was a Christian. Local police and
authorities eventually intervened, and the burial went ahead. (Christian
Solidarity Worldwide)

VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS DETAIN, DEPORT PASTOR VISITING FROM U.S.

A Vietnamese pastor who spent 10 years in prison and re-education camps
before being deported to the U.S. in 1999 was held at Tan-Son-Nhat Airport
in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, Dec. 27, when he tried to re-enter Vietnam
to visit his elderly mother. Rev. Paul Ai, founder of Vietnamese Outreach
International based in Hampton, Va., said that he had been ministering
with his wife, Ruth, in Malaysia to Vietnamese contract workers, then flew
to Vietnam to visit their elderly mothers "They held me for 24 hours and
then deported me," he said. "While I was being held, they described me as
a 'dangerous man' and apparently were afraid that I would contact the
underground church." After 24 hours in the security area guarded by
police, Ai was deported to Singapore. In the last three years Ai has
planted scores of Vietnamese congregations in South Korea, Malaysia and
Cambodia. (Assist News Service)

INCREASED AVAILABILITY OF PORNOGRAPHY POSES THREAT TO CHURCHES

Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, says
the availability of pornography on modern technological devices such as
iPODs, MPDs and PDAs is an increasing threat to today's churches. "We are
all continually amazed at the newest and greatest electronic devices that
come out on the market," he said in a statement released Wednesday, Dec.
21. "One of the latest innovations is wireless handheld devices with video
capabilities. What you may not know is that all the pornography on the
Internet may be available on these devices without effective monitoring or
filtering options. Our already sexualized culture is about to be inundated
with yet another avenue for corrupting the innocent and ensnaring our
children to the bonds of pornography. We need to do something. The
technology itself is wonderful but until the appropriate safeguards can be
implemented we need to educate and inform evangelicals of the dangers to
which they may be unknowingly exposing their young people." (Assist News
Service)
=================
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2006-01-10 16:55:02 UTC
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Pray for the World: 10 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio

Today's Headlines:

STATE GOVERNMENT IN EASTERN INDIA CONSIDERS ANTI-CONVERSION LAW

BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL DEFENDS SERIES OF FINES ON HOUSE CHURCH

REPORT RECONFIRMS SHIFT OF CHRISTIANITY BEYOND WESTERN WORLD

Today's Top Stories:

STATE GOVERNMENT IN EASTERN INDIA CONSIDERS ANTI-CONVERSION LAW

The government of eastern India's Jharkhand state is considering an
anti-conversion bill aimed at protecting the tribal culture, but Todd
Nettleton from Voice of the Martyrs calls it an "area of concern. The idea
of the bill is that nobody can be converted through enticement or through
bribery or through paying them off which is a good thing. The sad thing is
what this bill will be used for is to harass Christian ministries who are
reaching people simply with the message of the gospel." Comparable bills
have been passed in five other states. "If it's similar to the bills that
we have seen in some of the individual states in India, as well as in
nearby Sri Lanka, it will likely have a fine associated maybe with a first
offense and could eventually, with repeated offenses, lead to jail time,"
he said. Christians make up 4 percent of Jharkhand's 27 million people.
(Mission Network News)

BELARUSIAN OFFICIAL DEFENDS SERIES OF FINES ON HOUSE CHURCH

An official of the town administration of Bobruisk in the Mogilev region
in eastern Belarus has defended a series of fines imposed on a Baptist
family which hosts a church in its home. "A private home is not designated
for religious worship," said official Aleksandr Markachev. "Their services
are illegal as they refuse to register their church and abide by the law."
The congregation refuses on principle to register with state authorities.
Markachev rejected suggestions that church members' rights to profess
their faith freely are being violated, insisting that a number of
registered churches exist locally where believers are free to attend.
Pastor Yermalitsky was reluctant to discuss the matter. "We're going to
take our complaints to the procuracy here and the courts," he said. (Forum
18 News Service)

REPORT RECONFIRMS SHIFT OF CHRISTIANITY BEYOND WESTERN WORLD

A report released this month by the Lausanne Researchers' Network
highlights the profound southern geographical shift of global Christianity
in the past century. "USA Evangelicals/Evangelicals in a Global Context"
provides new data on the southern shift in the evangelical movement from
its roots in the U.K. and the U.S. The study shows that 80 percent of all
Christians in 1900 came from Europe and North America; by 2005 it was less
than 45 percent. This statistic correlates with the finding that of the
estimated number of evangelicals worldwide -- growing to 688 million from
250 million in the last 105 years -- most are increasingly found outside
of the Western world. Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are more
typical representatives of evangelicalism than Americans or Europeans.
People of African descent represent 31 percent of evangelicals while
Asians and Latin Americans make up 15 and 13 percent respectively. The
study shows that evangelicals continue to grow globally, but in the U.S.
they have been declining as a raw percentage of the population. (Religion
Today/Christian Post)
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Pray for the World: 11 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

NEW CUBAN LEGISLATION LEADS TO CLOSURE OF 3 HOUSE CHURCHES

DEM. REP. OF CONGO HOME TO 'WORLD'S DEADLIEST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS'

SEMINARY IN RUSSIA FEARS LOSS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS

Today's Top Stories:

NEW CUBAN LEGISLATION LEADS TO CLOSURE OF 3 HOUSE CHURCHES

At least three Protestant churches have been forcibly closed down in Cuba
after legislation on house churches was announced in 2005. The legislation
was announced in April 2005 after Pope John Paul II's funeral and required
all house churches to register with the authorities. Stuart Windsor,
national director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said, "We learned of
these church closures, confiscation and demolition with deep concern. We
are calling on the international community to strongly discourage the
Cuban government from taking any more measures that would restrict the
rights of the Cuban people to meet and worship together. In addition, we
call upon the Cuban government to return those buildings that have already
been confiscated, allow for the reopening of those that have been shut
down, and authorize the reconstruction of the church that has already been
demolished." (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

DEM. REP. OF CONGO HOME TO 'WORLD'S DEADLIEST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS'

A story in The Christian Post, citing a study published by Britain's
leading medical journal, indicates that the Democratic Republic of Congo,
which has suffered from back-to-back wars and years of corruption, is home
to the world's deadliest humanitarian crisis. The study shows that nearly
4 million people died from 1998 to 2004 with 38,000 people dying each
month -- a rate 40 percent higher than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The majority of deaths result from preventable diseases rather than
directly from war violence. "Less than 2 percent of the deaths were
directly due to violence," said Rick Brennan, health director of the
International Rescue Committee. "However, if the effects of violence --
such as the insecurity that limits access to healthcare facilities -- were
removed, mortality rates would fall to almost normal levels. It's a sad
indictment of us all that seven years into this crisis ignorance about its
scale and impact is almost universal." (Religion Today)

SEMINARY IN RUSSIA FEARS LOSS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS

The Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary in Russia (supported by OMS
International) is asking people to pray as the government continues to
curb religious freedoms in the country. J.B. Crouse, the former president
of OMS, said Russia has started cutting back on foreign missionary visa
requests as two missionary couples were recently denied visas. Crouse is
concerned that the situation could worsen if the government disallows
foreigners from sponsoring students. The seminary's associate provost,
Sasha Tsutserov, says 95 percent of all of the school's graduates are in
ministry. "They go and plant churches, they join mission groups, they go
to the places where [you could not go] because Russia alone covers 11 time
zones. It's a huge land." (Mission Network News)
=================
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Pray for the World: 13 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

MUSLIM MAN DROPS 'BLASPHEMY' CHARGE AGAINST PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN

EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS IN PAKISTAN BRACE FOR BLAST OF WINTER COLD

CHURCH IN IRAN GROWS AMID INCREASING PERSECUTION

GERMAN YOUTH CONFERENCE CONFIRMS HIGH INTEREST IN MISSIONS

HUNDREDS OF CHURCHES JOIN INITIATIVE TO END HOMELESSNESS IN DENVER

Today's Top Stories:

MUSLIM MAN DROPS 'BLASPHEMY' CHARGE AGAINST PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN

A Pakistani Muslim in the Punjabi town of Sangla Hill dropped formal
charges last week against a Christian he had accused of setting fire to
pages of the Koran. Mohammed Saleem's accusations last November triggered
a violent reprisal from local Muslims, destroying four churches and
landing Yousaf Masih in jail for allegedly desecrating the Koran. As part
of a
reconciliation agreement reached by local Muslim and Christian leaders on
Thursday, Jan. 5, Saleem signed an affidavit declaring Masih innocent.
Local Christian leaders agreed not to press charges against the mob of
2,000 Muslims who attacked the town's Christian community. Police have
held 88 rioters in custody since the assault. It is not yet clear how the
agreement will affect legal proceedings. Bail has been denied to the
rioters, and Masih also remains under arrest. (Compass)

EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS IN PAKISTAN BRACE FOR BLAST OF WINTER COLD

More than 2 million people, all survivors of the earthquake that hit the
Kashmir region of Pakistan, face heavy snow this weekend as unusually cold
weather tightens its grip across much of Asia. "They don't have winterized
tents, no stoves for heat or cooking," said Kevin Turner of Strategic
World Impact (SWI). "Children are standing in the snow without shoes." It
could also cause problems for a team from SWI heading to the region this
Sunday. While this is a predominantly Muslim area, Turner believes
Christians can make a difference. "They're absolutely flabbergasted when
they see Christians are coming in to assist them," he said. SWI recently
held a training conference in Pakistan attended by more than 50 pastors --
men who are willing to lay down their lives for the gospel. "Some of the
pastors are scared and you can understand why," Turner explained.
"Churches are burned to the ground, people are raped and killed, and it's
terrible. However, calamity clarifies. When calamity strikes it's the
opportunity . . . a stepping stone for the church to be there and be the
body of Christ, ministering to the afflicted, no matter what their
religion, pointing them to the truth." (Mission Network News)

CHURCH IN IRAN GROWS AMID INCREASING PERSECUTION

American evangelist Sammy Tippit says the church in Iran is growing
despite increasing persecution against Christians in the country. "One of
the things that has happened is that when threats begin to come against
Christians, those who are in leadership are pressed into a corner where
they have to raise up other leaders because they know that they could be
taken away at any moment," he said. "God just has a way of turning those
types of things into something good for His glory." Many Christians live
under the constant threat of harassment, imprisonment or even death. "We
do know of some instances where people have been arrested just . . . for
meeting together with other Christians in their homes," Tippit said. He
recounted an incident in which a Turkish Christian was sharing his faith
with people from the same ethnic background living in Iran "Just within
the last week-and-a-half, he was martyred." (AgapePress)

GERMAN YOUTH CONFERENCE CONFIRMS HIGH INTEREST IN MISSIONS

A youth conference for world missions in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, Jan.
8, registered 6,000 participants between the ages of 15 and 25, showing
this generation's interest in missions and evangelism. Detlef Bloecher,
director of the German Missionary Fellowship and chairman of the
Association of Evangelical Missions, reminded the conference participants
of the need to fulfill the Great Commission. Erwin Damson, executive
director of the evangelical Ludwig-Hofacker Association which organized
the conference, said the event proves that young Christians are not
self-centered but interested in reaching out with the gospel. (Assist News
Service)

HUNDREDS OF CHURCHES JOIN INITIATIVE TO END HOMELESSNESS IN DENVER

The Denver Post reported that more than 450 religious leaders took part
Tuesday, Jan. 10, in the official kickoff of a new effort to help homeless
families and seniors find housing. The "Family and Senior Homeless
Initiative: One Congregation, One Family" program is part of Mayor John
Hickenlooper's 10-year plan to end homelessness in Denver. Since the
program's start in July, more than 55 homeless families and one senior
have been paired with mentoring teams from 45 area congregations. Of
those, 47 families have been placed in permanent housing. When a church
congregation commits to working with a homeless family, it gives $1,200 to
the Denver Rescue Mission which will find a home for the family and pay
for its first month's rent and deposit. Mentors meet with the family seven
times during a four- to six-month period to teach such things as budgeting
and parenting skills, keeping a job, and getting information on community
resources. (Religion Today)
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Pray for the World: 14 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

HINDU 'REAWAKENING' EVENT IN INDIA CONCERNS CHRISTIANS

WORLD VISION JOINS CHRISTIAN AID WORKERS IN KENYA TO BATTLE FAMINE

COMMENTS PROMPT ISRAEL SO SUSPEND TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON

Today's Top Stories:

HINDU 'REAWAKENING' EVENT IN INDIA CONCERNS CHRISTIANS

A number of key Christian leaders recently called on the government ban to
"strictly supervise" a massive Hindu "reawakening" event to be held in the
tribal district of Dangs in western India's Gujarat state Feb. 11-13. More
than 500,000 Hindus are expected to attend. Rights groups fear the event
may unleash a wave of violence against tribal Christians and animists.
Hindu extremist groups have organized the event and expect it to generate
enough momentum to trigger thousands of Christians to turn "back to the
Hindu fold." They have also published materials calling for the
destruction of the Christian faith in the same way that the Hindu god Ram
destroyed the demon Ravana in the Hindu scriptures. (Compass)

WORLD VISION JOINS CHRISTIAN AID WORKERS IN KENYA TO BATTLE FAMINE

World Vision teams are working to address a raging food shortage in Kenya
where more than 2.5 million people face starvation. Teams are working in
five of the hardest hit areas with food distribution and recovery
projects. The teams, realizing the potential of the crisis, are half-way
through a six-month emergency operation phase. Kenyan believers and
churches are partnering with World Vision to meet both physical and
spiritual needs in this time. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has officially
declared the region a "national disaster." Government estimates show the
region has already experienced a crop failure of roughly 60 percent. With
food reserves already low, the toll of the crisis could be staggering.
(Mission Network News)

COMMENTS PROMPT ISRAEL TO SUSPEND TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON

Israel has suspended contact with evangelist Pat Robertson for suggesting
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's punishment for withdrawing
from the Gaza Strip. But Israel's tourism minister says the order does not
apply to "all the evangelical community, God forbid." Israeli leaders see
evangelicals as tireless lobbyists in Washington and elsewhere. The
controversy has cast doubt on plans for a Christian Heritage Center in
Israel's Galilee region, a tourist attraction that would showcase the
growing flow of money and influence from U.S. church groups. Robertson is
leading evangelicals who have pledged to raise $50 million for the
project. Under a tentative agreement, Robertson's group was to put up the
funding while Israel would provide land and infrastructure. Robertson's
comments on Sharon have been condemned by many Christian leaders. Ted
Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of
Evangelicals, said the controversy is a "blow to evangelical-Israeli
relations -- and the situation is unfortunate," reported CNN. Robertson
later apologized for his remarks. (AgapePress/Associated Press/Assist News
Service)

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Pray for the World: 18 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

GROWING POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN UKRAINE CONCERNS CHRISTIANS

COALITION URGES GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE ACTION IN SUDAN'S DARFUR REGION

U.S. GOVERNMENT HELPS MINISTRY CRACK DOWN ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

UPDATE: ISRAEL RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CUT TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON

Today's Top Stories:

GROWING POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN UKRAINE CONCERNS CHRISTIANS

The Ukrainian parliament has voted to dismiss Prime Minister Yuri
Yekhanurov's government because of its agreement to pay sharply higher
prices for gas imports from Russia. Viktor Yushchenko has demanded that
parliament rescind its vote, blaming it on opposition lawmakers he said
are trying to create instability in Ukraine. Barry Gardner of Russian
Ministries is concerned about the political instability because Yushchenko
was a friend of religious freedom. The instability could cause Yushchenko
his job. However, Gardner says, "Ukrainian Christians are really on the
move there. So there's a lot more religious activity in that country. And
that means it's unlikely that even a new person coming in who would not be
as friendly to missions would be able to cause a really harsh repression
that we might fear in Russia." The issue has been sent on to Ukraine's
Supreme Court and the political future of Yekhanurov and his cabinet is
uncertain. (Mission Network News)

COALITION URGES GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE ACTION IN SUDAN'S DARFUR REGION

The Save Darfur Coalition, in cooperation with more than 150 faith-based
advocacy and humanitarian aid organizations, launched the "Million Voices
for Darfur" campaign Thursday, Jan. 12, reported The Christian Post.

"The goal of the . . . campaign is to deliver 1 million handwritten and
electronic postcards from Americans to President George W. Bush and
Congress demanding that they undertake a stronger and more effective U.S.
response to the violence and atrocities plaguing the region," said Rev.
Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National
Association of Evangelicals.

He called it a "moral imperative" for the U.S. government to take stronger
action in Darfur, a war-torn region of western Sudan. An estimated 2
million refugees have fled Darfur to escape violence, starvation and death
since February 2003 when rebels rose up against the Sudanese government,
claiming they were being ignored by Khartoum. Tens of thousands have died
in the conflict.

Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says the
situation in Darfur is deteriorating, and the world must step up efforts
to help end the conflict and bring peace. The postcards, which are being
collected at community events, student rallies, churches and the Internet,
will be delivered to the White House and Capitol Hill to promote the
necessary actions to end the crisis. (Religion Today/The Christian
Post/BBC)

U.S. GOVERNMENT HELPS MINISTRY CRACK DOWN ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

New funding from the U.S. government will boost World Vision's efforts to
crack down on tourists sexually exploiting children in developing
countries. The latest grant is for nearly $100,000. Joe Mettimano,
director of World Vision's child sex tourism prevention project, said the
new money reflects growing cooperation between World Vision and the U.S.
government to crack down on pedophiles operating in the developing world,
and at the same time help rehabilitate their victims. Mettimano said World
Vision's program, has a two-pronged approach to tackling the problem of
child sex tourism, nicknamed "bark" and "bite." The "bark" element seeks
to deter American men from abusing in the first place. This involves a
strategic advertising campaign. The "bite" element refers to partnerships
established between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, law
enforcement agencies in developing countries and World Vision. World
Vision's program has been implemented in Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica,
Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. (World Vision)

UPDATE: ISRAEL RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CUT TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON

Israel is reconsidering its decision to break off contacts with
televangelist Pat Robertson over construction of a Christian heritage park
now that he's apologized for saying Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's
punishment for withdrawing from the Gaza strip. In a letter of apology to
the prime minister's family, Robertson said his remarks had been
"inappropriate and insensitive" and asked for forgiveness. Israel has
accepted that apology. Robertson was to lead Christians in building a
multi-million dollar Christian heritage center near the Sea of Galilee,
close to sites where Jesus lived and taught. A spokesman for Israel's
tourism minister said, "In light of the apology and his expression of
sorrow over Sharon's health, we will reconsider our decision." Israel's
ambassador to the U.S. adds that Robertson is a true friend and supporter
of Israel. (AgapePress/Associated Press)
=================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-18 16:48:44 UTC
Permalink
In article
<His_child2005yourhat-***@h-68-165-57-202.chcgilgm.dynamic.covad.net>,
His_child2Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every
year from January 18 to 25, begins today. The dates were originally chosen
because of two ancient feast days: the 18th is the Confession of Saint
Peter and the 25th is the Conversion of Saint Paul. If I recall my Bible
correctly, Peter and Paul didn't quite see eye to eye on a few things, so
maybe that's why we try to emulate them! The theme for this year's
initiative, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, is: "Where two or three are
gathered in my name, I am there among them."

The texts for reflection and prayer this year have been prepared by an
ecumenical group from Dublin, Ireland, chosen by the Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity, and by the Commission on Faith and Order of
the World Council of Churches.

Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

January 18: United through the presence of Christ. "One Lord, one Faith,
one Baptism" (Ephesians 4: 5, 6).

January 19: Building Christian unity with Jesus in our midst - daily
ecumenism. "You also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13: 14).

January 20: Praying together in Jesus' name. "The Lord waits to be
gracious to you" (Isaiah 30: 18).

January 21: From the past to the future - forgiveness and healing of
memories. "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven "
(Matthew 18: 22).

January 22: God's presence among us: a call to peace. "The Lord is with
us" (Psalm 46).

January 23: Mission in Jesus' name. "So it is not the will of your Father
in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost" (Matthew 18: 14).

January 24: Recognizing and welcoming God's presence in the other in
Jesus' name "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me"
(Matthew 18: 5).

January 25: One in hope. "On that day you will know that I am in my
Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:20).

Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is in
the month of January, in the southern hemisphere Churches sometimes seek
other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is
also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was
suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926. ***@yahoo.com.au
(*Peace of Christ*) wrote:

-Pray for the World: 18 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
-Today's Headlines:
-
-GROWING POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN UKRAINE CONCERNS CHRISTIANS
-
-COALITION URGES GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE ACTION IN SUDAN'S DARFUR REGION
-
-U.S. GOVERNMENT HELPS MINISTRY CRACK DOWN ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
-
-UPDATE: ISRAEL RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CUT TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON
-
-Today's Top Stories:
-
-GROWING POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN UKRAINE CONCERNS CHRISTIANS
-
-The Ukrainian parliament has voted to dismiss Prime Minister Yuri
-Yekhanurov's government because of its agreement to pay sharply higher
-prices for gas imports from Russia. Viktor Yushchenko has demanded that
-parliament rescind its vote, blaming it on opposition lawmakers he said
-are trying to create instability in Ukraine. Barry Gardner of Russian
-Ministries is concerned about the political instability because Yushchenko
-was a friend of religious freedom. The instability could cause Yushchenko
-his job. However, Gardner says, "Ukrainian Christians are really on the
-move there. So there's a lot more religious activity in that country. And
-that means it's unlikely that even a new person coming in who would not be
-as friendly to missions would be able to cause a really harsh repression
-that we might fear in Russia." The issue has been sent on to Ukraine's
-Supreme Court and the political future of Yekhanurov and his cabinet is
-uncertain. (Mission Network News)
-
-COALITION URGES GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE ACTION IN SUDAN'S DARFUR REGION
-
-The Save Darfur Coalition, in cooperation with more than 150 faith-based
-advocacy and humanitarian aid organizations, launched the "Million Voices
-for Darfur" campaign Thursday, Jan. 12, reported The Christian Post.
-
-"The goal of the . . . campaign is to deliver 1 million handwritten and
-electronic postcards from Americans to President George W. Bush and
-Congress demanding that they undertake a stronger and more effective U.S.
-response to the violence and atrocities plaguing the region," said Rev.
-Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National
-Association of Evangelicals.
-
-He called it a "moral imperative" for the U.S. government to take stronger
-action in Darfur, a war-torn region of western Sudan. An estimated 2
-million refugees have fled Darfur to escape violence, starvation and death
-since February 2003 when rebels rose up against the Sudanese government,
-claiming they were being ignored by Khartoum. Tens of thousands have died
-in the conflict.
-
-Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says the
-situation in Darfur is deteriorating, and the world must step up efforts
-to help end the conflict and bring peace. The postcards, which are being
-collected at community events, student rallies, churches and the Internet,
-will be delivered to the White House and Capitol Hill to promote the
-necessary actions to end the crisis. (Religion Today/The Christian
-Post/BBC)
-
-U.S. GOVERNMENT HELPS MINISTRY CRACK DOWN ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
-
-New funding from the U.S. government will boost World Vision's efforts to
-crack down on tourists sexually exploiting children in developing
-countries. The latest grant is for nearly $100,000. Joe Mettimano,
-director of World Vision's child sex tourism prevention project, said the
-new money reflects growing cooperation between World Vision and the U.S.
-government to crack down on pedophiles operating in the developing world,
-and at the same time help rehabilitate their victims. Mettimano said World
-Vision's program, has a two-pronged approach to tackling the problem of
-child sex tourism, nicknamed "bark" and "bite." The "bark" element seeks
-to deter American men from abusing in the first place. This involves a
-strategic advertising campaign. The "bite" element refers to partnerships
-established between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, law
-enforcement agencies in developing countries and World Vision. World
-Vision's program has been implemented in Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica,
-Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. (World Vision)
-
-UPDATE: ISRAEL RECONSIDERS DECISION TO CUT TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON
-
-Israel is reconsidering its decision to break off contacts with
-televangelist Pat Robertson over construction of a Christian heritage park
-now that he's apologized for saying Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's
-punishment for withdrawing from the Gaza strip. In a letter of apology to
-the prime minister's family, Robertson said his remarks had been
-"inappropriate and insensitive" and asked for forgiveness. Israel has
-accepted that apology. Robertson was to lead Christians in building a
-multi-million dollar Christian heritage center near the Sea of Galilee,
-close to sites where Jesus lived and taught. A spokesman for Israel's
-tourism minister said, "In light of the apology and his expression of
-sorrow over Sharon's health, we will reconsider our decision." Israel's
-ambassador to the U.S. adds that Robertson is a true friend and supporter
-of Israel. (AgapePress/Associated Press)
-=================
---
-*Peace of Christ*
-http://grace.break.at
-To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-18 17:34:09 UTC
Permalink
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every
year from January 18 to 25, begins today. The dates were originally chosen
because of two ancient feast days: the 18th is the Confession of Saint
Peter and the 25th is the Conversion of Saint Paul. If I recall my Bible
correctly, Peter and Paul didn't quite see eye to eye on a few things, so
maybe that's why we try to emulate them! The theme for this year's
initiative, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, is: "Where two or three are
gathered in my name, I am there among them."

The texts for reflection and prayer this year have been prepared by an
ecumenical group from Dublin, Ireland, chosen by the Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity, and by the Commission on Faith and Order of
the World Council of Churches.

Each day of the Week will have a different theme:

January 18: United through the presence of Christ. "One Lord, one Faith,
one Baptism" (Ephesians 4: 5, 6).

January 19: Building Christian unity with Jesus in our midst - daily
ecumenism. "You also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13: 14).

January 20: Praying together in Jesus' name. "The Lord waits to be
gracious to you" (Isaiah 30: 18).

January 21: From the past to the future - forgiveness and healing of
memories. "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven "
(Matthew 18: 22).

January 22: God's presence among us: a call to peace. "The Lord is with
us" (Psalm 46).

January 23: Mission in Jesus' name. "So it is not the will of your Father
in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost" (Matthew 18: 14).

January 24: Recognizing and welcoming God's presence in the other in
Jesus' name "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me"
(Matthew 18: 5).

January 25: One in hope. "On that day you will know that I am in my
Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:20).

Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is in
the month of January, in the southern hemisphere Churches sometimes seek
other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is
also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was
suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Steve Hayes
2006-01-19 15:33:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every
year from January 18 to 25, begins today. The dates were originally chosen
because of two ancient feast days: the 18th is the Confession of Saint
Peter and the 25th is the Conversion of Saint Paul. If I recall my Bible
correctly, Peter and Paul didn't quite see eye to eye on a few things, so
maybe that's why we try to emulate them! The theme for this year's
initiative, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, is: "Where two or three are
gathered in my name, I am there among them."
Around here it's held a week opr three before Pentecost.
--
The unworthy deacon,
Stephen Methodius Hayes
Contact: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
Orthodox mission pages: http://www.orthodoxy.faithweb.com/
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-19 16:44:28 UTC
Permalink
In article <***@4ax.com>,
***@yahoo.com wrote:

-On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 17:34:09 GMT, ***@yahoo.com.au (*Peace of
-Christ*) wrote:
-
->Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
->
-> The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every
->year from January 18 to 25, begins today. The dates were originally chosen
->because of two ancient feast days: the 18th is the Confession of Saint
->Peter and the 25th is the Conversion of Saint Paul. If I recall my Bible
->correctly, Peter and Paul didn't quite see eye to eye on a few things, so
->maybe that's why we try to emulate them! The theme for this year's
->initiative, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, is: "Where two or three are
->gathered in my name, I am there among them."
-
-Around here it's held a week opr three before Pentecost.
-

Well we can't pray too often, can we? *smile*

Please, if you can, post a "notice" when "you" will be doing "your" Week
of Prayer"?
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-19 16:39:17 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 19 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CHINESE HOUSE CHURCHES FACE NEW CRACKDOWN AFTER CHRISTMAS

UPDATE: JAILED INDONESIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS LOSE LATEST APPEAL

400,000 EUROPEAN BELIEVERS JOIN IN ANNUAL WEEK OF PRAYER

ERITREAN GOVERNMENT FORMALLY SACKS ORTHODOX PATRIARCH

Today's Top Stories:

CHINESE HOUSE CHURCHES FACE NEW CRACKDOWN AFTER CHRISTMAS

A campaign to crack down on house churches in Beijing has intensified
since Christmas, according to a monitor of the Chinese church. Among the
churches targeted was a well-known congregation in Beijing raided by
Public Security Bureau (PSB) agents the past two Sundays, reported the
U.S.-based China Aid Association.

Eyewitnesses said two uniformed policemen and two plainclothes agents
rushed into the rented apartment where the Beijing Ark House Church was
meeting, declaring the church was "disturbing the neighbors." Yu Jie, one
of the founders of the unregistered church, said he can't let the
congregation keep worshiping at the apartment because "pressure [from
authorities] is already very heavy."

In another incident, Jin Tianming, pastor of more than nine house churches
in the Haidian district, was detained after Christmas and interrogated at
a police station overnight. Dozens of other leaders in his church were
also questioned. Jin's church had applied to register with the government,
but the PSB denied the request because the church refused to be part of
China's official Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

China Aid also reported that five officials from the PSB and Religious
Affairs raided a house church of 40 worshipers in Dayinjia, Jilin,
Wednesday, Jan. 4, and posted a government seal declaring the gathering as
"illegal." The officials ordered the congregation to move to a TSPM
church. Pastor Cui Guojun, 40, was released after a three-hour
interrogation at a local PSB bureau.

Five detained church leaders in Ma Na Si county in the Xinjiang autonomous
region were released Sunday, Jan. 8, following intensive international
pressure. (WorldWide Religious News/WND)

UPDATE: JAILED INDONESIAN SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS LOSE LATEST APPEAL

Three Christian women jailed in Indramayu, West Java, Indonesia for
inviting Muslim children to their Sunday school last year will stay in
prison for three more years after the Constitutional Court rejected a
legal challenge to the ruling. The court rejected a plea on Tuesday, Jan.
16, filed by a clergyman to strike off an article in the Child Protection
Law which the Indramayu District Court used to put the women behind bars.
The court ruled that Rev. Ruyandi Hutasoit had no legal standing in the
case and that the article he challenged was not in conflict with the
Constitution. The article in the Child Protection Law rules that people
found guilty of "persuading children to convert to another religion" are
subject to five years in jail and/or a fine the equivalent of US$10,500.
The verdict drew criticism from Muslim and Christian communities in the
area who said the children had voluntarily gone to the school and had not
changed their religion. (WorldWide Religious News/Jakarta Post)

400,000 EUROPEAN BELIEVERS JOIN IN ANNUAL WEEK OF PRAYER

Approximately 400,000 Christians from different denominations in Germany,
Austria and Switzerland joined in prayer during the Evangelical Alliance's
annual Week of Prayer Jan. 8-15. In many places they went in the public
arena and prayed in town halls, in front of state parliaments and railway
stations. Christians in the North German city of Bremen chartered a
streetcar which took them through the different quarters while they prayed
for concerns such as high unemployment and crime. Included in the prayer
booklet was an appeal to pray for the "millennium development goals," for
example, to halve extreme poverty by the year 2015. In most of the 1,250
venues Christians came together for traditional prayer meetings as well as
prayer concerts or round-the-clock prayers. It was the 160th week of
prayer organized by the Evangelical Alliance. The spiritual focus this
year was on the "I am" words of Jesus. Hartmut Steeb, general secretary of
the German alliance representing 1.3 million evangelicals, was pleased
with the results. The turnout remained stable, and the meetings developed
into Bible study courses on the person of Jesus, he said. (Assist News
Service)

ERITREAN GOVERNMENT FORMALLY SACKS ORTHODOX PATRIARCH

The government-controlled Holy Synod of the Eritrean Orthodox Church last
week served formal notice to Abune Antonios that he is no longer the
patriarchal head of the East African nation's largest religious body.
Patriarch Antonios immediately rejected the notice, announcing that he was
excommunicating or suspending those who signed his arbitrary dismissal
order. Since last August when the Eritrean government stripped Antonios of
his ecclesiastical authority and forbid him to administrate the affairs of
the church, the patriarch has remained under virtual house arrest at his
residence in Asmara. Local sources expect the patriarch to be arrested if
he continues to challenge the government-orchestrated takeover of his
church. (Compass)
=================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-20 16:18:00 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 20 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

MUSLIM CLERIC IN PAKISTAN ARRESTED 21 MONTHS AFTER CHRISTIAN'S MURDER

RENEWED FIGHTING MAY JEOPARDIZE PEACE AGREEMENT IN SRI LANKA

NTM MISSIONARIES FIGHT YELLOW FEVER OUTBREAK IN GUINEA

MINISTRIES REACH OUT TO TEENAGE GIRLS IN MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES

SURVEY: BRITISH EVANGELICALS DEMONSTRATE FAITH WITH A CHECKBOOK


Today's Top Stories:

MUSLIM CLERIC IN PAKISTAN ARRESTED 21 MONTHS AFTER CHRISTIAN'S MURDER

Nearly 21 months after the murder of a Christian student in Pakistan's
Punjab region, police have arrested a Muslim cleric suspected of torturing
the young man so that he would convert to Islam. Umar Hayat was arrested
last week under charges that he and two other Islamic seminary members in
the town of Toba Tek Singh had tortured Javed Anjum for five days. Another
suspect, Maulvi Ghulam Rasool, was re-arrested in November after
Pakistan's Supreme Court revoked his bail. Judge Javed Iqbal Warraich
ordered police protection for Anjum's father, Pervez Masih, and his
lawyer, after Masih filed a formal complaint that armed members of Rasool
and Hayat's madrassa (Islamic school) were harassing him at court
hearings. (Compass)

RENEWED FIGHTING MAY JEOPARDIZE PEACE AGREEMENT IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has vowed tough measures to prevent
further attacks that undermine a ceasefire with the Liberation Tamil Tiger
separatists. Attacks on troops have increased since the beginning of
December, raising fears that a 2002 truce will fail and the island will
slip back into civil war. At least 115 people have been killed in fighting
in the past month. The violence is also taking its toll on ministry, says
Gospel for Asia (GFA) President K.P. Yohannan. GFA has more than 250
churches and two Bible schools in Sri Lanka and took part in a large
tsunami recovery effort in eastern Sri Lanka that is controlled by the
Tamil Tigers. Yohannan says because Rajapakse has support from hard-line
Buddhists and communists, he doesn't expect any resolution to the problem.
"These are the people who wanted to pass the anti-conversion bill so that
no one can be converted from Buddhism to Christianity," he said. (Mission
Network News)

NTM MISSIONARIES FIGHT YELLOW FEVER OUTBREAK IN GUINEA

Missionaries with New Tribes Mission (NTM) have become involved with the
distribution of yellow fever medications in the needy West African nation
of Guinea. The government has responded to continuing deaths from yellow
fever with a large-scale vaccination program. The World Health
Organization reports that the intent is good, but because roads are often
nearly impassable, the practicality of the distribution has proven to be
challenging. It's also difficult to keep the medicine refrigerated as
health workers travel from village to village. NTM's Ginny Bryant is
helping by mixing the medications together and filling syringes. With her
help, 800 syringes were filled in a single 24-hour period and distributed
to several villages. The team reports feeling helpless when they take a
villager to the hospital, but the reality of sickness and death has led to
many
opportunities to share the gospel. (Mission Network News)

MINISTRIES REACH OUT TO TEENAGE GIRLS IN MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES

In some Middle East countries sons provide future economic value to
families but daughters do not, says a Missions Insider press release. As a
result, daughters have little value. Often such families are large and
poor. A young teenage girl is often considered an unwanted "added
expense," and consequently she is provided with little education, may be
abused and is married off as soon as possible. In response, a number of
ministries in the Middle East are reaching out to these teenage girls. In
one major city about 1,500 young women come to weekly meetings to hear
about God's love and cleansing. Another ministry assisted by Christian Aid
Mission touches teenage girls in 104 rural villages. More than 1,000 girls
attend 10 different meetings held before and after school. After sharing
the gospel, these ministries teach them biblical principles to help them
deal with the emotional and spiritual scars, providing literacy and
employment training while trying to help them to understand that it is
"not wrong to be 18 years old and unmarried." (Religion Today)

SURVEY: BRITISH EVANGELICALS DEMONSTRATE FAITH WITH A CHECKBOOK

Evangelical Christians in the U.K. give nine times as much to charity as
the average householder in the country, donating more than 12 percent of
their net income each year, according to a new survey. British
evangelicals are even more generous than their American counterparts who
give 10 percent of their income, the report found. The survey also found
that evangelicals in Britain had three times the average level of
household savings and a tiny fraction of the debt. Many were debt-free.
The survey of 1,200 evangelicals was conducted by Christian Research for
the Kingdom Bank, set up by the Assemblies of God denomination, to offer
banking with a "Christian ethos." The bank takes literally the words of
Billy Graham, "A checkbook is a theological document -- it shows who, and
what, you worship." Evangelical churches are the fastest-growing segment
of all Christian denominations in Britain. (WorldWide Religious News/The
Times)
=================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2006-01-21 17:27:12 UTC
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Pray for the World: 21 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

Government Officials Shut Down 8 House Churches in Indonesia

Hindu Extremists in India Attack Christians at Bus Stop, House

Growing Anti-American Sentiment in Pakistan Concerns Christians

Survey: Congregants Less Committed to God than Pastors Believe

* Waodani Baptized Where Missionaries Were Slain 50 Years Ago

Today's Top Stories:

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SHUT DOWN 8 HOUSE CHURCHES IN INDONESIA

Government officials in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, ordered eight house
churches in the Rancaekek Kencana housing complex to cease meeting in
private homes starting Sunday, Jan. 15. Each church received the order by
letter last Friday following a meeting on Thursday, Jan. 12, attended by
local government officials, police, the commander of the local military
and the leader of a local Muslim forum. Several of the churches met for
worship last Sunday despite the order, saying they had no alternative
venue. The churches first applied for permits in 1993 but were rejected.
Under a ministerial decree issued in 1969, all religious groups must apply
for permits. Since neighbors must give their approval before a permit is
granted, the decree is a significant obstacle for churches meeting in the
predominantly Muslim communities. (Compass)

HINDU EXTREMISTS IN INDIA ATTACK CHRISTIANS AT BUS STOP, HOUSE

Hindu extremists attacked Christians in two incidents in Andhra Pradesh
state on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 12-13. Seven Christians, including two
pastors, sustained injuries. In the Nizamabad district on Thursday a mob
of about 100 extremists attacked a group of Christians led by the pastor
of a Pentecostal church as they distributed Christian pamphlets near a bus
stop. Police intervened before they could burn the pastor alive. On Friday
in the same district, members of Hindu extremist group Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh dragged five people from a 5-year-old girl's birthday
party and beat them. Among the victims was Pastor Nagani Swami David who
was kicked unconscious and left at a Hindu temple. (Compass)

GROWING ANTI-AMERICAN SENTIMENT IN PAKISTAN CONCERNS CHRISTIANS

Tensions have boiled over due to a U.S.-led missile strike Friday, Jan.
13, that went awry in Pakistan where officials say the CIA mission in
question apparently missed its target, killing 13 civilians and possibly
several top al-Qaeda operatives.

In a demonstration earlier today, about 8,000 Islamic hardliners protested
the attack that targeted al-Qaeda leaders in a Pakistani village, chanting
their support for holy war and burning an effigy of President George W.
Bush. Protesters marched from two mosques to the center of the
northwestern city of Peshawar, chanting "Death to America" and "Jihad is
our way."

Reports say the strike undermined the goodwill cultivated by U.S. relief
in the wake of October's earthquake. With anti-American sentiment rising,
Christians could see trouble. Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says
radical Muslims identify Christianity as a Western religion.

"Christians become sort of an acceptable target to reflect that anger
against the West because they identify Christianity as being a Western
religion. So if you can't attack Westerners, and you can't attack America,
who can you attack? Well, the church down the street -- that'll have to
do." Nettleton says churches have responded with caution since the
attacks. (Mission Network News/Associated Press)

SURVEY: CONGREGANTS LESS COMMITTED TO GOD THAN PASTORS BELIEVE

Two new national surveys conducted by the Barna Group indicate that there
is a gap between the perception of pastors and the reality of people's
devotion to God. While interviewing 627 Protestant pastors, the Barna
study discovered that pastors believe a large majority of their
congregants deem their faith in God to be the highest priority in their
life. On average, pastors contend that 70 percent of the adults in their
church consider their personal faith in God to transcend all other
priorities. In contrast, 1,002 adults were asked the same question about
their top priority in life, but only 15 percent placed their faith in God
at the top of their priority list. (Religion Today)

* WAODANI BAPTIZED WHERE MISSIONARIES WERE SLAIN 50 YEARS AGO

Christian believers of the once-feared Waodani Indians were baptized in
Ecuador's Curaray River exactly 50 years after their forebears speared to
death five missionaries attempting to reach the tribe with the gospel.

Ten young people were immersed by Waodani church leaders on Sunday, Jan.
8. The baptisms were accompanied by choruses of "I Have Decided to Follow
Jesus" sung by 200 onlookers. Alternating between Spanish and Waodani, the
crowd earlier sang in English and languages indigenous to Ecuador --
Quichua, Shuar and Cofan.

A Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) plane circled overhead briefly during
the two-hour service at Tonampari in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. The
baptisms took place on the opposite shore near the beach where Jim Elliot,
Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint and Roger Youderian were killed on
Jan. 8, 1956, by the Waodani (then known by the Quichua term "Auca,"
meaning "savage"). The Indians later recounted that they believed the
outsiders to be cannibals.

One baptismal candidate had received Christ through Tementa whose father,
Nenquiwui "George," had misinformed the tribe about the missionaries'
intentions, leading to their martyrdom. Tementa was later instrumental in
helping translators produce the Waodani New Testament.

Two aging Waodani from the raiding party in 1956, Dyuwi and Kimo, attended
the baptisms, as did family members of the missionary martyrs. Christian
communion followed the baptisms with morsels of ripe plantain and fruit
drink used as the elements.

Ken Fleming, 79, traveled from Iowa for the Sunday service and the 212-day
Waodani conference earlier. Upon meeting Kimo, the two embraced and got
acquainted through a translator. In 1956 Fleming was teaching the Zulus of
South Africa when he learned of his brother's death. Amid the loss, his
missionary work continued.

"Kimo, we now know, is the man who definitely speared my brother," Fleming
said later. "It's just been an absolute delight for me to see the glow of
Christ in his face. He and his wife, Dawa, are leaders in the church and
have gone on well for the Lord."

Summarizing Waodani culture before the introduction of the gospel, Kimo
said, "We had killings day after day, week after week, and year after
year. Now things are different." His comments were translated to Spanish,
then to English.

Warmth and friendship also characterized conversations between the Waodani
and missionary Bert Elliot, 81, whose brother was killed. He traveled from
Trujillo, Peru, with his wife, Colleen, 78, a foster son and another
missionary. "I think that forgiveness for others comes with the knowledge
of our own forgiveness before God," Elliot said. Since 1949 the Elliots
have served with a mission agency called Christian Missions in Many Lands
(CMML).

Of the transformation that began in the Waodani with the five
missionaries' deaths, former Wycliffe anthropologist Jim Yost used a
metaphor. "Satan takes a big rock and slams it into a pool of quiet water,
hoping for destruction," said Yost, known as Wadika among the Waodani.
Having lived with them on and off since 1973, he said he's enjoyed the
privilege of experiencing firsthand the resulting ripples that reflect
God's light, joy, beauty and love.

"These are some of the most beautiful people on earth," Yost told his
audience. "I love them."

Other martyrs' family members were also there, including a couple from
Montana with ties to both Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, and the grandson of
Nate Saint.

Saint's sister, Rachel Saint, worked among the Waodani until her death of
cancer in 1994. She is buried in Tonampari -- home to the elderly Dayuma
who as a teenager fled the violence. Dayuma later translated Waodani
phrases that the five missionaries used in the attempted friendly contact,
and afterwards served as a valuable liaison for the peaceful entry of
Rachel and Elisabeth into the Waodani area.

Retired Wycliffe missionaries Bub Borman and Don Johnson recalled their
part in a hasty burial of their friends days after the killings. They were
thrilled to see what God has done among the Waodani. An Argentine Bible
institute director traveled from Ukraine for the event, called "Conference
of Thanksgiving," which culminated with the baptisms. CMML missionary
Lloyd Rogers said the Waodani initiated the event, and his staff helped
implement the plans.

A church leader, Kawi, reminded the crowd at the riverside of a sixth
martyr killed by the Waodani. Accounts during the conference told how Tona
(the village later was later named for him) intended to reach out in
Christian love to rival Waodani living downriver in the mid-1960s. He too
was killed, but the descendants of that downriver group were among the
crowd. "We'll continue to see results of that fruit of what Tona did and
what the five [missionary martyrs] did," Kawi said.

Waodani came by canoe and on foot from half a dozen villages, some walking
for three days. Conference speakers spoke pointedly to the third
generation since Christianity entered the tribe, challenging teens about
their lukewarm response to Jesus Christ.

Preaching from the Gospel of Matthew, Dyuwi's son, Pegonka, said that
"possessing a Bible or being baptized alone" does not constitute
salvation. At the baptisms days later, Rogers echoed this, calling baptism
an "important step" following one's decision to receive Christ as Savior.

Another conference speaker said youth must learn to read the Scriptures in
Waodani, not just in Spanish. The first New Testament in Waodani,
translated by Rosie Jung and Catherine Peeke of Wycliffe, was dedicated in
1992. Some Old Testament stories also have been translated.

Concerns also surfaced for the salvation of the Taromenane and the Tagaeri
-- small hostile groups of Waodani who still have not heard the gospel.
(HCJB World Radio)
=================
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2006-01-24 16:06:36 UTC
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Pray for the World: 24 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

EGYPTIAN BELIEVER DIES AS MUSLIM MOB SETS FIRE TO CHRISTIAN CENTER

NUCLEAR TENSIONS REGARDING IRAN INCREASE RISK FOR MINISTRY

5 ASSAILANTS BEAT, THREATEN TURKISH CHURCH LEADER AFTER SERVICE

Today's Top Stories:

EGYPTIAN BELIEVER DIES AS MUSLIM MOB SETS FIRE TO CHRISTIAN CENTER

One Christian died and more than 19 Egyptians were injured Thursday, Jan.
19, when Muslims clashed with security police and set fire to a Christian
community center in Upper Egypt. The incident occurred in el-Udaysaat, a
town near the city of Luxor, reported Youssef Sidhom, editor of the
Egyptian weekly, Watani.

Kamaal Shaker, a Coptic Christian, died of the injuries he received when a
mob of 5,000 Muslims attacked the church. They flooded the premises, cut
off the street's electricity and brandished weapons, including small
swords, knives, axes and heavy metal chains. Worshipers remained trapped
behind the walls of the church as attackers threw torches into the
building, setting it ablaze, reported the Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar.

Although local police officers arrived on the scene, eyewitnesses describe
as "minimal" the officers' efforts to break up the mob and shield the
churchgoers from further assault. All those injured, including two
security guards, were taken to Luxor International Hospital for treatment.
Police arrested 10 men involved in the attack, an Egyptian security source
told Reuters. (Compass/U.S. Copts Association)

NUCLEAR TENSIONS REGARDING IRAN INCREASE RISK FOR MINISTRY

Nuclear tensions in Iran and global concerns regarding the country are the
backdrop for the ministry Interserve as Doug VanBronkhorst recently
trained a group of Iranian house church leaders. Countries are looking for
ways to halt Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, and the West is putting
pressure on the Iranian government, increasing the risk for ministry in
the country. "If it were known that these people were meeting with a
couple of American pastors for training, it wouldn't matter if it were, as
it was, entirely based on Scripture and related to spiritual, doctrinal
things," he said. "Assumptions would be made that there was something else
going on, and they would be persecuted for it." VanBronkhorst says the
church is "alive and well in Iran. It's doing better in Iran than perhaps
in some other Muslim countries. We just sort of saw the tip of the iceberg
in terms of the network of house churches that we were able to work with
here." (Mission Network News)

5 ASSAILANTS BEAT, THREATEN TURKISH CHURCH LEADER AFTER SERVICE

Five young men attacked and threatened to kill a Protestant church leader
in Turkey's fourth largest city after Sunday worship services Sunday, Jan.
8. Kamil Kiroglu, 29, was beaten unconscious twice along the street after
leaving his church premises in Adana at about 5 p.m. Wielding a long
butcher knife, one of the unidentified attackers threatened to kill him if
he refused to deny his Christian faith and return to Islam. The four Turks
involved in the attack appeared to be in their late teens but were led by
a foreigner probably 10 years older who claimed to be from Turkmenistan.
At one point, the group's leader said he was acting on behalf of the
al-Qaeda terrorist network. When he regained consciousness, Kiroglu went
directly to a nearby police station where officers took him to the
hospital for treatment. Pastor Umberto Coello said Turkish security police
took the attack seriously, sending many officers to patrol the area of the
church the following Sunday. Kiroglu, who supports himself as a translator
and interpreter, became a Christian more than four years ago. (Compass)
=================
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2006-01-25 16:27:37 UTC
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Pray for the World: 25 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CHILDREN'S HOMES FACE OPPOSITION FROM HINDU MILITANTS IN INDIA

CHINESE LAWYER IN RELIGIOUS RIGHTS CASES FACES MURDER ATTEMPT

OFFICIAL RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT 'RELIGIOUS INFILTRATION' IN CHINA

TELEVANGELIST PAT ROBERTSON CANCELS APPEARANCE AT NRB

Today's Top Stories:

CHILDREN'S HOMES FACE OPPOSITION FROM HINDU MILITANTS IN INDIA

On Saturday, Jan. 14, approximately 40 Hindu militants opposed to a
children's home and school being constructed in the village of Tikri in
northeastern India's Uttaranchal state came to the construction site and
threatened to kill the workers who were building the new facility. The
workers fled for their lives.

Ashish Massey, the head of the North India Evangelistic Association (NIEA)
who is funding the project, was also threatened with death by the
militants. According to a local report, some of the local villagers
allegedly complained to the activists that the Christians had come to
their village to convert them.

In a separate incident in West Bengal, the Kolkata Metropolitan
Development Authority demolished a church building and orphanage on
Monday, Jan. 16, despite ongoing legal proceedings. According to Indian
Express, the development authority claimed that the buildings were
impeding a planned road expansion. At the time of its destruction, the
orphanage was home to 30 children and 20 women. (Voice of the Martyrs)

CHINESE LAWYER IN RELIGIOUS RIGHTS CASES FACES MURDER ATTEMPT

A prominent lawyer who had his legal license suspended by Chinese
authorities because of his work in representing the religious rights faced
an attempt on his life on Tuesday, Jan. 17, according to China Aid
Association. Gao Zhisheng was traveling in Beijing when a vehicle with an
obscured license plate stopped abruptly in front of him. Gao narrowly
missed hitting the vehicle, stopped and got out to investigate. The driver
of the other car then attempted to run down Gao who was able to dodge out
of the path of the vehicle. As the car sped away, the newspaper covering
the license plate blew away and the plate number was reported. It is
believed the driver was a security agent of the Chinese government. (Voice
of the Martyrs)

OFFICIAL RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT 'RELIGIOUS INFILTRATION' IN CHINA

A senior Chinese official has warned the nation's religious leaders to
obey the ruling communist party and guard against foreigners using
religion to "infiltrate" China, the state press reported on Monday, Jan.
23. "Religious affairs work must be established within the overall work of
the party and state and must completely obey, serve and develop under this
task," said Jia Qinglin, who is ranked No. 4 in the party hierarchy. Such
work "should unify and lead the overwhelming number of religious believers
to fully join the undertaking of building socialism with Chinese
characteristics," he said. Jia was speaking Sunday to the top leaders of
China's state-run Religious Affairs Bureau, and his comments were carried
in the People's Daily. Jia raised concerns that Western and Muslim
religions were entering China in ways that were not in accord with the
government's wishes. Religious affairs work should "fully withstand
foreign forces using religion to infiltrate (our country) in any way and
safeguard state security and social stability," he said. China has
millions of Christians, many of whom refuse to worship at state-controlled
churches. (WorldWide Religious News/AFP)

TELEVANGELIST PAT ROBERTSON CANCELS APPEARANCE AT NRB

Televangelist Pat Robertson has canceled a scheduled appearance at the
National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Dallas next month. The
move comes following a major controversy between Robertson and the nation
of Israel. The decision came after a meeting with leaders of the NRB.
Associated Press reported that Robertson was to have spoken at the closing
banquet, but NRB leaders worried that the furor over his linking Ariel
Sharon's stroke to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza could detract from the
convention's focus. Israel and the promotion of Holy Land tours by the
Israeli government play a major role in the convention events each year.
Robertson, who has apologized to Sharon's family, told NRB leaders that he
regrets the negative impact his remarks have had on other religious
broadcasters, and is taking steps to avoid such controversies in the
future. The speech at the convention's closing banquet will now be given
by well-known Southern Baptist author and ministry leader Dr. Henry
Blackaby. (AgapePress)
=================
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2006-01-26 17:03:53 UTC
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Pray for the World: 26 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

LANDSLIDES ADD TO WOES FOR EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS IN PAKISTAN

POTENTIAL OF RENEWED WAR IN SUDAN CONCERNS ORPHANAGE MINISTRY

STUDY: CHURCHES FAIL TO WARN TEENS ABOUT 'SUPERNATURAL WORLD'

YOUTHS TO UNITE GLOBALLY IN PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Today's Top Stories:

LANDSLIDES ADD TO WOES FOR EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS IN PAKISTAN

Survivors of the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan who are staying in
tent camps during the long, hard winter now face another problem --
landslides. International Aid's Myles Fish confirms that landslides are
now an "hourly event," exacerbating an already desperate need. However,
the situation has made victims more open to the gospel. "For us to have
the kind of relationship that we do that's going to be sustained now for
an extended period of time," he said. "It means that we're going to be
able to build the kind of relationships that are necessary so that
ultimately we'll be able to explain who we are in Christ, what the
difference is between our faith and their faith. We're praying expectantly
that God's going to use that in a way to expand His kingdom." (Mission
Network News)

POTENTIAL OF RENEWED WAR IN SUDAN CONCERNS ORPHANAGE MINISTRY

As a humanitarian crisis continues in western Sudan's Darfur region, one
ministry head believes instability in the troubled country could lead to
war once again. "The peace treaty between northern and southern Sudan is
still unstable," said Pastor Sam Childers, founder of World Missions which
operates orphanages in southern Sudan and Uganda. "We could be back to
fighting -- and this time it could be a serious war." In the last eight
years Childers and his organization have rescued more than 300 children
caught up in the 20-year conflict between the Muslim north and mostly
non-Muslim south. Living conditions are desperate in the area surrounding
the orphanage. "Within 25 yards of our gates the average child only eats
one meal per day," he said. Most of the children outside the orphanage
sleep on the ground without a blanket or mosquito net. Chiders also has
observed people in the bush so desperate for food that they cook leaves to
make a watery soup. (Assist News Service)

STUDY: CHURCHES FAIL TO WARN TEENS ABOUT 'SUPERNATURAL WORLD'

Recent studies by George Barna's research group find that "churches need
to do more to help teens become wiser consumers of media -- and to train
them how to integrate scriptural perspectives into their decision-making,"
said David Kinnaman, author of the report and vice president of the group.
The Barna Group interviewed more than 4,000 teens in three nationwide
studies about their exposure to the "supernatural world." The results
indicated that three of four teens have "engaged in at least one type of
psychic or witchcraft-related activity" beyond that contained in the
media. Only a minority of teens believes that horoscopes are not accurate
and should be avoided; and just 28 percent of churched teens recall
receiving any teaching at their church in the last year that affected
their views on the supernatural world. "Millions of teens are precariously
close to simply shelving the Christian faith as irrelevant, uninspiring
and 'just a phase,'" said Kinnaman. "The supernatural world represents the
epicenter of the spiritual struggle for their hearts and minds."
(AgapePress)

YOUTHS TO UNITE GLOBALLY IN PRAYER FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

The youth outreach of Open Doors International is gearing up for
SHOCKWAVE, a global 72-hour prayer event Friday-Sunday, March 3-5, for
youth that will take place online as well as at prayer meetings throughout
the world. The fifth annual SHOCKWAVE kicks off in New Zealand and works
its way across the time zones, literally covering the world. Last year
thousands of young people from 19 nations were involved. The goal is to
raise awareness about the suffering of Christians worldwide. An estimated
200 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even
death for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing
discrimination and alienation. (Mission Network News/Open Doors)
=================

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2006-01-27 18:00:09 UTC
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Pray for the World: 27 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

5 ARRESTS MADE AFTER HINDU MOB ATTACKS CHRISTIANS, BURNS HOMES

RECONVERSIONS TO HINDUISM IN INDIA BECOMING MORE COMMON

CUBAN OFFICIALS ALLOW CHURCH TO REOPEN AFTER DROPPING THREATS

CHRISTIAN UNION AT BRITISH UNIVERSITY BANNED, ACCOUNTS FROZEN

MINISTRY FOCUSES OUTREACH ON HOMELESS PEOPLE IN 17 U.S. CITIES

Today's Top Stories:

5 ARRESTS MADE AFTER HINDU MOB ATTACKS CHRISTIANS, BURNS HOMES

A pastor and his cousin charged with attempting to force people to convert
to Christianity in eastern India's Orissa state were released on bail
Tuesday, Jan. 24, while five Hindu villagers charged with assault and
setting fire to the pastor's house remain in custody. On Sunday, Jan. 15,
Hindu villagers attacked Rabindra Mallick as he returned home from a
nearby market. The next morning a group of about 15 villagers armed with
sticks stormed the home of his older brother, Pastor Kulamani Mallick, and
assaulted him and his family. The pastor and two other family members
required hospital treatment for minor injuries. The assailants set fire to
their house, and seven adjacent houses also were burned and destroyed. In
total, six homes belonging to Christians were gutted. Shortly after the
attack, a woman in the village accused the pastor and two of his relatives
of forced conversions. (Compass)



RECONVERSIONS TO HINDUISM IN INDIA BECOMING MORE COMMON

Christians in several states in India are concerned after believers were
attacked and pressured to return to Hinduism. Recent reports indicate that
136 people in the eastern state of Orissa rejoined Hinduism in what
nationalist Hindu groups described as a "homecoming" ceremony. In the
northwestern state of Rajasthan, Christians were beaten because of their
faith in Christ. "The Hindu extremists are manufacturing these
reconversions just to get publicity," said David Stravers, president of
Mission India of Grand Rapids, Mich. "There is a mass movement to Christ
among the poorest people of India -- the untouchables (Dalits). And this
has the Hindus really worried. One of the things that we do in our
programs is make sure that every person who hears the gospel has a
relationship with a local Christian. When people have a relationship with
local Christians, reconversion does not happen." Mission India provides
assistance with training and materials to help believers with their
outreach and discipleship efforts with the goal of planting churches.
(Mission Network News)



CUBAN OFFICIALS ALLOW CHURCH TO REOPEN AFTER DROPPING THREATS

Cuban officials recently threatened to demolish Yamaniguey Baptist Church
because of "illegal construction." However, a report from Christian
Solidarity Worldwide Friday, Jan. 20, indicates that he church has
received assurances that their building will not be destroyed and will be
allowed to reopen. The church members said this change can be "directly
attributed to the prayers of God's people." (Voice of the Martyrs)


CHRISTIAN UNION AT BRITISH UNIVERSITY BANNED, ACCOUNTS FROZEN

Birmingham University's Christian Union is banned from using Student Union
Guild rooms and facilities and had its bank accounts frozen by guild
authorities after refusing to make "politically correct changes" to its
charitable constitution on religious grounds, including who can become a
member. "As a Christian union we restrict membership to only those people
who profess faith in Jesus Christ," explained staff worker Andy
Weatherley. "It is a fundamental right of any organization to be able to
include in its membership only those who abide by the ethos and focus of
the organization." Pod Bhogal, communications director of Universities
Christian College Fellowship, added, "In all our years of working with
hundreds of higher education establishments, this action by Birmingham's
guild is unique. We support the Birmingham Christian Union 100 percent and
will back them in standing up for their rights." The union has instructed
solicitors to issue court proceedings against the guild if its funds
aren't returned. (Assist News Service)



MINISTRY FOCUSES OUTREACH ON HOMELESS PEOPLE IN 17 U.S. CITIES

This week thousands of the estimated 2 million homeless people across the
U.S. will get help from volunteers serving with Here's Life Inner City, a
ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. The volunteers will hand deliver
8,000 "Homeless Care Kits" in 17 cities. "The kits have everything a
homeless person would need to survive temporarily out in the elements,"
said Here's Life National Director Ted Gandy. "They include things like
hats, gloves, scarves and warm socks as well as toiletry kits. They are
being delivered by what we call Christian caregivers -- individuals who
are really concerned about the physical and spiritual needs of the
homeless. [The kits] are a tangible expression of what we say verbally."
(Mission Network News) =================

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2006-01-28 17:26:51 UTC
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Pray for the World: 28 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

PALESTINIAN HAMAS VICTORY CONCERNS CHRISTIANS IN ISRAEL

BUDDHIST EXTREMISTS THREATEN, ATTACK 2 CHURCHES IN SRI LANKA

UZBEKISTAN INCREASES FINES FOR GROUPS THAT BREAK RELIGION LAW

JAILED VIETNAMESE PASTOR SHARES CHRIST WHILE AWAITING HIS RELEASE

Today's Top Stories:

PALESTINIAN HAMAS VICTORY CONCERNS CHRISTIANS IN ISRAEL

The Islamist Hamas Party was elected into office in Palestine's first
parliamentary elections in 10 years Tuesday, Jan. 24. The Hamas victory
has many Christians in prayer because Hamas' charter calls for the
annihilation of Israel.



A victorious Hamas candidate says the election results show that Jerusalem
is "Islamic" and that Palestinian voters "want Islam." A spokesman for the
International Christian Embassy which promotes Christian involvement in
Israel says Christian tourists are going to be "very uncomfortable going
into Hamas areas."



He adds that life could become more difficult for Palestinian Christians,
many of whom live in east Jerusalem. It includes the Old City with its key
holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians. The main site is the Al Aqsa
Mosque compound, Islam's third holiest shrine, which is built atop the
ruins of the biblical Jewish Temples, Judaism's holiest.



"Hamas has come to power . . . with 76 of the 132 seats [while] Fatah,
which had been the ruling political party in the Palestinian Authority,
has only 43 seats," said Jimmy DeYoung of Shofar Communications in Israel.
It's expected to take three weeks for Hamas to set up what's being
described as a "coalition government" of sorts.



DeYoung doesn't believe this political situation will stop the work of the
church. "The only answer is Jesus Christ, and I think they (Christians)
are going to be on fire more than they ever have been before to spread the
gospel message among the Palestinian people, including the terrorists,
which is exactly what's needed this time in history." (Mission Network
News/AgapePress/Associated Press)



BUDDHIST EXTREMISTS THREATEN, ATTACK 2 CHURCHES IN SRI LANKA

Two churches in Sri Lanka were attacked last weekend as threats from
Buddhist monks continued amid tensions between the government and Tamil
rebels. On Saturday, Jan. 21, a mob of 500 people demonstrated against an
Assembly of God church in Bolaththa (north of Colombo). The next day some
of the attackers returned and threw stones at the pastor's house (part of
the church building), breaking windows.



In another incident on Saturday, about 20 men brandishing rods and sticks
walked into the parsonage of another Assembly of God church in Alpitiya on
the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The pastor's wife was at home with her
three young children when the intruders entered and demanded that they
cease all Christian activities. The men knocked over a table, chairs and
other furniture and threatened to destroy all of the family's belongings
if their demands were not met. (Compass)



UZBEKISTAN INCREASES FINES FOR GROUPS THAT BREAK RELIGION LAW

The government of the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan has increased
the fines by up to 10-fold for groups that break the country's religion
law and laws on how organizations hold public rallies, street marches and
demonstrations. Uzbekistan bans all unregistered religious activity and
makes it difficult for churches with fewer than 100 members to obtain
registration. The steep rise in fines was introduced by changes to the
Criminal and Administrative Codes introduced last month. So far religious
communities have not experienced any increase in fines but, after the
launch of an intense campaign of inspections of religious activity in the
capital Tashkent, religious minorities are concerned. "Here in Uzbekistan,
inspections of activity never happen just like that -- generally their aim
is to close down churches," said a Baptist leader in Tashkent who asked
not to be identified. "We are praying that the current inspections will
not result in church closures." (Forum 18 News Service)


JAILED VIETNAMESE PASTOR SHARES CHRIST WHILE AWAITING HIS RELEASE

Pham Ngoc Thach is an evangelist from the Vietnam Mennonite Church who was
arrested in March 2004 and later sentenced to two years in prison. He
could be released as early as March. Thach is not allowed to have a Bible,
pray or speak of Jesus to anyone. Violators face punishments such as
beatings, electric shocks and solitary confinement. In the midst of this
difficult situation, Thach clings to his faith in God. He prays silently
but continues to share his faith with fellow inmates. At Christmas one
prisoner gave his life to Jesus after Thach shared the gospel with him.
Almost every day a prisoner dies in the jail. Thach is assigned to bury
the dead, only strengthening his resolve to share Jesus' love with those
around him. He said he is encouraged by the thousands worldwide who are
praying for him and sending him letters. Because of the many letters, he
said the guards became more respectful toward him, realizing he is no
ordinary prisoner. (Open Doors)
=================

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Pray for the World: 31 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

BOMBINGS AT CHURCHES IN IRAQ LEAVE 3 DEAD IN COORDINATED ATTACK

MINISTRY CONTINUES AMID EXODUS OF CHRISTIANS FROM MIDDLE EAST

CHILD DIES AS HINDU MOB ATTACKS CHRISTIAN ORPHANAGE IN INDIA

CHRISTIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN RUSSIA TO ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES

Today's Top Stories:

BOMBINGS AT CHURCHES IN IRAQ LEAVE 3 DEAD IN COORDINATED ATTACK

Car bombs exploded outside at least six Christian churches in Iraq Sunday,
Jan. 29, killing three people and wounding more than 17 others in a
coordinated attack timed to coincide with evening prayers. "We are
expecting a huge number of casualties," said an Interior Ministry source.

In Baghdad three car bombs exploded outside two churches and the nearby
Vatican embassy building in eastern Baghdad within 20 minutes. Officials
also reported blasts near two additional churches in Baghdad as well as
two churches in the northern city of Kirkuk. There are also unconfirmed
reports of two churches being attacked in Mosul.

Omar Hussein, 25, a metalworker near the scene of a blast at the Armenian
church in central Baghdad, said the attacks were "aimed at creating strife
between Christians, Shi'ites, Sunnis and others, nothing more, nothing
less."

The attacks were the first to target Christian churches during the
15-month insurgency. In late 2004 more than a dozen Christians were killed
and several sanctuaries were heavily damaged in church bombings. But since
then, few attacks had been aimed at Christians.

Many believers have fled Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Christians
account for less than 3 percent of Iraq's population. (WorldWide Religious
News/New York Times/Reuters/AFP/Assist News Service)

MINISTRY CONTINUES AMID EXODUS OF CHRISTIANS FROM MIDDLE EAST

Many Christians are leaving the Middle East because of lack of religious
freedom and biblical education while violence continues to increase. The
Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) confirms a "vast exit
of Christians [from the region]. Just the harassment, the persecution,
(legally and socially, has somewhat weakened the established church," said
IMB President Jerry Rankin. "But we're still seeing a harvest and people
coming to faith in Jesus Christ. New believers in these areas are strong.
They're coming into the Christian faith and embracing faith in Jesus
Christ with a passion and witness that is going to continue to make an
impact." While people are embracing Christianity in these areas, the
exodus has made it difficult for ministry. "We're very committed to an
indigenous strategy that is contingent on training and discipling national
leadership to lead the churches," Rankin said. (Mission Network News)

CHILD DIES AS HINDU MOB ATTACKS CHRISTIAN ORPHANAGE IN INDIA

An angry mob attacked a Christian orphanage in Tindole in northern India's
Rajasthan state Thursday, Jan. 26, stoning one of the children to death in
the rampage. About 100 abandoned children and orphans along with pastors
Mangilal and Gopal were in the home at the time of the attack, reported
Bishop M.A. Thomas, founder of Hopegivers International which operates the
orphanage. The two pastors and about 30 of the children escaped and took
refuge in the homes of Christian believers in the area. The remaining 70
children were still in the orphanage which was under siege by the
militants at press time. Thomas said he was responding to the violence by
sending a team of four more missionaries from Hopegivers' Emmanuel
Seminary in Kota. They are bringing emergency aid to help care for the
wounded. The attackers demanded that the Christians revert to Hinduism.
(Assist News Service)

CHRISTIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN RUSSIA TO ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES

HIV/AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, children at risk and crime are all
issues that concern the people of Russia today. Sergey Rakhuba, vice
president of Russian Ministries, says that may explain the surprisingly
positive response to an upcoming film festival that addresses these social
issues. Russian Ministries is one of the sponsoring organizations for the
10-day "Moral Values Film Festival" that begins on Friday, March 31. "I
was surprised to see some top officials at the press conference supporting
this idea, offering resources to help in organizing this film festival,"
Rakhuba said. The purpose of the event is to "present social movies --
especially movies that are made by Christian moviemakers -- to emphasize
and promote biblical Christian human values in a Russian society." Up to
35,000 young people are expected to attend the festival in St. Petersburg
and Moscow. (Mission Network News)

=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-01 03:34:16 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 31 January 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

EXTREMISTS, POLICE IN INDIA BADLY INJURE 6 CHRISTIANS IN ATTACK

EFFORTS TO SUPPRESS CHRISTIANITY IN MIDDLE EAST OFTEN BACKFIRE

Today's Top Stories:

EXTREMISTS, POLICE IN INDIA BADLY INJURE 6 CHRISTIANS IN ATTACK

Hindu extremists armed with sticks, rods and other sharp weapons attacked
a Christian seminar being held in a private home in Bhopal in central
India's Madhya Pradesh state the morning of Saturday, Jan. 28. Six
Christians were rushed to a hospital with serious injuries following the
assault while at least 12 others, some of them children, suffered
relatively minor injuries. The assault left Pastor Sam Francis, who had
organized the seminar, with fractures in his hands and legs while guest
speaker Kishore Sadhwani suffered a broken hand and a head injury
requiring eight stitches. This was the fourth attack against Christians in
the state in as many days. (Compass)

EFFORTS TO SUPPRESS CHRISTIANITY IN MIDDLE EAST OFTEN BACKFIRE

Throughout the Middle East, Christians are quietly and faithfully living
for Christ despite opposition and persecution. In countries like Saudi
Arabia and Iran, there is a growing phenomenon of interest in the gospel,
and Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope says the interest is in response to
efforts to promote hostility toward Christians. "Efforts to suppress and
to vilify Christians, for some people, actually produce a reaction that
increases their curiosity and their interest. And thankfully, we've heard
accounts of people who quietly share -- Christians sharing with Muslim
neighbors who ask them about their faith and why they believe what they
believe. Many Muslims really are seeking after God. They have a hunger to
know Him . . . and many are finding Jesus." DeYoung is encouraged by local
response to the Christian broadcasts in Arabic and Farsi from Words of
Hope. "These are times of great pressure. There is great risk, but also
there is a growing hunger. And we praise God for that and pray that we and
those in those countries will be faithful in pursuing that." (Religion
Today/Mission Network News) =================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-02 16:34:44 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 2 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CONTROVERSIAL RELIGION BILL PASSES ROMANIAN SENATE

LARGE HINDU GATHERING IN INDIA COULD PUT CHRISTIANS AT RISK

CHRISTIANS IN DEM. REP. OF CONGO WARY IN ADVANCE OF ELECTIONS

RENEWED VIOLENCE IN SRI LANKA DAMPENS CHRISTIAN OUTREACH

UPDATE: FAMILIES OF BEHEADED INDONESIAN GIRLS FORGIVE KILLERS



Today's Top Stories:



CONTROVERSIAL RELIGION BILL PASSES ROMANIAN SENATE

Religious and human rights groups are concerned about a proposed religion
law in Romania that resumes its parliamentary progress in the lower house,
the Chamber of Deputies, today. "This is a very critical time for
religious liberty in Romania," said Evangelical Alliance President Paul
Negrut. The government-drafted law passed unchanged through Romania's
upper house, the Senate, in December. Peter Eckstein-Kovacs, head of the
Senate's legal committee, recognized that the draft is "problematic" but
denied that its adoption by the Senate without a vote had been a "trick."
Protestant groups such as Adventists and Baptists as well as other
religious groups already have complained about the draft law. Iustina
Ionescu of the Bucharest-based Center for Legal Resources said the draft
law "infringes on many laws and the constitution of Romania, as well as
international human rights commitments to which Romania is subject."
(Forum 18 News Service)


LARGE HINDU GATHERING IN INDIA COULD PUT CHRISTIANS AT RISK

Gospel for Asia president K.P. Yohannan is calling on Christians worldwide
to pray and fast in support of believers in India who are experiencing
increased persecution and danger. Trouble is brewing in western India's
Gujarat state where Christians in the Dangs district are considering
whether to evacuate in advance of a major gathering of Hindu extremist
groups. Up to 500,000 Hindus are expected to attend the Shabri Kumbh
festival
Saturday-Monday, Feb. 11-13, a gathering that could potentially unleash a
wave of violence against tribal Christians. "Hindu homes are being marked
with yellow flags, leaving the small population of Christians vulnerable
to attack as many already have been," Yohannan explained. "Christians in
the West must resolve to pray and fast. The situation is urgent.
Christians all over India are in peril." (Evangelical News/Gospel for
Asia)



CHRISTIANS IN DEM. REP. OF CONGO WARY IN ADVANCE OF ELECTIONS

Peace teams are stepping up their efforts in the Democratic Republic of
Congo in advance of the April elections with U.N. troops anticipating a
flare-up between the rebels and the government. It's an effort to bring
order to the country's lawless eastern region, paving the way for the
April 29 elections, the first free presidential and parliamentary
elections since the 1970s. Sam Vinton of Grace Ministries says believers
are wary, especially given the turmoil they've seen already. The electoral
process could also cause an upheaval that might slow down the ministry's
work. "Another thing (that may be problematic) is that they may tell
people they can't travel for a number of weeks, or months." He said that
could "set a barrier to evangelists and church leaders traveling and going
to villages and visiting churches." Vinton says the country will not
experience true peace until the people give their hearts to the Lord.
(Mission Network News)


RENEWED VIOLENCE IN SRI LANKA DAMPENS CHRISTIAN OUTREACH

An upsurge in the violence between Sri Lanka's army and Tamil Tiger rebels
has created a climate of fear that could jeopardize peace. Although both
sides returned to negotiations in an effort to end two decades of civil
war, there already have been deadly ambushes and the threat of suicide
bombers. The violence has been a setback for ministries in the region.
Security concerns sometimes prevent church leaders from traveling to
congregations, and keep evangelists from moving around. "There are Tamil
Christians and Sinhalese Christians who work side by side, working in the
same
organizations," explains Glenn Penner from Voice of the Martyrs Canada.
"This makes things really difficult for them at times as they have family
members on either side. And Christians are sometimes seen as being
disloyal to both sides." Penner cites recent information detailing three
separate incidents of persecution against Sri Lanka's Christian community
since the beginning of this year, including verbal threats against a
church, mobs of armed men confronting worshipers and demanding an end to
Christian activity and the stoning of a pastor's house. (Mission Network
News)



UPDATE: FAMILIES OF 3 BEHEADED INDONESIAN GIRLS FORGIVE KILLERS

The families of three Christian schoolgirls who were murdered and beheaded
by Muslim extremists in eastern Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province last
October said they have forgiven the killers. A fourth girl survived the
assault. Pastor Mastin said the deaths of the three teenagers, Alfita, 19,
Teressia, 18, and Yarni, 15, were not in vain as they brought unity to the
Christian churches in Poso and encouraged believers to be strong in the
faith. "We hope peace will come to Poso," Mastin said. "Because of the
three girls who were martyred, we are challenged, and our faith is put to
a test like gold." The parents of the girls said they have forgiven the
killers, believing that it is God who will judge them. Markus Sambuwe, the
father of one of the girls, remarked, "I am really angry, but the Holy
Spirit touched my heart and changed me. I forgive them just as Jesus has
forgiven my sins." Police have arrested several suspects in the case.
(Christians in Crisis/CBN News/Assist News Service)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-03 16:18:56 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 3 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

TERRORISTS KIDNAP NATIVE GOSPEL FOR ASIA MISSIONARY IN INDIA

BRITISH LAWMAKERS NARROWLY PASS TONED-DOWN RELIGIOUS HATRED BILL

ISLAMIC LAW IN NIGERIA'S NORTHERN STATES PUTS PRESSURE ON CHRISTIANS

Today's Top Stories:

TERRORISTS KIDNAP NATIVE GOSPEL FOR ASIA MISSIONARY IN INDIA

Gospel for Asia (GFA) President K.P. Yohannan is calling on Christians
everywhere to pray after word was received this week that terrorists
kidnapped one of the ministry's native missionaries in India's
east-central Chattisgarh state. Pastor Subhash, a young single missionary
who has already started five mission stations with 28 believers, was
returning home in a taxi with five other people -- but they never reached
their destination. "[On Tuesday] Subhash's parents received a letter that
said he had been kidnapped by an extremist Marxist group known as the
Naxalites," explained Yohannan in an e-mail report. "The letter did not
mention any ransom or other demand, but did ask that Subhash's parents
"help in order to secure his safe release. . . . Please pray for Subhash's
safe release. Pray also for his parents, that God will be with them
through this ordeal. And please join me and the rest of the GFA family in
praying for all of our persecuted brothers and sisters across South Asia
who are suffering at the hands of anti-Christian elements." (Gospel for
Asia)



BRITISH LAWMAKERS NARROWLY PASS TONED-DOWN RELIGIOUS HATRED BILL

After protests outside the Houses of Parliament, British lawmakers watered
down a bill banning religious hate speech, then narrowly voted it into law
Tuesday, Jan. 31. The House of Commons voted against the government's
Racial and Religious Hatred Bill and adopted the House of Lord's amendment
which changed the wording to allow for greater freedom. The new law is
expected to take effect in about a year.



Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to make it a criminal offense to incite
religious hatred through threatening words or actions, insults and abuse.
However, Britain's upper chamber inserted provisions specifying that it
would not be an offense to seek converts, discuss, criticize, insult,
abuse or ridicule religion, belief or religious practices.



The decision delighted evangelicals who have been rallying efforts to
fight the original bill since last year. "The victory is with us for
sure," said Barbara Elele, a member of the Christ Faith Tabernacle church
in London.



Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs in Canada agreed. "They're going to
be able to continue to preach the exclusive claims of Christ," he said.
"Now prosecutors must prove that offending parties intended to incite
hatred towards another religion, and the burden of proof is on the
prosecutor to prove incitement and not on the accused to prove that he did
not mean to spread hatred. And that's a subtle, but a rather significant
distinction, because it supports the premise that someone is innocent
until proven guilty." (AgapePress/Associated Press/Religion Today/Mission
Network News)



ISLAMIC LAW IN NIGERIA'S NORTHERN STATES PUTS PRESSURE ON CHRISTIANS

In 2003 Rev. Seth Saleh, then pastor of St. Peter's Anglican Church in
Bakura in northern Nigeria's Zamfara state, was told by a town councilor
that Gov. Alhaji Ahmed Sani was ordering the demolition of his church. The
following day the church was demolished. That event marked the beginning
of a series of assaults by Islamic fundamentalists under Sani's leadership
to carry out Islamic law (sharia). Saleh, now a pastor at St. John's
Anglican Church in Kaura Namoda, recalled how officials often promised
that sharia would only be applied to Muslims. However, Anglican Bishop
John Garba Danbinta said that since the introduction of the sharia in
January 2000, Zamfara authorities have banned Christians from sharing
their faith or building churches. Christians also face difficulties in
other sectors such as education as discriminatory school fees have been
forced on Christian students and there is no teaching of Christian
subjects. There is no employment for Christians in the public service, and
a ban has been placed on Christian radio and television programs. The
imposition of sharia in criminal matters in 12 northern states has
resulted in numerous conflicts bringing death to thousands of people, most
of them Christians. (Compass) =================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-04 17:26:47 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 4 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

ALLIANCE CHURCH PASTOR, WIFE KILLED IN AMBUSH IN PHILIPPINES

ERITREAN MILITARY JAILS 75 PROTESTANT CONSCRIPTS FOR READING BIBLES

FRANKLIN GRAHAM CONTINUES FATHER'S LEGACY WITH WORLDWIDE EVENTS

NEW TREND SEES MORE BABY BOOMERS ENTERING MISSIONS

JORDANIAN KING ADDRESSES CHRISTIANS AT U.S. NATIONAL PRAYER EVENTS

Today's Top Stories:


ALLIANCE CHURCH PASTOR, WIFE KILLED IN AMBUSH IN PHILIPPINES

An Alliance Church pastor and his wife died instantly when they were
ambushed in Patonoling, Tupi, last weekend, reported the Philippine press.
Timothy Ariao, 46, and Delia Juebas, 39, were traveling to a church
gathering when they were ambushed by gunmen with automatic weapons.
Although no one has claimed responsibility, Christian workers have been
kidnapped or killed by Communist insurgents in the past. (Voice of the
Martyrs)



ERITREAN MILITARY JAILS 75 PROTESTANT CONSCRIPTS FOR READING BIBLES

Military authorities jailed 75 Protestant Christians at the Sawa Military
Training Camp in the East African country of Eritrea Wednesday, Feb. 1,
for "reading Bibles and praying during their free time." Local sources
said most of the detainees were evangelicals, including 37 women, who were
doing their compulsory national military service near Eritrea's
mountainous western border with Sudan. The 75 young conscripts put under
"military detention and punishment" had not attempted to conduct any
Christian meeting at Sawa or committed any other transgression of military
law. "In Sawa, to possess your own Bible and keep your personal devotion
and loyalty to Christ is not allowed," an Eritrean Christian explained.
"This is considered an act of Christian extremism." (Compass)



FRANKLIN GRAHAM CONTINUES FATHER'S LEGACY WITH WORLDWIDE EVENTS

From Manila, Philippines, to Mobile, Ala., Franklin Graham, son of
evangelist Billy Graham, continues to deliver the same message of hope as
his father by holding eight "festivals" in five countries. When Billy
Graham announced that his final crusade would take place in New York City
in the summer of 2005, it signaled the end of the well-known public events
led by one man, but it was hardly a pause in the ministry of the Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). "We aren't slowing down," said
Franklin Graham, BGEA's president and chief executive officer. "In fact,
2006 will be one of our most active years of ministry." A media release
states that Graham will kick off the year's activities with a festival in
Manila, Philippines, Feb. 2-5 and conclude the year in Okinawa, Japan,
Nov. 3-5. In March he will hold a Celebration of Hope for hurricane
victims in New Orleans. In addition to heading the BGEA, Graham also leads
the
international relief organization Samaritan's Purse. (Assist News Service)



NEW TREND SEES MORE BABY BOOMERS ENTERING MISSIONS

Jerry Rankin, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission
Board, says there's an interesting development in the sociology of the
Baby Boomer generation regarding missions. "We're seeing a reverse trend.
We had a great influx of missionaries in the 20 years post-World War II
who have now reached retirement. Our actual retirement rates have been
greatly reduced in the last 10 to 15 years." Rankin also says this next
group of missionaries want to invest their lives in something significant.
"It is just a passion that is needed in our world today, and it's kind of
an attitude of 'whatever it takes.' I'm seeing God raise up a new
generation of those who are going to finish the task." Southern Baptists
now have mission opportunities throughout the world that Rankin encouraged
these new workers to seize. (Mission Network News)



JORDANIAN KING ADDRESSES CHRISTIANS AT U.S. NATIONAL PRAYER EVENTS

King Abdullah II of Jordan made history in Washington, D.C., Thursday,
Feb. 2, as he addressed a gathering of thousands of evangelical Christians
at the National Prayer Luncheon. He spoke after addressing about 3,000
people at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier that morning. Although he
was not the first Muslim to speak at the luncheon, his role was bigger
than that of his predecessors. At the National Prayer Breakfast, Abdullah
appealed to the followers of the three monotheistic faiths -- Islam,
Christianity and Judaism -- to confront extremism by "exploring the values
that unite us, rather than exaggerating the misunderstandings that divide
us." He condemned acts of intolerance and called extremism a "political
movement under religious cover [whose] adherents want nothing more than to
pit us against each other, denying all that we have in common." Abdullah
also thanked believers for praying on behalf of his ailing father, King
Hussein, at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1999 before he died. (Assist
News
Service/Evangelical News/Christian Newswire/AgapePress)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-07 17:47:12 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 7 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:


MILITANTS KILL 6 CHRISTIANS IN MUSLIM AREA OF PHILIPPINES

MUSLIM MEN, WOMEN ATTACK CHURCH IN PAKISTANI VILLAGE

NTM MISSIONARIES BEGIN LEAVING VENEZUELA ON PRESIDENTIAL ORDER

10,000+ STUDENTS TO GRADUATE FROM SEMINARY PROGRAM IN INDIA

LISTENER RESPONSE TO CHRISTIAN RADIO STATION IN INDONESIA TRIPLES

Today's Top Stories:

MILITANTS KILL 6 CHRISTIANS IN MUSLIM AREA OF PHILIPPINES

Gunmen attacked a group of Christian families in the southern Philippines
Thursday, Feb. 2, leaving at least six dead on the island of Jolo, a
mainly Muslim island and a hotbed of Islamic militants, police said. The
apparently sectarian violence in the town of Patikul occurred in a cluster
of houses behind a Philippine military camp, and came less than three
weeks before a small group of U.S. soldiers will use the island for joint
military exercises. At least five unidentified gunmen opened fire on three
thatch houses before dawn, killing three men. The Muslim wife of one of
the victims and their eight-month old baby girl were also killed along
with the teenage daughter of one of the other male victims. One child
wounded in the attack told reporters that the gunmen knocked on their
doors to inquire if the families were Christian or Muslim. They returned a
few minutes later, firing their guns at the houses. (WorldWide Religious
News/AFP)


MUSLIM MEN, WOMEN ATTACK CHURCH IN PAKISTANI VILLAGE

Muslim men and women attacked a church in the Pakistani village of
Kanwanlit Friday, Feb. 3, smashing doors, windows and the altar. They also
desecrated the Bible and hymnbooks, spitting and trampling on them. When
local Christian residents of the area tried to intervene, it led to a
scuffle started between Christian and Muslim women. Armed Muslim men kept
the Christian men at gunpoint, foiling their efforts to come to the rescue
of the Christian women. Two Christians sustained critical injuries. Police
arrived on the scene, but not until after the damage was done. The attack
comes about two months after Muslims attacked churches in Sangla Hill,
Pakistan. (Assist News Service)

NTM MISSIONARIES BEGIN LEAVING VENEZUELA ON PRESIDENTIAL ORDER

New Tribes Mission (NTM) has begun relocating its personnel from
Venezuela's tribal areas as a result of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's
announcement last fall that NTM missionaries would be expelled from the
country. NTM has appealed the resolution to the Supreme Court of
Venezuela, but Nita Zelenak says there has been no word yet and in order
for the mission to maintain its historic adherence to the laws of
Venezuela the relocations had to begin now. In response, the missionaries
are preparing the indigenous people for the possibility of continuing the
ministry on their own. Zelenak says it's a difficult transition for the
team. "Our first prayer request is for the country of Venezuela and for
the people who will be continuing there, no matter what. Also, for the
missionaries who will be relocating, this is a major upheaval in their
lives, and it's been very difficult for them to say goodbye to people that
they love not knowing when or if they'll be able to go back in." (Mission
Network News)

10,000+ STUDENTS TO GRADUATE FROM SEMINARY PROGRAM IN INDIA

This month Hopegivers International will preside over an event in India
that could be the world's largest seminary graduation. A record-breaking
class of more than 10,137 students, most of them Dalits -- "untouchables"
outside of the caste system -- will receive their diplomas as they
graduate from Hopegivers' seminary program. "Much of the persecution that
our students face every day is because so many of them are Dalits," said
Hopegivers President Samuel Thomas. Graduates will receive a bicycle and a
one-way train ticket to their first missionary assignment. Thomas says
graduates emerge with new spiritual status, elevated by the gospel. No
longer "untouchables," instead they have become "assets to the entire
nation -- to the needy of every caste, creed, and religion," he added.
"Caste
discrimination is wrong wherever it appears." (AgapePress)



* Radio programs in 12 languages (English, Urdu, Hindi, Nepali,
Chattisgarhi, Bangla, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telegu, Marwari, Marathi and
Santhali) air to India from HCJB World Radio-Australia's shortwave station
in Kununurra. The programs are produced at the ministry's studios in New
Delhi, India.



LISTENER RESPONSE TO CHRISTIAN RADIO STATION IN INDONESIA TRIPLES

The coast of Indonesia is being rebuilt after the December 2004 tsunami,
although survivors are still dealing emotionally and spiritually with
their loss. A new radio station was launched in November by Back to the
Bible in North Sumatra, one of the worst-hit areas. The station was
launched through relief funds that came into Back to the Bible after the
tsunami hit. Several programs are being aired, including a live call-in
program. In the future, Aceh-language programming will be added to reach
the hard-hit and spiritually needy area of Banda Aceh. The message of hope
is resonating with listeners, many of whom write asking difficult
questions. Response has nearly tripled since November. (Mission Network
News)



* HCJB World Radio has worked with local partners to establish more than
14 local Christian radio stations across Indonesia since 2004. Broadcasts
from HCJB World Radio-Australia's shortwave station in Kununurra also
encourage listeners nationwide. In addition, HCJB World Radio has helped
with relief efforts since the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake/tsunami and
subsequent quakes that devastated parts of Indonesia.
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-09 16:35:20 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 9 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

IRANIAN PRESIDENT OUTLAWS MUSLIMS WHO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY

WORLD VISION AIDS VICTIMS OF 'SILENT EMERGENCIES' IN AFRICA, THAILAND

PROTESTANT PASTOR ACCUSES UZBEK AUTHORITIES IN BEATING

LONDON TO HOST DAY OF PRAYER FOR MYANMAR'S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Today's Top Stories:

IRANIAN PRESIDENT OUTLAWS MUSLIMS WHO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime is dealing a severe blow to
Christian revival in the country by outlawing Muslims who convert to
Christianity. Ethnic Christians are still allowed to express their faith
within their own church walls, but those who come from a Muslim background
face tremendous risk because the government wants them to return to Islam.
Iran's new policy has brought fear to the church because they are
forbidden to support these [believers], and as a result are removing their
support from their brothers and sisters of Muslim origin. "That is
regrettable," said Open Doors staff worker Stefan Van Velde. "They [former
Muslims] now form little cell groups that only meet in secret. This makes
it more difficult for the government to track them down. At the same time,
it's very hard for organizations like Open Doors to reach them too. This
is a problem because most [of the former Muslims] are new converts to
Christianity. They have very little knowledge of the Bible. There is a big
risk that false doctrines will arise," he said. "They aren't intimidated
by the government and continue to spread the gospel." (Assist News
Service)



WORLD VISION AIDS VICTIMS OF 'SILENT EMERGENCIES' IN AFRICA, THAILAND

World Vision is bringing hope and encouragement to survivors of "silent
emergencies" in Sub-Saharan Africa and Thailand where stories of massive
flooding have failed to make international headlines.



In Malawi 9,000 families were left homeless by flooding in December.
Ironically, this in an area where people have suffered years of drought.
Downpours resulted in flash floods that caused deaths and destroyed crops.
In some places, villages were leveled to fields of sand and farms turned
into large lakes.



The situation is even worse in low-lying Mozambique where after years of
too little rain, at least 22 people died due to flooding, and thousands
were displaced. Some 10,000 acres of crops were lost.



World Vision is raising funds to help farmers replant crops, provide
materials for temporary shelters and repair damaged homes.



In December heavy rains and flash floods paralyzed southern Thailand,
killing 27 people and forcing large-scale evacuations. Floods suspended
train services, shut down schools and damaged roads. Thousands of
villagers were forced from their homes. More than 700,000 families were
affected. In some places, 80 percent of the land was inundated.



World Vision distributed more than 4,250 survival kits to families. Kits
contained items such as food, drinking water, clothing, shoes and
medicine. (World Vision)


PROTESTANT PASTOR ACCUSES UZBEK AUTHORITIES IN BEATING

Protestant Pastor Bakhtier Tuichiev is convinced that a brutal assault he
was subjected to on Christmas Day, leaving him unconscious and needing a
week of hospital care, was arranged by Uzbek authorities. "In early
January I saw my attackers on the street, and now I even know where they
live, but the police don't even want to talk to me," he said. Tuichiev's
church is in Andijan, a city in Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley. "All I
remember is that before starting to beat me, my attackers told me I had
betrayed the faith of their ancestors. When I regained consciousness, I
was in resuscitation." Tuichiev is convinced that his beating was arranged
by the authorities. "I've been called into police headquarters several
times and told openly that if I don't stop what I'm doing, then there's a
lot of trouble in store for me. I fear this attack was just a warning," he
said. Tuichiev has been trying in vain to register his church since 2002
and has faced repeated harassment from authorities, including four
consecutive days of
interrogation in mid-November. (Forum 18 News Service)



LONDON TO HOST DAY OF PRAYER FOR MYANMAR'S PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has joined with Karen Aid, the Karen
Action Group and the Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People to
hold a "Day of Prayer" for Myanmar (Burma). The event will be held at St.
Paul's Church in London, England, Saturday, March 11, as part of a global
prayer initiative. "Even as CSW campaigns for change in the political
sphere, we are fully aware we must also pray for the people of Burma,"
said CSW Chief Executive Officer Mervyn Thomas. "The ongoing human rights
abuses in Burma must drive us to our knees. I would urge as many as
possible to join us for the Day of Prayer for Burma." An estimated 1
million internally displaced people live inside Burma, and an estimated
10,000 people are killed by the Burmese Army each year. (Christian
Solidarity Worldwide)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-10 15:45:22 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 10 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

GLOBAL PASTORS NETWORK SEEKS TO REACH 1 BILLION WITH GOSPEL

BLIND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN CUBA FACES 'SEVERE HARASSMENT'

THREATS ON SRI LANKAN PASTOR MAY SIGNAL RETURN OF VIOLENCE

FRANKLIN GRAHAM CONFERENCE IN PHILIPPINES DRAWS THOUSANDS

SURVEY: MEGA-CHURCHES GROWING QUICKLY IN SIZE, INFLUENCE

Today's Top Stories:

GLOBAL PASTORS NETWORK SEEKS TO REACH 1 BILLION WITH GOSPEL

A Global Pastors Network (GPN) "Billion Souls Initiative" conference was
held at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, Calif., Tuesday, Feb.
7, as speakers aimed to further a campaign to reach 1 billion souls for
Christ worldwide. More than 650 church and lay leaders attended the event.
A preliminary goal is to start 5 million churches in 10 years. "This
initiative is not just about [planting churches] overseas," said James
Davis, co-founder and president of GPN and host speaker of the conference.
"It's about learning to cross a chasm to lost communities. Unless churches
work together, the Great Commission will never be finished." GPN was
founded by the late Bill Bright and Davis in 2002 as a resource for
meeting churches' needs for trained and equipped pastors. GPN is planning
similar conferences this year in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis. (Assist
News Service)



BLIND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN CUBA FACES 'SEVERE HARASSMENT'

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a prominent blind Christian human rights
activist in Cuba, has been subjected to severe harassment recently,
reported the human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Gonzalez, who has spent the last two years of his sentence under house
arrest, will complete a four-year sentence on March 12. He believes that
the harassment, such as denying him water and electricity, is an attempt
to make him leave the country after his release. Despite the threats,
Gonzalez is vowing to remain in Cuba and continue his campaign for human
rights improvements. He was arrested in March 2002 after staging a protest
in a hospital concerning the reported mistreatment of a journalist who had
been beaten up by the Cuban police. Gonzalez was arrested and imprisoned
without trial for two years before being handed a four-year sentence.
(Assist News Service)


THREATS ON SRI LANKAN PASTOR MAY SIGNAL RETURN OF VIOLENCE

On the morning of Monday, Feb. 6, a man came to the Dutch Reformed Church
in Galle, Sri Lanka, looking for the pastor. The pastor was not there at
the time, so he spoke to the caretaker and the pastor's wife. The man
threatened to cut off the pastor's limbs and kill him if he ever visited
the Hikkaduwa area again. As he left, he made derogatory statements
against Jesus Christ and Christians. It is unclear whether this incident
was related to threatening letters against the pastor that had been
received last month by Christians in the village of Werellana in
Hikkaduwa. There are also reports that anti-Christian groups in the Galle
area made a list of prominent Christian pastors, suggesting the beginning
of an organized plot to unleash a wider circle of violence. (Voice of the
Martyrs)



FRANKLIN GRAHAM CONFERENCE IN PHILIPPINES DRAWS THOUSANDS

Filipinos poured into Manila's Rizal Park Thursday, Feb. 2, as Franklin
Graham spoke about the love and forgiveness found in Christ on the first
night of the four-day Metro Manila Festival in the Philippines. The Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association reported that 33,700 people attended the
festival, and more than 1,490 committed their lives to Christ. Metro
Manila has been one of the fastest-growing regions in the world the last
30 years, and it now stands as a major cosmopolitan center of Southeast
Asia. However, the rapid growth has brought poverty, crime, unemployment,
drugs and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Bishop Reuben Abante, general secretary
for the festival said, "The Philippines is simply crying out for preaching
of the gospel and the spiritual regeneration it brings." The theme chosen
by the festival planning committee was "There Is Hope." (Religion Today)



SURVEY: MEGA-CHURCHES GROWING QUICKLY IN SIZE, INFLUENCE

A new survey on U.S. Protestant mega-churches shows they are among the
nation's fastest-growing faith groups, drawing younger people and families
with contemporary programming and conservative values.



The number of mega-churches, defined as having a weekly attendance of at
least 2,000, has doubled in five years to 1,210. The mega-churches have an
estimated combined income of $7.2 billion and draw nearly 4.4 million
people to weekly services, according to "Mega-churches Today 2005."



The study, based its findings on 406 survey responses from mega-churches,
was written by Leadership Network, a nonprofit church-growth consulting
firm in Dallas, and the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which
did a similar survey in 2000.



"When you add up all that mega-churches are doing from books to video to
the networks of connection across the nation, you can't say this phenomena
of more than 1,200 mega-churches is anything but really one of the most
influential factors of American religion at this point in time," said
Scott Thumma, researcher for the study and sociology professor at Hartford
Seminary.



Paul Harvey, American history professor at the University of Colorado,
said mega-churches have a "market economy of religion. They just show the
instant adaptability of religious institutions. They reflect how Americans
have morphed their religious institutions into the way they want them to
be. Religious institutions have to respond to that."



Mega-churches typically have well-stated goals for growth, contemporary
worship services and an emphasis on evangelism. "These large churches have
figured out how to address the needs of people in a relevant, engaging way
that is actually making a difference in their lives," said researcher Dave
Travis of the Leadership Network. (WorldWide Religious News/AP)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-15 16:55:04 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 15 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

HINDU EXTREMISTS IN INDIA CALL FOR NATIONWIDE ANTI-CONVERSION LAW

UNJUSTLY IMPRISONED PERUVIAN CHRISTIAN FREED AFTER 13 YEARS

WCC MEETINGS IN BRAZIL TO ADDRESS SHRINKING CONGREGATIONS

WATER PROJECTS IN REMOTE AREA OF SUDAN

THOUSANDS OF MIDDLE EAST COMPUTER USERS VISIT CHRISTIAN WEBSITES

Today's Top Stories:

HINDU EXTREMISTS IN INDIA CALL FOR NATIONWIDE ANTI-CONVERSION LAW

Speakers at the Shabri Kumbh, a "reawakening" event organized by Hindu
extremists in the Dangs district of western India's Gujarat state last
weekend encouraged tribal Christians to "reconvert" and passed a
resolution calling on the Indian government to enact a nationwide
anti-conversion law. At press time, however, there were no reported
attacks or attempts to reconvert tribal Christians as a result of the
event -- in part due to a heavy police and military presence in the area.
Organizers and local sources estimated that 300,000 Hindus converged on
the Dangs region for the three-day rally that began on Saturday, Feb. 11,
although the official government figure stands at 160,000. A Gujarati
police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the local people
of Dangs were not happy about the event. "Most residents stayed in their
homes and did not take part," he said. "Most of the Dangs people who did
go to the rally were from the poorest tribes -- paid off by the organizers
who offered free food and transport." (Compass/Assist News Service)

UNJUSTLY IMPRISONED PERUVIAN CHRISTIAN FREED AFTER 13 YEARS

After serving 13 years for terrorist crimes he didn't commit, Walter
Cubas, a 42-year-old Peruvian evangelical labor worker, left Lima's
maximum-security Castro Castro Prison Wednesday, Feb. 1, as a parolee. A
member of the non-denominational Pentecostal church, Christ Lives, Cubas
took part in a union demonstration in 1992 for which police arrested him
and other La Union workers claiming they were terrorist group subversives.
Cubas said he was deeply grateful to God and to Peace and Hope Association
lawyer Wuille Ruiz for securing his freedom. During his imprisonment, some
1,000 cards and letters kept his hopes alive. "God has constantly
protected me," Cubas said. "I haven't gotten sick, and my spirits haven't
been broken. I'm a still a person of worth, of work, of struggle, and I'm
always going to be called to take a stand for justice." (Compass)

WCC MEETINGS IN BRAZIL TO ADDRESS SHRINKING CONGREGATIONS

Leaders and envoys from across Christianity opened their most ambitious
gathering in nearly a decade today with a host of troubles on their
agenda, ranging from the faith's many internal rifts to easing discord
with Islam. The World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting in Porto Alegre,
Brazil -- its biggest since 1998 -- will seek to clarify new priorities
for a membership that covers more than 500 million followers: mainline
Protestant
denominations, Anglicans and Orthodox churches. The stunning growth of
Pentecostal and other evangelical-style churches has left many WCC members
struggling with shrinking congregations and declining influence in some
regions -- particularly in Africa, Latin America and now China. At the
same time, mainstream denominations are watching church attendance fall
steadily in Europe and elsewhere. Some experts believe that Pentecostals
and evangelicals will account for more than a third of the world's nearly
2.2 billion Christians by 2025. (WorldWide Religious News/Associated
Press)

WATER PROJECTS IN REMOTE AREA OF SUDAN

The strategy for bringing peace to western Sudan's war-torn Darfur region
may be in shambles with a worsening humanitarian crisis. But this hasn't
deterred the Persecution Project Foundation (PFF) from acting even before
peace is agreed upon and is working with refugees who have fled to
southern Sudan. "We have just completed four water wells in that area,"
said PFF's Matt Chancey. "This is a project we started last summer, but by
God's grace we've been able to complete four wells, and we're continuing
to dig another six." The well project is reaching 9,000 Muslim families in
a remote area. Several other humanitarian agencies were unsuccessful in
finding water in this isolated region. But when PFF found water, it opened
many doors for ministry, Chancey said. "The people are treating that as a
miracle, so it's actually an excellent opportunity for us to present these
people with the necessities -- [not only] the food and water they need to
survive, but also the living water of Christ which will feed their souls."
(Mission Network News)

THOUSANDS OF MIDDLE EAST COMPUTER USERS VISIT CHRISTIAN WEBSITES

Christian websites are receiving nearly 9 million hits per month from the
Middle East, reported the Strategic Resource Group (SRG). One Christian
organization hosting chat rooms for Arabic-speaking web users estimates
that more than 42,000 people visit those sites daily.

About 2,000 Bibles in the Arabic language are being downloaded from the
Internet each month, said SRG founder Paul Schultheis. One organization
estimates that 20 people per month are converting to Christianity as a
result of learning about the Christian faith on these Christian Internet
sites.

Although some Islamic governments attempt to block these websites, the
Internet generally knows no borders. More than half of the population in
the Middle East is 25 years old or younger, and many of these young people
own computers or have access to them. This technology has connected people
together through e-mail groups, networks, blogs and chat rooms.

Christian organizations are seizing the Internet opportunity to create
communities of people who can openly talk about faith issues in a safe
environment. In the greater Middle East, the Internet represents a crucial
growth sector for communicating the Christian message in Arabic, Farsi and
regional languages. (Assist News Service)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-16 16:34:01 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 16 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CHRISTIAN NURSING STUDENT APPARENTLY KIDNAPPED IN NIGERIA

MISSION OUTREACH CONTINUES IN HAITI AMID POST-ELECTION TENSIONS

CHINESE SECURITY AGENTS KEEP CLOSE EYE ON CHRISTIAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

CMDA INITIATIVE URGES DOCTORS TO GIVE 4% F RESOURCES TO THE POOR

Today's Top Stories:

CHRISTIAN NURSING STUDENT APPARENTLY KIDNAPPED IN NIGERIA

A nursing school in northern Nigeria's Sokoto state was closed down
Monday, Feb. 13, following the suspected kidnapping of a Christian student
by Islamic militants on Friday, Feb. 10. The extremists had accused Ladi
Mohammed -- a female student of the School of Nursing and Midwifery -- of
blasphemy against the Islamic prophet Mohammed. "For this reason the
militants -- who threatened to cut off her head -- hunted and kidnapped
her after she had fled from the school," said John Usman, a Christian
student at the institution. School authorities closed the school to avert
potential religious conflict. The institution had had already expelled
Ladi last week for allegedly making a "misguided and derogatory statement
against Islam." Sokoto is one of 12 northern Nigerian states that have
implemented the Islamic legal system, sharia. In the six years since
adopting sharia, Gov. Atahiru Bafarawa has Islamized all public policies,
creating room for what analysts call a rise in Islamic fundamentalism.
(Compass)

MISSION OUTREACH CONTINUES IN HAITI AMID POST-ELECTION TENSIONS

Haiti is turmoil waiting for a catalyst. In the days since national
elections on Tuesday, Feb. 7, where 63 percent of the public turned out to
vote, instability looms as the count continues. Violent protests and fraud
accusations are adding to the volatile mix.

Former Haitian President Rene Preval claims that massive fraud prevented
him from winning a first-round victory in last week's elections. He has
48.7 percent of the vote with 90 percent counted. If he fails to win a
majority, a runoff election featuring the top two vote getters will be
held on March 19.

The situation complicates travel and outreach, said Bill Evans of Men for
Missions, the layman's voice of OMS International. "The work still
continues," he said. "[But] we're very cautious about how we interact and
where we go."

Evans urges prayer during the coming days of transition. Amid the
threatened instability, the team is focused on sharing the peace of
Christ, including broadcasts from Christian station 4VEH. "Of course, 4VEH
has always endeavored to not be a political station," Evans said. "What
they do is offer a message of peace." (Mission Network News/Reuters)

CHINESE SECURITY AGENTS KEEP CLOSE EYE ON CHRISTIAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

China Aid Association (CAA) learned that the freedom of a prominent
Christian rights activist continues to be restricted by Chinese security
agents even after his release from a two-year prison term. Xu Yonghai, a
former psychiatric doctor at Beijing Pingan Hospital, has been under
surveillance since his release from a prison in Hangzhou in China's
Zhejiang province on Sunday, Jan. 29. Xu told the CAA that before his
release, Chinese security agents installed three video cameras in front of
his apartment in order to monitor his activities. Officials also failed to
return his identification cards. Xu's wife, Li Shanna, refused to sign a
form demanding she report her husband's activities to the Chinese
authorities. Xu was arrested in Beijing along with two others in November
2003 because of their role in documenting the destruction of churches and
the persecution of Chinese Christians. Both Xu and his wife lost their
hospital jobs after his arrest. (Evangelical News/Christian Newswire/China
Aid Association)

CMDA INITIATIVE URGES DOCTORS TO GIVE 4% OF RESOURCES TO THE POOR

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), the largest
faith-based organization of Christian doctors in the U.S., announced an
initiative Monday, Feb. 13, encouraging doctors to give of their time and
resources to help the poor. "We are pleased to be introducing the
'Four-Percent Solution' program to doctors around the country," said Dr.
Al Weir who directs the CMDA's campus and community ministries as well as
the international medical education outreach. "We're asking doctors to
consider committing to specific strategies to use God's blessings to them
in a way that blesses someone far less fortunate," he explained. "A doctor
may choose to spend two weeks a year -- about 4 percent of the year -- in
overseas mission work that directly impacts the healthcare, housing, job
skills or nutrition of the poor. Other doctors may consider . . .
accepting one uninsured patient out of every 25 patients -- 4 percent of
the patients they see. Yet others may choose to volunteer about eight
hours a month in a healthcare clinic for the poor . . . or supplement
their local church giving by contributing 4 percent of their net profits
to the poor through their church or another Christian ministry." (Assist
News Service)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-17 15:35:52 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 17 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio

Today's Headlines:

MILITANTS THREATEN TO BLOW UP PALESTINE BIBLE SOCIETY OFFICE IN GAZA

HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, PASTORS IN INDIA

EGYPTIAN SHEIKH TO FACE 'BLASPHEMY' CHARGES AFTER 10 MONTHS IN JAIL

MISSIONS CONFERENCE IN EGYPT ENCOURAGES LOCAL PASTORS

IBS RELEASES CONTEMPORARY SHONA BIBLE TRANSLATION IN ZIMBABWE



Today's Top Stories:



MILITANTS THREATEN TO BLOW UP PALESTINE BIBLE SOCIETY OFFICE IN GAZA

Armed militants have threatened to blow up the building housing the Gaza
office of the Palestine Bible Society unless it shuts its doors. The Bible
Society received a letter from militants containing the threats on Sunday,
Feb. 12. If these demands are not met, the letter warned, all residents
should leave the building by Tuesday, Feb. 28, as it would be blown up on
March 1. As a result of the letter, the landlord demanded that the office
close, at least temporarily. The building also houses several Muslim
families. "We take this very seriously," said a Bible Society spokesman.
"Their seriousness is already proved by the explosive device militants
placed at the door of the Bible Society the night of Friday, Feb. 3.
Around 11 p.m. the bomb exploded, destroying the steel and glass doors."
(Voice of the Martyrs/Open Doors)



HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK PENTECOSTAL CHURCH, PASTORS IN INDIA

In recent weeks the ministry of the Gospel Church of God in Indore, India,
has been targeted by Hindu militants. On Monday, Jan. 30, Jojin, the
church's assistant pastor, was distributing tracts in slum areas of the
city when he was accosted by members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(RSS) who beat him and chased him out of the area. On Sunday, Feb. 5, the
attacks continued when approximately 40 people entered the church compound
as the pastors were preparing for the morning prayer service. The mob
smashed in the door of the church and the mob began beating Jojin and
Pastor Jijo, a trainee. Some Bibles were also destroyed. Other Scripture
portions and worship books were gathered up and removed from the church.
The two pastors were paraded through the streets as the crowd humiliated
and thrashed them on the way. When police intervened, the injured pastors
were first detained but later taken to the hospital. Three of the
attackers have been arrested. The attackers have accused the pastors of
misleading the public and preparing them to be converted to Christianity.
(Voice of the Martyrs)

EGYPTIAN SHEIKH TO FACE 'BLASPHEMY' CHARGES AFTER 10 MONTHS IN JAIL

Imprisoned for 10 months without formal charges, the fate of an Egyptian
sheikh suspected of "blasphemy" (defaming Islam) will be decided at a
court hearing on Sunday, Feb. 19. Bahaa el-Din Ahmed Hussein Mohammed
El-Akkad was arrested last April but has yet to be officially charged.
El-Akkad's lawyer, Athanasius William, said the court could renew
El-Akkad's detention for six months, open a blasphemy case or release him.
William said the line of questioning indicated that the government
suspected his client of blasphemy. "In all of his interrogations, they are
accusing him of saying things against the prophet Mohammed, the Koran and
the prophet's friends," he said. The sheikh has faced increased abuse in
prison since two other suspects arrested with him reportedly spread rumors
that he had become a Christian and was baptizing Muslims into
Christianity. (Compass)



MISSIONS CONFERENCE IN EGYPT ENCOURAGES LOCAL PASTORS

Throughout the Middle East, pastors are often caught in the crossfire
between their culture and their faith. Global Advance Ministry's David
Shibley says his ministry saw an incredible hunger from Egyptian church
leaders during the ministry's Frontline Shepherd's Conference in January.
"With the seething undercurrent of unrest in the Islamic world right now,
anyone who is not perceived to be Muslim is sometimes considered
unpatriotic to the nation," he said. Ministry is also challenging in areas
where witnessing often results in harassment. Each year Global Advance
hosts and sponsors more than 40 such conferences around the world. These
events are catalysts for church planting and indigenous missions' efforts
aiming to provide national pastors and church leaders with a vision in
their hearts for the advance of the gospel. "These pastors, in particular,
have the job of living with their Muslim neighbors, loving them, being
salt and light and getting the gospel to them," Shibley explains. (Mission
Network News/Global Advance)



IBS RELEASES CONTEMPORARY SHONA BIBLE TRANSLATION IN ZIMBABWE

The International Bible Society (IBS) released a contemporary Shona Bible
translation recently in Zimbabwe, making God's Word more accessible to 10
million speakers there. More than 3,000 church and government leaders
welcomed the translation of God's Word in their contemporary language at a
dedication ceremony where IBS President Peter Bradley presented the Bible
to Zambian Vice President Arnai Joyce Mujuru. Leaders from Christian
denominations and churches, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and the Christian business community also
attended the ceremony. IBS Vice President P.L.N. Murthy added, "Inasmuch
as the nation of Zimbabwe is going through very challenging times, God's
Word becomes more meaningful each day. The launch of the Shona Bible plays
a crucial role in bringing a message of hope to the nation." Shona is
Zimbabwe's dominant language. (Mission Network News)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-22 16:17:51 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 22 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

ANTI-ISLAMIC CARTOONS SPARK VIOLENT ATTACKS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

UNIDENTIFIED MEN AMBUSH, BEAT PASTOR IN SRI LANKA

INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY PITS BIBLE AGAINST HIV/AIDS

SCRIPTURE TRANSLATION WORK MAKES SOLID PROGRESS WORLDWIDE

REVIVAL SWEEPS ACROSS ASBURY COLLEGE CAMPUS IN KENTUCKY

Today's Top Stories:

ANTI-ISLAMIC CARTOONS SPARK VIOLENT ATTACKS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

Up to 100 people may have died in the violence that rocked parts of
northern Nigeria Saturday, Feb. 18, following the publication in Europe of
satirical cartoons aimed at the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

Sources in northern Nigeria report that at least 30 churches and 250 shops
and houses were destroyed in Borno state when a peaceful protest in the
capital city of Maiduguri turned violent and a crowd armed with sticks,
machetes and iron bars rampaged through the town, destroying Christian
properties and targeting members of the clergy.

In one incident a husband and wife in Gamboro lost their six children and
all of their belongings when their house was torched, and in another a mob
placed a tire around one man, doused him with gasoline and set him on
fire. Eyewitnesses report that corpses were piling up in hospitals in
Maiduguri due to a lack of sufficient burial sites for casualties of the
violence.

Borno police said they had arrested 115 people. However, the violence only
abated when the Nigerian army was sent to the area to assist the police in
peacekeeping following appeals by local Christians for an evacuation and a
curfew.

On the same day, sources in Katsina state reported attacks on the
Christian and Igbo properties in the capital city. Although a curfew was
quickly put in place, reports indicate a death toll of at least seven
although the local police force insisted that one rioter had died, two
police officers were injured and 25 people arrested during the violence.
Religious tension was also reported to be growing in Kano and Niger
states.

Tensions escalated in Jos with a violent attack on a prominent Christian
family. In Wase, in Plateau state, Muslim students stabbed the driver of a
car and critically injured a pregnant woman and seven others after a road
incident. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

UNIDENTIFIED MEN AMBUSH, BEAT PASTOR IN SRI LANKA

As the pastor of the Assembly of God Church in Yakkala, Sri Lanka, was
returning from the market on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 8, he was
approached by three men he did not recognize. A report received from the
National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka indicated that the
men asked the pastor to identify himself. When he did, the men said they
had been waiting for him and began beating him. The pastor was admitted to
a local hospital with minor injuries, and a police report has been filed.
This was the latest in a series of attacks against the pastor and his wife
in recent years. (Voice of the Martyrs)

INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY PITS BIBLE AGAINST HIV/AIDS

Uganda's abstinence-based program, which now serves as a model for
countries around the world, is credited with reducing HIV prevalence in
that country from 18 percent in the early 1990s to 7 percent in 2005.
Following a similar track, the International Bible Society (IBS) is seeing
growth in its Scripture-based "Reach 4 Life" program, said Nancy
Barrazotto of IBS. "We are creating, through Reach 4 Life a biblical model
that gives the kids an understanding of who they are in the Lord." The
resource contains a gospel tract and a 40-day Bible study. The Reach 4
Life book contains a New Testament and 250 pages of notes that promote a
message of abstinence. Even a Muslim imam requested a copy of the book.
"Please, may we have it?" he asked. "HIV does not know whether a teen is a
Muslim, a Christian or a Hindu." (Mission Network News)

SCRIPTURE TRANSLATION WORK MAKES SOLID PROGRESS WORLDWIDE

In 2005 an additional four language groups received the full Bible in
their mother tongue for the first time, bringing the number of languages
in which the complete Old and New Testament exists to 426. The latest
Scripture Language Report, published by the United Bible Societies in
Reading, England, also showed that the New Testament was made available
for the first time in an additional 39 languages, making a total of 1,115.
Along with the 826 languages in which Bible portions exist, at least some
part of God's Word is now available to speakers of 2,403 languages.
Experts estimate more than 4,000 language groups still lack Bible
translations. (Assist News Service)

REVIVAL SWEEPS ACROSS ASBURY COLLEGE CAMPUS IN KENTUCKY

A student-led chapel service at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., that began
early Monday, Feb. 6, ended up lasting four days after students refused to
leave in what Asbury President Paul Rader called "a wonderful sense of the
Spirit's ordering." During Tuesday's chapel Rader said, "God continues to
move across the campus. We have had students in Hughes Auditorium
continuously since Monday at 10 a.m. when God came in such power and
blessing. Throughout the day there was a beautiful awareness of the
holiness of God. Many students took off their shoes with a sense of
standing on holy ground. God is answering the passionate and persistent
prayers of committed students who have been fasting and praying for weeks
for this kind of spiritual breakthrough. We are all rejoicing in it."
(Religion Today) =================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-23 16:39:40 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 23 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN PHILIPPINES RESPOND TO DEADLY LANDSLIDE

YOUTHS BEAT PASTOR IN INDIA, ACCUSING HIM OF 'FORCIBLE CONVERSIONS'

GROWING FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA HAMPERS MINISTRIES' EFFECTIVENESS

BIBLE LEAGUE DEDICATES NEWLY REVISED YORUBA BIBLE IN NIGERIA

100,000 TO ATTEND ASIA'S LARGEST CHRISTIAN CONVENTION IN INDIA

Today's Top Stories:

BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN PHILIPPINES RESPOND TO DEADLY LANDSLIDE

Missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB)
in the Philippines are calling for prayer as they prepare to respond to
the landslide Friday, Feb. 17, that buried the small village of Guinsaugon
on Leyte Island. More than 100 bodies have been pulled from the mountain
of mud that swallowed 375 homes. Filipino officials fear the death toll
could climb as high as 1,500. "We are saddened to know that more than
1,000 Filipinos have been buried alive," said Carl Miller, an IMB
missionary to the Philippines. "Sadder still is the fact that most of
these Filipinos have died without knowing Christ as their personal Lord
and Savior and will spend eternity separated from God." Though no IMB
personnel were in Guinsaugon when the landslide hit, a team has been sent
to the village to assess the damage and learn how they can best help. The
missionaries ask people to pray for an end to the heavy rains that
initially caused the landslide and continue to slow rescue efforts. IMB
personnel also have requested prayer for wisdom and safety of the rescue
crews as well as the IMB team headed to Guinsaugon. (Evangelical
News/Baptist Press)

YOUTHS BEAT PASTOR IN INDIA, ACCUSING HIM OF 'FORCIBLE CONVERSIONS'

Accusing a pastor in the northern state of Punjab of "forcible
conversion," an East Indian woman from Canada and three unidentified
youths Wednesday, Feb. 8, beat the Christian leader so severely that he
required hospital treatment. After discussing a land dispute in Khamachon
village in the Nawanshahr district, Surjeet Kaur slapped Balhar Singh,
pastor of Doaba Punjabi Christian Sabha. She accused him and the area's
Christian community of holding "forcible conversions." Then she ordered
three youths who were with her to beat him. Village leaders called police
who immediately took Singh to a hospital where he was treated for a deep
cut on his face near the cheek bone. The local police station, however,
did not register a formal complaint against Kaur and the youths until the
village leaders met with a senior police official. (Compass)

GROWING FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA HAMPERS MINISTRIES' EFFECTIVENESS

Continued famine in East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania is
hindering Christian outreach in the region. In Kenya, 3.5 million people
are at risk from the food crisis, up from 2.5 million. Bruce Okkema of the
En Gedi Resource Center in Kenya says the outreach has partnered with
Special Ministries, an organization that works primarily with orphans, by
working to feed approximately 14,000 people in the area as they await the
return of the rainy season in March. The resource center also trains
Kenyans to improve their communities. "The ministry component is somewhat
passive in the sense of what we would normally think of as active
evangelism," he said. "But the ministry is coming through help and love,
sharing the love of Christ with the community." Drought is also causing
food shortages in Tanzania, including Grace Ministries' Bible Tatanda
Bible School. Reports indicate that students have no food and will not be
able to come to school as the shortages have led to inflated food prices.
(Mission Network News)

BIBLE LEAGUE DEDICATES NEWLY REVISED YORUBA BIBLE IN NIGERIA

Bible League staff members have completed a revision to the 106-year-old
Yoruba Bible which was officially dedicated during a ceremony in Ibadan,
Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 18, just two years after beginning the project.
"We glorify Jesus because He granted our team such favor," said Rev.
Joseph Owens, Bible League's vice president of ministry in Africa. Three
Bible League staff members in Nigeria worked between 60 and 80 hours a
week to complete the project. They were helped by a committee of Yoruba
scholars who updated the spelling and language. More than 23 million
Yoruba speakers live in Nigeria, making it the second largest ethnic group
in Africa. An estimated 10 million Nigerian Christians have no Bible. The
first shipments of the revised Yoruba Bible are expected to arrive in
Nigeria in next month. (Bible League)

100,000 TO ATTEND ASIA'S LARGEST CHRISTIAN CONVENTION IN INDIA

The 111th Maramon Convention, billed as Asia's largest annual Christian
convention, began Sunday, Feb. 19, on the riverbank at Maramon, India. The
weeklong event, expected to be attended by more than 100,000 people
throughout the week, was organized by the Mar Thoma Evangelical
Association, the missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of
Malabar. Evangelists David Hawkins of England, Bill Newman of Australia
and Martin Alphons and Sam Kamalesan of the U.S. will deliver discourses
at different sessions. Delivering the keynote address, Hawkins called for
a change in man's mindset to take on the challenges of modern world,
emphasizing the need to be "poor in spirit" with the first step being the
"negation of egotism." (Religion Today/The Hindu)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-24 16:27:07 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 24 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

HINDU MILITANTS IN INDIA DESTROY CHURCH, SCHOOL, BOOKSTAND

'BLASPHEMY' RUMOR PROMPTS MUSLIM MOB TO TORCH 2 PAKISTANI CHURCHES

UNIDENTIFIED MEN ATTACK WELL-KNOWN CHRISTIAN SINGER IN PAKISTAN

UPDATE: PAKISTANI COURT RELEASES CHRISTIAN ACCUSED OF 'BLASPHEMY'



Today's Top Stories:



HINDU MILITANTS IN INDIA DESTROY CHURCH, SCHOOL, BOOKSTAND

A church building, a school and a bookstand operated by Hopegivers
International were destroyed in Ramganjmandi in the Kota district of
northwestern India's Rajasthan state Friday, Feb. 17. The problems began
when Hindu militants purchased a book from a display that contained
negative references to Hindu gods. However, it is believed the violence
may have been intended to prevent the school's graduation ceremonies
planned for Feb. 23-26 just as Hindu militants attempted to do in 2005.
The purchase of the book is seen as an attempt to provide justification
for the anti-Christian violence. After receiving police warnings,
Hopegivers postponed the ceremonies. The only people detained by police in
the case were three mission workers. (Voice of the Martyrs)



'BLASPHEMY' RUMOR PROMPTS MUSLIM MOB TO TORCH 2 PAKISTANI CHURCHES

A crowd of 500 Muslims burned down two Pakistani churches and a convent
school Sunday, Feb. 19, in the southern province of Sindh following rumors
that a copy of the Koran had been desecrated. St. Mary's Catholic Church
and St. Savior's Church of Pakistan were attacked in Sukkur by a crowd
wielding gasoline bombs, said Vicar General John Murad of the Hyderabad
diocese. Pakistani media and government sources said the attack was
triggered by rumors that a Christian threw a copy of the Koran into a
trash can. But local sources said that the violence occurred after a
Muslim was arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Koran in a scheme
to frame his Christian father-in-law. After torching the inside of St.
Savior's, the mob turned on the home of Pastor Ilyas Saeed Masih, then
they destroyed the 120-year-old St. Mary's edifice. "They burned it
completely, only the walls are standing with a shabby roof," Murad said.
(Compass)



UNIDENTIFIED MEN ATTACK WELL-KNOWN CHRISTIAN SINGER IN PAKISTAN

A well-known Christian Pakistani pop singer, A. Nayyar, was attacked near
the Punjab chief minister's house on Thursday, Feb. 16, following a
recording session. Asian News International reported that Nayyar was on
his way to his home when he was intercepted by about six unidentified men
who hit him and stole his money. Upon recognizing him, the men forced the
singer to recite the Kalima, a Muslim prayer that "declares non-Muslims'
conversion to Islam." The incident has frightened members of religious
minorities in Pakistan who are concerned that Christians may face
increased persecution. His wife said the attack may be linked to the
recent protests against publication of the controversial cartoons of the
Islamic prophet Mohammed. Nayyar's music is popular among both Christians
and Muslims in Pakistan. (Assist News Service)



UPDATE: PAKISTANI COURT RELEASES CHRISTIAN ACCUSED OF 'BLASPHEMY'

Yousaf Masih, a Pakistani Christian detained on "blasphemy" charges, has
been released. His alleged crime led to the eruption of violence last
November against the Christian community in Sangla Hill, a village about
80 miles northeast of Lahore. On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Anti-Terrorism
Court granted him release on bail. Masih, released immediately, said he
was happy and thanked all those who had supported him. Two days later, 65
of 85 Muslims detained for the assault on churches in Sangla Hill were
also released on bail. Last month Mohammad Saleem Kalu, the man who had
charged Masih with blasphemy, withdrew the accusation and signed a
document declaring the man's innocence. Saleem said he had accused the man
on the basis of "mere suspicion." The blasphemy charge against Masih, a
semi-illiterate farmhand, prompted a mob of about 2,000 Muslims to torch
three Christian churches, a convent, two Catholic schools and the homes of
a Protestant pastor and a Catholic parish priest as well as a hostel for
girls and the homes of some Christians in Sangla Hill. (Religion Today)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-25 17:59:10 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 25 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

NRB HEAD WARNS U.S. CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS OF POTENTIAL THREATS

FAMILY FLEES IRAN TO AVOID DEATH PENALTY FOR BECOMING CHRISTIANS

CONTINUED INSTABILITY IN NEPAL TAKES INCREASING TOLL ON MINISTRIES

UPDATE: NTM CORRECTS INACCURATE PRESS REPORTS ABOUT VENEZUELA

MOVIES WITH MORAL CHRISTIAN VALUES AGAIN SHOW HIGHER PROFIT

Today's Top Stories:

NRB HEAD WARNS U.S. CHRISTIAN BROADCASTERS OF POTENTIAL THREATS

The annual National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Dallas,
Texas, wrapped up Wednesday, Feb. 22, with warnings of potential threats
to the members' proclamation of biblical teachings. NRB President Frank
Wright said some U.S. Congressmen would like to reinstate the fairness
doctrine which until 1987 required stations to offer airtime to opponents
on controversial issues. Wright noted that much of Christian teaching is
controversial and that donors would be less likely to support Christian
stations that are forced to spend half their time airing opposing views.
NRB Chairman Ron Harris talked about the opposition Christians already
face in the Muslim world and suggested that God may be preparing Christian
broadcasters to offer hope in some future crisis or disaster.
(AgapePress/Associated Press)

FAMILY FLEES IRAN TO AVOID DEATH PENALTY FOR BECOMING CHRISTIANS

Facing the death penalty in their home country for converting to
Christianity, an Iranian refugee family has left Turkey for the U.S. where
they have been accepted for resettlement. Zivar Khademian and her three
adult children boarded a flight to New York the morning of Thursday, Feb.
23, after traveling all night by bus to Istanbul from their temporary home
in the central northern Turkish city of Kastamonu. The family stayed
overnight in New York before flying to Lincoln, Neb., today where they
will resettle with the assistance of a local refugee aid organization.
Though the U.S. accepted the family for settlement in November,
uncertainty regarding details of their emigration continued to plague the
refugees up until their departure. (Compass)

CONTINUED INSTABILITY IN NEPAL TAKES INCREASING TOLL ON MINISTRIES

Ten years of Maoist insurrection in Nepal has pushed the country to the
brink of humanitarian crisis. The armed conflict has claimed an estimated
15,000 lives, many of them civilians targeted by government and rebel
forces, says Nicanor Tamang who works in IN Network's Nepali office. "The
political situation in our country is very uncertain and fluid," he said.
"You never know what's going to happen tomorrow." Tensions have increased
nationwide as monarchists, Maoists and parliamentary forces vie for power.
"[As a result] the church is not able to do many things that we would like
to do," Tamang said. In the past 10 years Maoist forces have targeted
civilians who have resisted the rebels' demands. Often those civilians are
believers who have been caught in the crossfire. Tamang adds that while
the church is strong, he urges prayer "because Christians are still not a
recognized minority. Sometimes when we want to have a team of people go to
a certain village, we can't go because of mistaken identities." (Mission
Network News)

UPDATE: NTM CORRECTS INACCURATE PRESS REPORTS ABOUT VENEZUELA

While missionaries with New Tribes Mission (NTM) in Venezuela have left
tribal areas as ordered by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, NTM's Nita
Zelenak denies media reports that they have been forced to leave the
country. On Sunday, Feb. 12, NTM completed its pullout from remote
villages, but they remain in Venezuela. "At this point there's a lot of
just waiting and seeing because of no access with the tribal groups," she
said. A second inaccurate report stated that the case appealing the
president's order had been thrown out. Zelenak says it could take a year
before the courts make a ruling, but hope remains. "What we're doing now
is pursuing all legal means that we can for the case that's before the
Supreme Court in Venezuela," she said. "We're waiting for their decision
on whether or not they will annul the order." The Supreme Court accepted
the appeal and will hear the case in coming months. (Mission Network News)

MOVIES WITH MORAL CHRISTIAN VALUES AGAIN SHOW HIGHER PROFIT

Hollywood movies that positively portray faith and values continue to earn
significantly more money than those displaying explicit and immoral
themes, said MOVIEGUIDE Publisher Ted Baehr in his latest annual report.
Movies reflecting positive moral and religious standards earned an average
of $45 million at the box office in 2005, 65 percent more than those
reflecting negative standards which averaged only $27.3 million. "This
study proves what movies Americans really prefer," he said. "Hollywood
executives take notice. If you focus on traditional faith and family
values, your movies will earn at least an average of $18 million more at
the box office." Baehr also found that movies with strong Christian
worldviews and strong moral worldviews averaged $65 million and $62.5
million respectively -- almost three times as much as movies with strong
non-Christian, anti-biblical, anti-Semitic and immoral worldviews,
averaging $23.7 million. Movies rated G or PG earned an average of $43
million, 192 percent more than R-rated movies which averaged only $14.7
million in 2005. (Assist News Service)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-28 02:32:32 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 27 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

MUSLIM RIOTERS KILL 10 CHRISTIANS, TORCH 9 CHURCHES IN NIGERIA

MISSING EGYPTIAN CHRISTIAN KIDNAPPED, PRESSURED TO CONVERT

RUSSIA CONTINUES TO TIGHTEN ITS GRIP ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

RWANDAN CHILDREN TO RECEIVE 70,000 EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Today's Top Stories:

MUSLIM RIOTERS KILL 10 CHRISTIANS, TORCH 9 CHURCHES IN NIGERIA

Muslim rioters killed 10 Christians and set ablaze nine churches in
Kontagora in central Nigeria's Niger state the night of Thursday, Feb. 23.
Militants in Kontagora joined their counterparts in northern Nigeria to
protest what Muslims see as the "blasphemous" cartoons published by a
Danish newspaper depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed. "The Muslim
fanatics attacked Christians and burned churches throughout the night,"
said Joseph Bawa, a Christian resident of Kontagora. The militants clubbed
Bawa and his family. "I was beaten up by these Muslims," he said. "It is
only God who saved me. I would have been killed." (Compass)



MISSING EGYPTIAN CHRISTIAN KIDNAPPED, PRESSURED TO CONVERT

Missing for more than a month, a young Christian woman has telephoned her
relatives and reported being imprisoned in a Cairo apartment while facing
pressure to convert to Islam. Last seen in the village of El-Saff, 30
miles south of Cairo on Tuesday, Jan. 3, Theresa Ghattass Kamal briefly
contacted her aunt on Jan. 24. She told her aunt that she had not yet
succumbed to her unknown captors' demands that she become a Muslim. Her
phone call contradicted earlier police statements that she had converted
to Islam voluntarily and did not want to see her family again. The Kamal
family traced the origination point of the 19-year-old woman's call to an
apartment in Cairo's Shubra district owned by a Muslim named Mostafa
Mahmood Ali. A local priest characterized Ali's house as a "dangerous
place, full of fundamentalists." (Compass)



RUSSIA CONTINUES TO TIGHTEN ITS GRIP ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

A new law that limits outside non-governmental organizations may now reach
all religious groups in Russia. Russia's Kommersant news service repots
that draft amendments to the Act on Freedom of Worship and Religious
Associations will allow the Federal Registration Service to inspect
religious
organizations, which has many evangelical Christian organizations
concerned. Vice President of Russian Ministries, Sergey Rakhuba says,
"It's quite disturbing news, and not just to Russian Ministries, but to
many different denominations and churches in Russia, because the Russian
parliament and President Putin they are trying to pass an amendment to
control all religious organizations." Rakhuba says this is reminiscent of
the days of the Soviet Union. "The media (is) already controlled by the
state. Non-government organizations are already controlled by the state,
the Russian parliament is controlled by the Presidential power, and now
with this they try to control other religious groups in Russia." Russian
Ministries provides pastoral and leadership training in ministry centers
in many of the former Soviet block nations. (Mission Network News)



RWANDAN CHILDREN TO RECEIVE 70,000 EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Samaritan's Purse is partnering with Hope Rwanda: 100 Days of Hope, to
send 70,000 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to Rwandan children this
year. A news release explains that these gifts will be early Christmas
presents for the thousands of children who have been affected by the
genocide that killed almost 1 million Rwandans in 1994. Between April and
July, gospel singer and songwriter Darlene Zschech and her husband, Mark,
are coordinating "Hope Rwanda: 100 Days of Hope," a project to encourage
the church worldwide and bring the hope of Jesus Christ to the people of
Rwanda. The project is supported by various Christian humanitarian
organizations, worship bands, churches and Christian leaders. "We knew
about the genocide, but it wasn't until 10 years on, while we were there
that we understood the depth of what took place and its ongoing impact. We
were challenged to the core by the plight of the Rwandan people," said
Zschech. (Assist News Service) =================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-01 03:31:44 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: March 1 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:



MISSIONARIES, CHRISTIAN FAMILIES FLEE NORTHERN NIGERIA AMID THREATS

FOUNDER OF CREATION SCIENCE MOVEMENT DIES AT AGE 87

LITERATURE MINISTRY CONTINUES IN IRAQ DESPITE ESCALATING VIOLENCE

CHURCH INVOLVEMENT CRUCIAL TO FIGHTING HIV/AIDS IN RWANDA

JERUSALEM APPROVES TEMPORARY EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN CENTER



Today's Top Stories:



MISSIONARIES, CHRISTIAN FAMILIES FLEE NORTHERN NIGERIA AMID THREATS

When a faction of Muslim rioters in northern Nigeria posted leaflets
warning Christians to leave or be killed, four missionaries with Christian
Reformed World Missions fled the area along with 15 Nigerian Christian
families.



Dave and Jan Dykgraaf of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Larry and Rose Van Zee
of Pella, Iowa, braved a six-hour drive through the mostly Muslim regions
of northern Nigeria on their way to a temporary safe haven in the central
Nigerian city of Abuja Sunday, Feb. 16.



"The Catholic compound is nearly destroyed [in the northwestern town of
Kontagora]," said Dave Dykgraaf in an e-mail message. "Reports are that
many people were killed and burned last night.. In Gulbin Boka [a village
about 25 miles north of Kontagora] we saw the letters that had been
attached to the houses or shops of [Christians]." The letters, written in
Hausa, read: "You Christians go back to your land. If you do not go back
we will kill you."



While threats may be linked to the widely publicized Danish cartoon
depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, there has been a long history
of tensions among Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria. The majority
of residents in the north are Muslim, and 12 northern states have
instituted sharia (Islamic law) which discriminates against non-Muslims.
Most Christians in Nigeria live in the south. (Christian Reformed Church
News)



FOUNDER OF CREATION SCIENCE MOVEMENT DIES AT AGE 87

Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the modern Christian creationist movement,
has died in California at the age of 87. He passed away in the presence of
his family the night of Saturday Feb. 26, after being hospitalized earlier
this month following a series of strokes. Morris's 1961 book, The Genesis
Flood, helped launch the modern creationist movement which holds to the
belief of a literal seven-day creation less than 10,000 years ago and a
biblical worldwide flood. He also founded the Institute for Creation
Research where he remained president emeritus after his retirement. Morris
is the author of more than 45 books and numerous articles. He was a former
faculty member at Rice University (1942-46), University of Minnesota
(1946-51), University of Southwestern Louisiana (1951-56) and Southern
Illinois University (1956-57). Morris also served as former head of the
Department of Civil Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University (1957-1970) as well as being former president of Creation
Research Society (1967-1973). He leaves behind his wife of 66 years, Mary
Louise, five children, 17 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
(Assist News Service/AgapePress)



LITERATURE MINISTRY CONTINUES IN IRAQ DESPITE ESCALATING VIOLENCE

As violence in Iraq continues to escalate, Open Doors remains committed to
carrying out its ministry in the country. Last year the ministry
distributed 20,000 Arabic children's Bibles, set up 12 libraries for
adults and children in churches nationwide, translated six children's
booklets and produced a special music cassette. This year copies of the
handbook, Counseling Youth, as well as a newly published daily devotional
called One Year Through the Bible and the "Chronicles of Narnia" series
will be distributed throughout the country. Open Doors will also produce
and print 40 brochures and leaflets concerning medical issues, opening
opportunities to build bridges between Muslims and Christians. (Open
Doors)



CHURCH INVOLVEMENT CRUCIAL TO FIGHTING HIV/AIDS IN RWANDA

Kay Warren, co-founder of Purpose Driven Ministries, is working to help
stop the ravage of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Saddleback Church, where Warren's
husband, Rick is the senior pastor, has adopted a church-to-church global
plan known as P.E.A.C.E., an acrostic that stands for planting churches,
equipping servant leaders, assisting the poor, caring for the sick, and
educating the next generation. The P.E.A.C.E. team found that the Rwandan
government is launching new initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS, and church
involvement is crucial. By overcoming stigma and opening their doors to
meet community needs the true source of peace is brought closer to the
people. "In some areas, there may not be a health center or clinic, but
there are churches," Warren said. "If churches can be providers of
medication and testing, then it makes health care more accessible." The
first P.E.A.C.E. team will visit Rwanda later this spring. (Mission
Network News)



JERUSALEM APPROVES TEMPORARY EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN CENTER

Jerusalem city officials have authorized the temporary establishment of an
evangelical Christian worship center on the Mount of Olives. The Jerusalem
Post reported that the center, a large prayer tent, will be established at
the end of March behind the Seven Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives
facing the Temple Mount. A city spokeswoman said a provisional permit for
the site has been approved by the city for March and April with
possibility of being renewed for two additional months. "Its establishment
comes at a time of burgeoning ties between Israel and the predominantly
pro-Israel evangelical Christian community around the world," the
newspaper reported. Organizers hope that the center will become a
permanent fixture and that the city will extend the interim permit.
(Assist News Service)=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-03 15:09:36 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 3 March 2006

1st March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:

RADICALS FULFILL THREAT TO DESTROY BIBLE SOCIETY OFFICE IN GAZA

BILLY GRAHAM TO JOIN HIS SON AT FESTIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS

YEMEN EXECUTES ISLAMIC MILITANT WHO KILLED 3 U.S. MISSIONARIES

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES CONSIDERS IDEA TO 'THINK SMALLER'

LUTHERAN MEMBERSHIP LAGS BEHIND WORLD POPULATION GROWTH

Today's (February 28) Top Stories:

RADICALS FULFILL THREAT TO DESTROY BIBLE SOCIETY OFFICE IN GAZA

Armed militants who threatened to blow up the building that houses the
Palestine Bible Society office in Gaza unless the leaders shut its doors
fulfilled their promise on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

"The Muslim terrorists broke the windows in and then threw homemade bombs
in the building," said Tom Doyle of e3 Partners Ministry. "They sprayed
out Bible Society of Gaza and wrote, 'Leave our land. Get out of here. God
is greater. Following in the footsteps of the prophet Mohammed.'"

No one was injured, and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hamas shifted the blame to even more radical groups such as al-Qaeda and
Hezbollah.

Despite the setback, Doyle says Christians continue to have a positive
attitude. "They feel bad about the building, but they're thankful nobody
was hurt," he explained. "Over and over they were saying, 'Thank the good
people for praying for us because we just sensed God's presence in the
midst of this, and we weren't afraid.'"

While these attacks are intended to curtail the spread of the gospel,
Doyle says it's doing just the opposite. "You see believers that have
before had a little bit of fear all of a sudden just feel the presence of
God and the spirit welling up in them and they become more brave and more
out there with their faith. And so, whenever there's persecution, good
things happen." (Mission Network News)

BILLY GRAHAM TO JOIN HIS SON AT FESTIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS

For 10 years an interfaith group in New Orleans tried to get the Billy
Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to schedule a campaign in the city.
But because not enough of a cross-section of the Christian community would
commit to being involved, the organization said the time wasn't right.
That all changed after Hurricane Katrina hit. Within days Franklin
Graham's Samaritan's Purse organization was on the ground, assisting in
disaster relief efforts with food, water and spiritual counseling. With
support from the community, the BGEA agreed to underwrite a festival set
for Saturday-Sunday, March 11-12, in the New Orleans Arena which seats
18,500. In late January evangelist Billy Graham joined the effort saying,
"New Orleans has been on my heart. I've been praying for the city, and I
believe God wants me to go." Longtime team members George Beverly Shea and
Cliff Barrows are also expected to take part in the historic event.
(Evangelical News/Baptist Press)

YEMEN EXECUTES SECOND GUNMAN FOR KILLING 3 U.S. MISSIONARIES

On Monday, Feb. 27, a Yemeni firing squad executed a second Yemeni gunman
for killing three Southern Baptist medical missionaries more than three
years ago. Abed Abdul Razak Kamel was convicted for the Dec. 30, 2002,
shooting deaths of three Jibla Baptist Hospital staff members. Those who
died in that attack included Hospital Director William Koehn, 60,
physician Martha Myers, 57, and purchasing agent Kathleen Gariety, 43. A
pharmacist was seriously wounded but later recovered. Yemeni officials
believe Kamel and another gunman, Ali al-Jarallah, who was executed in
December 2005, had ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. The terrorist
group, headed by Osama bin Laden, has ancestral roots in Yemen. Police
found bin Laden audiotapes at Kamel's house. (Mission Network
News/WorldWide Religious News/Associated Press)

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES CONSIDERS IDEA TO 'THINK SMALLER'

The World Council of Churches has seen each of its meetings grow bigger
and more ambitious in the past six decades. But now even some of the most
ardent backers of the council's mission are wondering if smaller may be
better, reported the Associated Press. During the council's recent global
assembly in Brazil -- bringing together 4,000 envoys from more than 350
churches -- delegates challenged the group to look hard at whether such
parliament-style "mega-meetings" are relevant at a time when Christianity
is being rapidly reordered around the world. In the West, mainline
Protestant churches face graying congregations and declining influence.
Some denominations such as Anglicans are in danger of splintering over
disputes on gay clergy and same-sex marriage. Pentecostal and evangelical
movements, meanwhile, keep steamrolling across Africa, Latin America and
elsewhere -- but accounted for less than 2 percent of participants at the
council gathering which ended Thursday, Feb. 23. The keynote address of
the conference repeatedly raised the idea that Christian churches need to
find clearer ways to connect and cooperate beyond simply sharing the stage
at meetings and issuing joint communiques. (Religion Today/Associated
Press)

LUTHERAN MEMBERSHIP LAGS BEHIND WORLD POPULATION GROWTH

The total number of Lutherans grew only slightly in 2005, increasing by
0.3 percent to 69.8 million -- well below the world population growth of
1.2 percent. On the whole, Lutheran churches registered growth in Asia and
Africa while figures are mostly stagnating or decreasing in the Americas,
Australia and Europe. Statistics published by the Lutheran World
Federation in Geneva, Switzerland, an organization representing about 95
percent of all Lutherans, show the highest growth is in Africa where
approximately 1 million members were added last year, up 6.4 percent to 15
million. The number of Lutherans in Asia increased by nearly 26,000. In
Europe Lutheran membership dropped by nearly 600,000 to 38 million while
Latin America and the Caribbean suffered slight declines. Lutheran
membership in North America church dropped by almost 1.2 percent to 8.2
million. (Assist News Service) =================
2 March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio


Today's Headlines:



AUTHORITIES RAID CHRISTIAN SCHOOL IN CHINA, ARREST 36 PEOPLE

NORTH KOREA AGAIN TOPS LIST OF WORLD'S WORST PERSECUTING NATIONS

CHRISTIAN GROUP LAUNCHES WEBSITE TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON NORTH KOREA

VIOLENCE FAILS TO IMPEDE BIBLE DISTRIBUTION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

AFRICA MERCY TO BE LARGEST NONGOVERNMENTAL HOSPITAL SHIP



Today's Top Stories:



AUTHORITIES RAID CHRISTIAN SCHOOL IN CHINA, ARREST 36 PEOPLE

Police in China arrested 36 people, including pastors and students, in a
raid on a school that is operated by an underground church. A U.S.-based
religious rights group reported that more than 50 police officers, some in
anti-riot gear, swooped down on the school in Anhui province at about 10
a.m. Wednesday, March 1, as classes were about to begin.



The Texas-based China Aid Association has released a statement saying that
officers from the Chinese Public Security Bureau armed with electric
batons took almost everyone in the Little Shanghai Tailoring School into
custody. The school teaches the Bible and sewing.



All 36 detainees were released the same evening following international
pressure, and officials allowed the school to reopen. However, the 10,000
copies of Christian literature which authorities confiscated were not
returned. Instead, they were given to a government committee that will
rule whether or not the literature is "illegal."



The owner of the school is Pastor Chu Huaiting, a well-known house church
leader who serves as vice president of the Chinese House Church Alliance.
The alliance was established in 2004 and consists of approximately 300,000
members coming from various house church movements scattered across 21
provinces.



The arrests were believed to be part of a wider crackdown against a
network of churches that refuse to register with the government. China
allows worship only in state-approved churches. The AFP news agency
reported that local police have either denied knowledge of the incident or
refused to comment. (WorldWide Religious News/ABC News/Assist News
Service/Evangelical News/China Aid Association)



NORTH KOREA AGAIN TOPS LIST OF WORLD'S WORST PERSECUTING NATIONS

For the fourth straight year, the isolated communist nation of North Korea
remains atop the 2006 Open Doors "World Watch List" of 50 countries where
Christians are persecuted the most. The annual list ranks countries
according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively
pursuing their faith. Though exact figures are not available, Open Doors'
staff estimates that hundreds of Christians were killed by the regime in
2005. "North Korea is the most repressive nation in the world," said Open
Doors USA President Carl Moeller. "It certainly deserves its No. 1 ranking
on the 2006 World Watch List. It breaks my heart to hear some of the
atrocities against the people there." Rounding out the top 10 are Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Maldives, Bhutan, Yemen, Vietnam, Laos and China.
(Open Doors)



CHRISTIAN GROUP LAUNCHES WEBSITE TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON NORTH KOREA

A new website dedicated to mobilizing and facilitating prayer for North
Korea, was launched Tuesday, Feb. 28. The website,
www.prayfornorthkorea.org, is part of the annual Global Week of Prayer for
North Korea that runs June 19-25. The website is an inter-agency
initiative designed to focus worldwide attention on the need to pray for
the desperate plight of the country's 22 million people. "North Korea has
long been shrouded in secrecy, masking it from the interest and prayers of
the outside world," said Elizabeth Batha, Christian Solidarity Worldwide's
international advocate who started the Global Week of Prayer. "The level
of brutality and the suppression of the gospel should make this a key
prayer focus for the worldwide church." Numerous resources have been
created and made accessible through the website to enable prayer and
facilitate the running of meetings. The website's launch coincided with a
historic prayer vigil in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 29-March 1, attended by
about 26,000 believers. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)



VIOLENCE FAILS TO IMPEDE BIBLE DISTRIBUTION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA

Religious violence between Christians and Muslims is spreading throughout
Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerians have died in sectarian strife since 2000
when the mostly Muslim northern states began implementing sharia (Islamic
law). The most recent attacks followed protests over the publication in
Europe of controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The Bible
League's Joseph Owens says it's a vicious cycle of reprisals. "We offered
to evacuate our staff in these areas, and they all said 'no.' Their family
members have been moved to safe places, and we're just being cautious at
this point." Owens says the need for ministry teams is greater than ever.
"Even in northern Nigeria we've placed more than 60,000 Hausa Bibles."
Some 10 million Nigerian Christians are still without a Bible, and
thousands more are coming to Christ each day. (Mission Network News)


AFRICA MERCY TO BE LARGEST NONGOVERNMENTAL HOSPITAL SHIP

The international board of Mercy Ships has confirmed that two of the
global charity's veteran hospital ships will be retired in mid-2006 as the
newest Mercy Ship, the Africa Mercy, enters active service. The Mercy Ship
Anastasis will sail to Ghana at the end of May to connect with the Africa
Mercy and transfer expertise, crew and equipment. The Caribbean Mercy will
be retired as well, having finished its tour of duty this winter serving
as a base of operations for hurricane relief efforts on the U.S. Gulf
Coast. Scheduled to be commissioned in the Port of London in April, the
Africa Mercy will claim the title of the world's largest nongovernmental
hospital ship and is expected to double the number of direct medical
beneficiaries being served by the two ships. Crew members from the
soon-to-be-retired ships have been invited to consider service on the
Africa Mercy or elsewhere within the organization. The Anastasis has been
home to nearly 400 volunteer crew members from 40 nations, some of whom
have served onboard for more than 15 years. (Assist News Service)
====================
The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-04 15:48:31 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 4 March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS REQUIREMENTS FOR CHURCH PERMITS

PASTOR IN CUBA WRONGLY ACCUSED OF AIDING ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS

PAKISTANI PASTOR ABDUCTED, TORTURED BY ISLAMIC KIDNAPPERS

2 PROTESTANT CHURCHES IN BELARUS FACE INCREASING LEGAL PRESSURE

SWAZILAND SEEKS 'YOUNG HEROES' TO HELP FAMILIES RAVAGED BY AIDS

Today's Top Stories:

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS REQUIREMENTS FOR CHURCH PERMITS

The Indonesian government has completed the revision of a controversial
decree on the establishment of places of worship. It requires that all
religious faiths must review requests for permits to build places of
worship and then provide recommendations to the local government. Back to
the Bible's Frans Silalahi says the requirement to plant a church is
unique. "You have to ask permission from 70 people who are unbelievers to
set up one church. That's what the law says." In order to build a church,
the government also requires a membership of 100 people. "We (may not)
have a chance to build a church any more, but it doesn't mean there aren't
any more Christians in Indonesia," Silalahi said. (Mission Network News)

PASTOR IN CUBA WRONGLY ACCUSED OF AIDING ILLEGAL EMIGRANTS

Cuban authorities jailed an evangelical pastor and former president of his
denomination Monday, Feb. 20, on charges of aiding illegal emigrants.
Relatives of the Rev. Carlos Lamelas said the allegations against him are
groundless. "They accuse him of getting people out of the country
illegally, which is a big lie," said a relative. "If he had that kind of
money, he wouldn't be living with hunger like he is now." Some sources
believe police targeted Lamelas because he has challenged the Castro
regime on religious rights issues. Police allowed his wife, Uramis, to
visit him for 10 minutes on Monday, Feb. 27, one week after his arrest.
She said he appeared exhausted and depressed and that he had been isolated
from other inmates during his confinement. A family friend said Uramis has
hired a lawyer, and has asked for prayer as she begins a legal battle to
free her husband. (Compass)

PAKISTANI PASTOR ABDUCTED, TORTURED BY ISLAMIC KIDNAPPERS

At about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, Rev. Joseph Praim was walking to
his bank in Lahore, Pakistan, to pay a bill when a car stopped near him.
Islamic preachers jumped out and grabbed him. A handkerchief was placed
over his mouth, and he soon lost consciousness. Local sources said the
pastor of the Full Gospel Assemblies Church was robbed and woke up in a
dark room where he was tied up, beaten and threatened with death. His
abductors told him, "You belong to Christianity and your Christian
brothers made derogatory cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in Denmark; that's
why we are going to kill you." After five days without food or water, he
was finally left on the road, tied up. Praim is now in hiding as he
recuperates from his captivity. (Voice of the Martyrs)

2 PROTESTANT CHURCHES IN BELARUS FACE INCREASING LEGAL PRESSURE

Two Protestant churches in Minsk, Belarus are facing increasing pressure
because of restrictive registration laws, reported the Forum 18 News
Service. Pastor Georgi Vyazovsky of Christ's Covenant Reformed Baptist
Church has been charged with holding unsanctioned religious services.

On Sunday, Feb. 5, a local district official entered Vyazovsky's home as
the congregation of 30 met for Bible reading and prayer. When a police
officer arrived a few minutes later, the church members refused him
entrance. The official responded by accusing the pastor of violating
church registration laws. The court hearing against him is scheduled for
Friday, March 3.

On Sept. 20, 2005, the Belarusian Evangelical Church had its legal status
removed by a city court. Pastor Sabilo has since been ordered to pay all
court costs related to the case. With just 12 members and living on a
meager pension, Sabilo told the court that he was unable to pay the fine
of 127,500 rubles (US$59). He was told that bailiffs would make an
inventory of his property for confiscation. At last report, this has not
yet happened. (Voice of the Martyrs)

SWAZILAND SEEKS 'YOUNG HEROES' TO HELP FAMILIES RAVAGED BY AIDS

Swaziland's National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) has
announced the inauguration of Young Heroes, a program through which people
around the world can sponsor orphan families in Swaziland with monthly
donations of food and clothing. With more than 42 percent of adults (age
15-49) infected, Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV in the world.
UNICEF estimates that more than 70,000 children in the country's
population of 1 million have already lost at least one parent. "Our
greatest desire is to encourage young people with advantages to help their
peers who have little or nothing," said NERCHA Director Derek von Wissell.
A crucial goal of Young Heroes is to keep families together on their
homesteads and in their communities where they have the most security and
are surrounded by a familiar support system. (Religion Today)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-07 15:31:01 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 7 March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CHINA IGNORES NEW RELIGIOUS RIGHTS, KEEPS RESTRICTING WORSHIP

LAST OF VIETNAM'S 'MENNONITE SIX' RELEASED FROM PRISON

UPDATE: BIBLE SOCIETY DAMAGED BY BOMB ACTUALLY IN WEST BANK

BIBLELANDS, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY JOIN TO BUILD HOMES IN EGYPT

ROBERTSON LOSES SEAT ON NATIONAL RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS BOARD

Today's Top Stories:

CHINA IGNORES NEW RELIGIOUS RIGHTS, KEEPS RESTRICTING WORSHIP

One year after China introduced new regulations on religious rights,
freedom to worship remains restricted, according to a quote from a human
rights group in a March 1 Reuters news story. The rules that took effect
in March 2005 enshrine religious belief as a basic right of all citizens,
but China still forbids worship outside designated religious
organizations, fearing the growth of groups that could challenge Communist
Party rule. "Local officials continue to repress religious activities that
they determine to be outside the scope of the state-controlled religious
system," the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
Catholics who worship outside the state-backed Catholic Patriotic
Association, Muslim Uighurs, Tibetan Buddhists and Protestant house
churches are among those that risk punishment for practicing their
religions. (Religion Today)

LAST OF VIETNAM'S 'MENNONITE SIX' RELEASED FROM PRISON

Pham Ngoc Thach, a Vietnamese evangelist imprisoned for "resisting an
officer doing his duty," was released Friday, March 3, after completing a
two-year sentence in a prison in Dong Nai province. Thach and the Rev.
Nguyen Hong Quang were arrested in March 2004 after they discovered two
undercover police agents staking out Quang's house and reported their
presence to city officials. When Thach and a teacher surnamed Hien went to
take a picture of the police motorbike for evidence, the policemen
attacked them and a scuffle ensued. Christians later learned that, while
Thach was in police custody, officers beat him until he passed out. Thach
and five other Mennonites who eventually came to be known as the
"Mennonite Six" were charged with "resisting officers of the law while
doing their duty." Church officials say the men had simply insisted that
policemen who were investigating them should follow correct legal
procedures. (Compass)

UPDATE: BIBLE SOCIETY DAMAGED BY BOMB ACTUALLY IN WEST BANK

Christians in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Israel are asking
Christians around the world to continue praying for them despite erroneous
information being reported. Because of a language barrier and
miscommunications with people in the area, e3 Partners mistakenly reported
to Mission Network News that the Palestine Bible Society building in Gaza
was blown up on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Tom Doyle of e3 Partners said the building damaged by a bomb was actually
another Bible Society in West Bank called Living Stones-not the one in
Gaza. "The one in Gaza was threatened to be bombed on Feb. 28 or
afterwards, and that threat is very much still alive."

Doyle said he expects violence will only escalate as radical Islamic
groups move into the region. "With the cartoons, and some of the things
that are coming out of Iran, with some of the threats, it just seems to be
a real difficult point right now in the Middle East and so believers are
just asking that we would pray for them."

Despite the increase in threats and hostilities, Doyle says the believers
have remained strong. "Instead of going and hiding they are serving Christ
with a passion and reaching out to people. They are certainly brothers and
sisters that we can be very proud of in their courageous stand for
Christ." (Mission Network News)

BIBLELANDS, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY JOIN TO BUILD HOMES IN EGYPT

A ministry called BibleLands and Habitat for Humanity have joined forces
in a three-year scheme that will result in new homes for 558 of Egypt's
poorest families. U.K.-based BibleLands has embarked on the challenge of
raising at least US$260,000 to improve housing conditions in the Upper
Nile communities of El Kom, El Akhdar and El Sakakrya. Widespread poverty
in the region gives rise to unstable and unsanitary living areas. Mud
bricks and insecure brushwood roofs offer the perfect environment for
vermin and disease. BibleLands and Habitat for Humanity plan to help
families raise capital and work together with their neighbors, both
Christian and Muslim, to renovate and build secure homes in which they can
look forward to a healthier and safer future. Later in this year
BibleLands will send its first team of volunteers to Egypt to work
alongside villagers in constructing new buildings. "Here at BibleLands'
headquarters we are all very enthusiastic about the whole program and the
tangible benefits it will have for so many people," said Director Nigel
Edward-Few. (The Good News)

ROBERTSON LOSES SEAT ON NATIONAL RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS BOARD

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, criticized by some evangelicals for
recent controversial comments, lost a bid for re-election to the National
Religious Broadcasters' board of directors, reported the Associated Press.
Robertson, founder of the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting
Network, was one of 38 candidates for 33 board seats during the NRB's
recent convention. The group represents mostly evangelical radio and TV
broadcasters. NRB President Frank Wright said there was no broad effort to
distance the group from Robertson. But there was "broad dismay with some
of Pat's comments and a feeling they were not helpful to Christian
broadcasters in general," he said in Wednesday's Washington Post. In the
past few months, Robertson suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
should be assassinated and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
stroke was divine punishment for pulling out of the Gaza Strip. A
Robertson spokeswoman said Thursday that he had been a board member for 30
years but attended only one board meeting "due to his extensive schedule."
(Religion Today) =================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-08 14:58:19 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 8 March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

BELARUS PASTOR IMPRISONED FOR LEADING HOME WORSHIP

HINDU NATIONALISTS SEEK TO CLOSE CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN INDIA

TRIBE FROM INDIA SENDS MISSIONARIES TO EVANGELIZE WALES

VOICE OF THE MARTYRS SENDS GOD'S WORD INTO RESTRICTED NATIONS

SURVEY: MOST U.S. CHRISTIANS 'BAFFLED BY HOLINESS'



Today's Top Stories:



BELARUS PASTOR IMPRISONED FOR LEADING HOME WORSHIP

Pastor Georgi Vyazovsky of the Minsk-based Christ's Covenant Reformed
Baptist Church was imprisoned for 10 days for conducting religious worship
in his own home. This is the first time in nearly twenty years that
religious worship has incurred a prison sentence on the territory of
Belarus. "We expected that my father would be found guilty," the pastor's
son Stanislav Vyazovsky remarked on the day of the trial. "[The
punishment, however] was a real shock to all of us who were present." The
church tried and failed to get re-registration under Belarus' highly
restrictive 2002 religion law, which bans all but occasional religious
worship in private homes. District administration officials raided
Vyazovsky's church several times "with the aim of exposing religious
organizations without
registration." (Forum 18 News Service)



HINDU NATIONALISTS SEEK TO CLOSE CHRISTIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN INDIA

Christians continue to be the targets of violence in India's Rajasthan
State, hitting the ministry of Hopegivers International especially hard.
Hopegivers Bill Bray says Hindu nationals are upset with a book of
comparative religions that takes a negative view of Hinduism. Bray says
even though it wasn't published by Hopegivers, the Hindu government is
reacting as if it were. "In Cota, where our headquarters is located, they
have revoked all of the licenses of all of our institutions en masse. So,
the police are going around, putting up cease and desist orders on the
schools, on the hospital, on the orphanage." Despite the pressure,
Hopegivers healthcare workers and orphanage workers aren't giving in. "The
doctors and the nurses said, 'well, you can take us and the patients to
jail if you want, people will die. We can not close the hospital.' It's a
statewide organized effort." The national government is concerned by the
thousands of people coming to Christ in Rajasthan. "The National Human
Rights Commission, of the federal government, has appointed an
investigator, which is a good sign." In the meantime, Hopegivers has
established a legal defense fund for those that have been arrested.
(Mission Network News)


TRIBE FROM INDIA SENDS MISSIONARIES TO EVANGELIZE WALES

Tribes from India that were converted to Christianity by missionaries from
Wales decades ago are now sending their own missionaries to evangelize the
Welsh because they believe that the country is in a state of religious
decline. The diocese of Mizoram in northeastern India sent one missionary
to south Wales and is planning to send a second in April, helping the
Welsh Presbyterian Church with its shortage of ministers. Rev. Hmar
Sangkhuma, who now works in Wales as a "mission enabler" in Maesteg, said
that many people in Wales are suffering from a "spiritual void." People
from the Mizoram area were converted to Christianity by the Welsh between
1840 and 1960 until more than 80 percent of the population became
Christian. Wales is traditionally seen as one of the most religious areas
in Britain following the great revival of 1904. However, that has
declined, and the 2001 census showed that fewer than one in 10 people in
Wales regularly attended church or chapel. (WorldWide Religious
News/Telegraph)



VOICE OF THE MARTYRS SENDS GOD'S WORD INTO RESTRICTED NATIONS

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has launched what it calls the "Bibles Unbound"
program giving Christians in the U.S. a chance to help get copies of God's
Word to nations where access to the Scriptures has been limited or
virtually nonexistent. VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton notes, "We're working
directly with our brothers and sisters inside these restricted nations.
They are the ones collecting the addresses and the names for us to send
these Bibles to, and they are planning ways that they can follow up after
a Bible mailing has been done." Bibles Unbound participants are encouraged
to pray for the people they are mailing the Bibles to, with a reminder
that this may be the first time that anyone has prayed for them by name.
VOM is able to mail the Bibles directly into many restricted nations using
non-U.S. postage provided in cooperation with United Parcel Service and
the International Remail System. New Testaments are now being sent to
China and Egypt through the Bible Unbound program. (Evangelical News/Agape
Press)



SURVEY: MOST U.S. CHRISTIANS 'BAFFLED BY HOLINESS'

The concept of holiness is woven throughout the Bible and is one of the
foundational teachings of many Protestant churches, but a new nationwide
telephone survey conducted by the Barna Group indicates that most adults
remain confused, if not daunted, by the concept. Three out of every four
adults (73 percent) believe that it is possible for someone to become
holy, regardless of their past. Only half of the adult population,
however, says that they know someone they consider to be holy. Fewer than
half that number actually consider themselves to be holy (21 percent). The
views of born-again Christians are not much different from the national
averages. When pressed to describe what it means to be holy, adults gave a
wide range of answers. The most common reply was "I don't know," offered
by one out of every five adults (21 percent). Evangelicals and people with
a biblical worldview were among respondents most like to say that God
expects them to become holy. The survey results also indicated that young
adults (39 or younger) are less likely than middle-aged and older adults
to believe that God expects holiness of His people. (WorldWide Religious
News/Barna Research Group)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-03-09 16:11:55 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 9 March 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

CHRISTIAN GROUPS CONDEMN BOMBINGS IN HINDU PILGRIMAGE CITY IN INDIA

PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN WOMAN ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY, BEATEN

MINISTRY HOLDS TRAINING TO HELP ALLEVIATE PASTOR SHORTAGE IN CHINA

OUTREACHES JOIN FORCES TO RESURRECT SPIRIT OF EASTER TO THE HOMELESS

SURVEY: NUMBER OF CHURCHES IN U.K. CONTINUES GRADUAL DECLINE

Today's Top Stories:

CHRISTIAN GROUPS CONDEMN BOMBINGS IN HINDU PILGRIMAGE CITY IN INDIA

Joseph D'souza, president of the All India Christian Council, and John
Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union and the Delhi United
Christian Action, have issued a joint statement denouncing the twin bomb
blasts that rocked the Hindu pilgrimage city of Varanasi in northern
India's Uttar Pradesh state Tuesday, March 7.



Fourteen people are confirmed dead at a Hindu temple and a railway
station, and more than 100 were injured, officials told the BBC. Some
reports put the death toll at more than 20, but this could not be
confirmed. Islamic militants are suspected of carrying out the attacks,
but so far no group has claimed responsibility.



The joint statement said that the "innocent blood of children, women and
men has been shed in vain, as such attacks advance no political cause, nor
do they serve any group of people. What they do achieve is in inflicting
suffering on the common people and setting back national peace and
reconciliation processes.



"Such violence also serves the purpose of fundamentalist and religious
extremists who thrive on exacerbating real and imagined divides and
grievances which further their pernicious political and social agendas.
They want national attention and energies diverted from development, from
the fight against poverty and hunger and from the long struggle of the
Dalits for human dignity."



While the terrorism isn't directly aimed at believers, Gospel for Asia
President K.P. Yohannan believes that if the recent past is any
indication, with passions stirred up, the persecution will get worse.
"Already it's a daily event, not in one place, but literally in hundreds
of places all over the country," he said. "It is so widespread, our people
are no longer reporting small things like, 'They burned the Bibles' and
'They beat somebody up.' And only the major reports are coming in."



Police killed two of the suspected terrorists earlier today -- one in
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and another in New Delhi, Junior Home Minister Sri
Prakash Jaiswal told reporters in New Delhi. It hasn't been established
whether the two had any connection with the Varanasi bombings that took
place a week before the Hindu Festival of Colors on March 15. (Assist News
Service/BBC News/Bloomberg/Mission Network News)


PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN WOMAN ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY, BEATEN

A mentally-handicapped Christian woman has been accused of desecrating the
picture of Khana Kabbah, a Muslim holy place in Saudi Arabia to which
millions of Muslims from around the world make a pilgrimage every year.
The Pakistan Christian Post reports that a Muslim resident of the area
came across a desecrated picture of Khana Kabbah in Naseem Bibi's street
on Friday, March 3. Assuming that the picture was hurled from Bibi's house
he rushed to her house and started shouting that Bibi had defecated on the
picture. His shouts invited the attention of other Muslim residents who
started thrashing her. One of Bibi's accusers called the police who then
came and arrested her. (Assist News Service)



MINISTRY HOLDS TRAINING TO HELP ALLEVIATE PASTOR SHORTAGE IN CHINA

China Partner Ministries' Erik Burklin says there are only 18 official
seminaries in China and a critical shortage of trained pastors. "There's
about one ordained pastor to every ten thousand believers," he said. China
Partner is working with the registered churches and seminaries in China to
provide leadership training to future church leaders and pastors. They
want to serve the church in China by providing additional training and
theological study books to help accelerate this process, according to
Burklin. He says they're partnering with the Jiangxi Provincial Bible
School. "We have set up a scholarship fund for poor students. This allows
that particular school to invite and allow for students in the countryside
who normally don't have enough money to be able to get theological
training at this Bible school to come and be prepared for ministry." This
project provides student scholarships and stipends for alumni serving as
pastors, and helps meet specific material needs of the school. (Mission
Network News)


OUTREACHES JOIN FORCES TO RESURRECT SPIRIT OF EASTER TO THE HOMELESS

The Appreciate Network and the Reciprocity Foundation, a pair of
ministries that fight homelessness, are launching two new programs to
coincide with the Easter holidays. On Wednesday, March 15, the Appreciate
Network will begin a fund-raising program to provide job training and life
skills programs for homeless youth run by the Reciprocity Foundation in
collaboration with leading youth homeless shelters. Cofounder Taz Tagore
said, "Christian holidays, in particular Easter, are a time to remember
our tremendous gifts and to share them with those in need." The
Reciprocity Foundation will also be launching free Spirit in Action
workshops at local churches, community centers and nonprofit organizations
nationwide to discuss new models for sacred service, case studies from the
foundation's innovative programs for homeless youth and the emergence of
social enterprise to encourage ethical consumption in the U.S. (Religion
Today)


SURVEY: NUMBER OF CHURCHES IN U.K. CONTINUES GRADUAL DECLINE

Initial findings from the English Church Census, a large-scale survey
conducted by Christian Research, an independent organization, show that
more churches are closing than opening in the U.K. The Methodist Church
suffered a net loss of about 300 churches in the last seven years, and the
Church of England fell by more than 100 during this period. This follows
figures released by the Church of England at the beginning of the year
that showed little sign of its long-term decline being reversed. Despite
the losses, more than 1,000 churches opened their doors with the biggest
growth being among Pentecostal churches. Christian Research Executive
Director Peter Brierley explained that the "losses in the older
denominations are faster than the gains in the newer ones." The research
organization previously suggested that churches may be heading for
"extinction" in England by 2040 with just 2 percent of the population
attending Sunday services, and the average age of congregants rising to
64. (WorldWide Religious News/Ekllesia)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-23 16:40:45 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 23 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN PHILIPPINES RESPOND TO DEADLY LANDSLIDE

YOUTHS BEAT PASTOR IN INDIA, ACCUSING HIM OF 'FORCIBLE CONVERSIONS'

GROWING FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA HAMPERS MINISTRIES' EFFECTIVENESS

BIBLE LEAGUE DEDICATES NEWLY REVISED YORUBA BIBLE IN NIGERIA

100,000 TO ATTEND ASIA'S LARGEST CHRISTIAN CONVENTION IN INDIA

Today's Top Stories:

BAPTIST MISSIONARIES IN PHILIPPINES RESPOND TO DEADLY LANDSLIDE

Missionaries with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB)
in the Philippines are calling for prayer as they prepare to respond to
the landslide Friday, Feb. 17, that buried the small village of Guinsaugon
on Leyte Island. More than 100 bodies have been pulled from the mountain
of mud that swallowed 375 homes. Filipino officials fear the death toll
could climb as high as 1,500. "We are saddened to know that more than
1,000 Filipinos have been buried alive," said Carl Miller, an IMB
missionary to the Philippines. "Sadder still is the fact that most of
these Filipinos have died without knowing Christ as their personal Lord
and Savior and will spend eternity separated from God." Though no IMB
personnel were in Guinsaugon when the landslide hit, a team has been sent
to the village to assess the damage and learn how they can best help. The
missionaries ask people to pray for an end to the heavy rains that
initially caused the landslide and continue to slow rescue efforts. IMB
personnel also have requested prayer for wisdom and safety of the rescue
crews as well as the IMB team headed to Guinsaugon. (Evangelical
News/Baptist Press)

YOUTHS BEAT PASTOR IN INDIA, ACCUSING HIM OF 'FORCIBLE CONVERSIONS'

Accusing a pastor in the northern state of Punjab of "forcible
conversion," an East Indian woman from Canada and three unidentified
youths Wednesday, Feb. 8, beat the Christian leader so severely that he
required hospital treatment. After discussing a land dispute in Khamachon
village in the Nawanshahr district, Surjeet Kaur slapped Balhar Singh,
pastor of Doaba Punjabi Christian Sabha. She accused him and the area's
Christian community of holding "forcible conversions." Then she ordered
three youths who were with her to beat him. Village leaders called police
who immediately took Singh to a hospital where he was treated for a deep
cut on his face near the cheek bone. The local police station, however,
did not register a formal complaint against Kaur and the youths until the
village leaders met with a senior police official. (Compass)

GROWING FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA HAMPERS MINISTRIES' EFFECTIVENESS

Continued famine in East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania is
hindering Christian outreach in the region. In Kenya, 3.5 million people
are at risk from the food crisis, up from 2.5 million. Bruce Okkema of the
En Gedi Resource Center in Kenya says the outreach has partnered with
Special Ministries, an organization that works primarily with orphans, by
working to feed approximately 14,000 people in the area as they await the
return of the rainy season in March. The resource center also trains
Kenyans to improve their communities. "The ministry component is somewhat
passive in the sense of what we would normally think of as active
evangelism," he said. "But the ministry is coming through help and love,
sharing the love of Christ with the community." Drought is also causing
food shortages in Tanzania, including Grace Ministries' Bible Tatanda
Bible School. Reports indicate that students have no food and will not be
able to come to school as the shortages have led to inflated food prices.
(Mission Network News)

BIBLE LEAGUE DEDICATES NEWLY REVISED YORUBA BIBLE IN NIGERIA

Bible League staff members have completed a revision to the 106-year-old
Yoruba Bible which was officially dedicated during a ceremony in Ibadan,
Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 18, just two years after beginning the project.
"We glorify Jesus because He granted our team such favor," said Rev.
Joseph Owens, Bible League's vice president of ministry in Africa. Three
Bible League staff members in Nigeria worked between 60 and 80 hours a
week to complete the project. They were helped by a committee of Yoruba
scholars who updated the spelling and language. More than 23 million
Yoruba speakers live in Nigeria, making it the second largest ethnic group
in Africa. An estimated 10 million Nigerian Christians have no Bible. The
first shipments of the revised Yoruba Bible are expected to arrive in
Nigeria in next month. (Bible League)

100,000 TO ATTEND ASIA'S LARGEST CHRISTIAN CONVENTION IN INDIA

The 111th Maramon Convention, billed as Asia's largest annual Christian
convention, began Sunday, Feb. 19, on the riverbank at Maramon, India. The
weeklong event, expected to be attended by more than 100,000 people
throughout the week, was organized by the Mar Thoma Evangelical
Association, the missionary wing of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of
Malabar. Evangelists David Hawkins of England, Bill Newman of Australia
and Martin Alphons and Sam Kamalesan of the U.S. will deliver discourses
at different sessions. Delivering the keynote address, Hawkins called for
a change in man's mindset to take on the challenges of modern world,
emphasizing the need to be "poor in spirit" with the first step being the
"negation of egotism." (Religion Today/The Hindu)
=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Russ T. Nale
2006-02-08 16:21:19 UTC
Permalink
Pray for the World: 8 February 2006 Update From HCJB World Radio
Today's Headlines:

VILLAGERS ATTACK CHRISTIANS IN INDIA'S ORISSA STATE, INJURING 10

UPDATE: CAR BOMBINGS MAY BE MEANT TO DRIVE CHRISTIANS OUT OF IRAQ

EGYPTIAN SISTERS WIN COURT BATTLE TO RETAIN CHRISTIAN IDENTITY

ALL CHURCHES IN NEW ZEALAND TOWN COMBINE TO HOLD EASTERFEST

CANADIAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS LAUNCH PLAN TO FIGHT VIOLENCE, POVERTY

Today's Top Stories:

VILLAGERS ATTACK CHRISTIANS IN INDIA'S ORISSA STATE, INJURING 10

Extremists encouraged Hindu residents of a village in the Malkangiri
district of eastern India's Orissa state to attack Christian residents on
Tuesday, Jan. 24, leaving at least 10 Christians injured with two
requiring hospitalization. Four missionaries from the Indian Evangelical
Team and 14 Christian families were at a believer's house in Koikonda
village when members of the Hindu extremist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS) reportedly gathered a group of about 50 people who surrounded
the home and demanded that the missionaries come out. As soon as the
missionaries complied, the mob started beating them and the other
Christians in the house. One of the missionaries, Vijay Kumar, fell
unconscious and did not regain consciousness until three days later. He
and missionary Baldas Gopal were hospitalized with serious internal
injuries. (Compass)

UPDATE: CAR BOMBINGS MAY BE MEANT TO DRIVE CHRISTIANS OUT OF IRAQ

A "hidden reality of persecution," including daily threats, kidnappings,
discrimination and most recently car bombings, is being used to drive
Christians out of Iraq, reported AsiaNews. Three people were killed and
another nine injured in a series of car bombings against Christian places
of worship in Kirkuk and Baghdad Sunday, Jan. 29. No one has claimed
responsibility for the attacks. AsiaNews said the bombings were designed
to "feed internal divisions and the ongoing political instability, but
also to drive the Christian community out of Iraq." One theory is that the
attacks were related to the recent cartoons that a Danish newspaper
published, mocking the Islamic prophet Mohammed. But Rabban Al Qas, a
Chaldean bishop, hypothesizes that behind this most recent violence there
are "forces intent on destabilizing and dividing the country." He added
that Christians in Iraq face constant discrimination. (Assist News
Service)

EGYPTIAN SISTERS WIN COURT BATTLE TO RETAIN CHRISTIAN IDENTITY

A pair of Coptic Christian sisters whose father had converted to Islam
when they were infants, have won a court battle in Egypt to retain their
official religious identity as Christians. Iman and Olfat Malak Ayet, now
18 and 19 years of age respectively, picked up their new identity cards,
matching their Christian birth certificates, on Saturday, Feb. 4. Although
the verdict was handed down on May 31, 2005, civil authorities refused to
implement the decision until late January. In the final verdict, presiding
Judge Farouk Ali Abdel Kader of Cairo's District No. 1 Administrative
Court declared that the civil authorities had conducted a "non-justified
intervention" by imposing upon the two plaintiffs a belief they had not
chosen. "It is not in any way acceptable that the civil authorities take
advantage of their authority to force the plaintiffs to embrace Islam,"
the ruling specified. (Compass)

ALL CHURCHES IN NEW ZEALAND TOWN COMBINE TO HOLD EASTERFEST

In Timaru, New Zealand, a sixth of the town's population is expected to
attend the seventh annual Easterfest Saturday, April 15, as the Easter
message will be threaded through a day of food and fun. Organizer Pat
Lamborn, pastor of the Timaru Assemblies of God, says every denomination
is coming together to present the festival. "We wanted to bring the focus
back on Easter as a Christian celebration," he said. "We particularly
wanted to touch the children of this city, and also families who don't
have a lot to spend. They get a great day out with their family, a feed,
lots of fun and hear, with no strings attached, a simple message of
Easter." The message is conveyed through a "discovery trail" made up of
about 16 interactive events that trace Jesus' entry in Jerusalem to the
resurrection. Different churches take responsibility for each stage. "It's
been very successful having such a broad spectrum of churches doing it
together," Lamborn said. "It's a wonderful spirit of cooperation, and many
people comment what a great atmosphere it is." (Assist News Service)

CANADIAN CHRISTIAN LEADERS LAUNCH PLAN TO FIGHT VIOLENCE, POVERTY

Christian leaders in Toronto began 2006 with action aimed at combating the
problem of gang violence and poverty. A group of pastors calling
themselves the GTA Faith Alliance announced plans to seek 400 mentors for
at-risk youth and open 70 drop-in centers and after-school programs in
their churches. The group hosted Eugene Rivers, a pastor credited with
helping to dramatically reduce violent crime in Boston, who calls the
church a powerful political force. "You shouldn't belong to any party, but
you need to be an advocate for the poor," he said. Al Bowen, senior pastor
of the Abundant Life Assembly in Rexdale, Ontario, added, "Everyone is
salt. Everyone is light. If you are not prepared to do that, then please
resign your status as a Christian and stop polluting the spiritual
atmosphere of Christ's church." Colin McCartney, executive director of a
ministry to at-risk youth, Urban Promise Toronto, believes there are many
Christians willing to help, but they often just don't know where to begin.
(Crosswalk/Religion Today)

=================

The opinion(s) expressed above are not necessarily rhose of this poster.
--
Russ T. Nale

http://grace.break.at

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-21 17:14:01 UTC
Permalink
Season's Bleatings Trivialize Christmas

http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/editorial/13385101.htm

LEONARD PITTS: SEASON'S BLEATINGS TRIVIALIZE CHRISTMAS




Let me begin by speaking the forbidden words: Merry Christmas. There, I
said it. So did the sky crack? Did the oceans turn to blood? Is a horde of
angry Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists storming the gates, demanding
a retraction? Or does the world look much the same as it did before?

I'm betting on the last.

So forgive me if I don't take up arms in the so-called War on Christmas.
In case you hadn't heard about it -- in other words, in case you have a
life -- let me bring you up to speed.

Recently, conservative and evangelical observers have been loudly
complaining about what they call a campaign to de-Christianize Christmas,
to unmoor it from its origin as the birthday of Christ. They have a litany
of complaints, but seem particularly vexed by word that some retailers
have been instructing their salespeople to greet customers with "Happy
Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas." This, as a way to avoid
excluding people of other faiths and no faith at all.

It's been a heated battle, and the complainers have not been guilty of
understatement.

"A secular and atheistic jihad," cries a guy named David Huntwork on the
GOPUSA Web site.

"Frightening," declares a traumatized Bill O'Reilly.

"A war on Christians," claims John Gibson, who wrote a book on the subject.

And a writer on the WorldNetDaily Web site warns of the possible
"persecution and outright criminalization of Christianity."

Well, gee golly.

They're putting so much energy into defending Christmas that one feels
downright churlish for pointing out that no one's attacking it. All we're
seeing here is an ever more pluralistic society struggling to balance the
faith of the majority with the rights and feelings of the minority.

Is it an imperfect process? Believe it.

For instance, in recent years the 80-foot decorated spruce erected at the
U.S. Capitol in early December has been designated the "holiday tree."
That's stupid. It's a Christmas tree. And if it's true, as some
conservative groups claim, that a Wisconsin elementary school rewrote the
lyrics to "Silent Night" to make them secular, somebody should be poked in
the eye with a candy cane. That's stupid, too.

On the other hand, the American Family Association is boycotting Target
stores to force them to say "Merry Christmas," and that's hardly a sign of
intelligence. How is the cashier supposed to know whether a customer is
Christian or not? Will there be a questionnaire?

More to the point, why is pluralism so hard for these people? Why does it
make them feel so put upon? Am I the only one who sends "Merry Christmas"
cards to his Christian friends and "Happy Holidays" cards to his other
friends and doesn't find it especially taxing?

What's offensive here is not the imperfect balancing of minority and
majority. What's offensive -- also surreal and absurd -- is the notion
that Christianity, a faith claimed by 76 percent of all Americans, is
somehow being intimidated into nonexistence. Some of the earliest
Christians were stoned for their beliefs. In some parts of the world
today, Christianity is a crime punishable by death. And the AFA is feeling
persecuted because a salesclerk says "Happy Holidays"?

That's not persecution. It's a persecution complex.

And it trivializes what Christians claim to uphold: the baby born of a
virgin's womb.

Of what importance is a salesman's greeting if you're one of the 76
percent who believe that? The greeting that matters was spoken by angels.
The book of Luke says they appeared before shepherds in a field: "Fear
not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to
all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord."

Linus said it best: "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
=================================================================

FAIR USE NOTICE: This post contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am
making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of
environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific,
and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of
any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US
Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

=================================================================
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
Bbd
2005-12-21 19:02:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by *Peace of Christ*
Season's Bleatings
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-17 18:46:15 UTC
Permalink
Is the 'war on Christmas' worth fighting against?

By Robert Marus

Published: December 15, 2005

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Is the "war on Christmas" one worth fighting? Despite
the dutiful culture warriors lining up to defend the religious trappings
of the holiday, some Christian ethicists aren't so sure it's a wise battle
to pick.

Since November, some conservative Christian personalities and
organizations have stepped up their annual efforts to pressure retailers
and government officials to dump generic or secularized references to the
"holidays" or the "season" rather than "Christmas." Retailers are
responding.

"This year, more than ever in my memory, people have really begun to think
about the reason for the season -- and I think it's because of what
happened in the retail market," said Mat Staver, president of the
Orlando-based Liberty Counsel. Staver's national association of
conservative Christian lawyers has led for years in activism bent on
keeping religious references in public holiday displays.

Retailers -- and government officials -- are taking notice:

-- In November, Staver's group succeeded in getting the mayor of Boston to
re-christen the official city "holiday tree" as a "Christmas tree."

-- The American Family Association threatened a boycott of Target until
the department-store chain promised it would use the word "Christmas" in
some of its advertising for the season.

-- Before Thanksgiving, conservative Southern Baptist televangelist Jerry
Falwell encouraged pastors on his e-mail list to "draw a line in the sand
and resist bullying tactics of the ACLU and others who intimidate school
and government officials by spreading misinformation about Christmas."

-- Fox News host Bill O'Reilly flogs the "War on Christmas" almost nightly
on his "O'Reilly Factor" show, where he lists retailers who aren't using
the "merry Christmas" greeting.

-- The Family Research Council is promoting a new book authored by
O'Reilly's Fox colleague, anchor John Gibson. It's called The War on
Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is
Worse Than You Thought.

-- Even President Bush hasn't escaped criticism. Some conservative groups
chastised the Methodist in the White House recently for not mentioning
Christ or Christmas in the million-plus holiday cards the Bushes sent to
friends, supporters and diplomats this year. The practice is no different
than in Bush's previous four holiday seasons in office.

What's going on?

According to religious-freedom expert Charles Haynes, the conflict is
superficial, but it gets at the heart of what it means to be an American
in a society of ever-expanding religious diversity.

"I think that they are -- many of these examples -- are distractions from
the real issues; I think they are red herrings. Or red and green
herrings," he said, with a laugh. Haynes is a First Amendment scholar at
the Washington-based Freedom Forum.

But the underlying issues aren't laughing matters, he noted.

"The examples about Wal-Mart not using 'Merry Christmas' in its ads,
Lowe's putting up signs that say 'holiday trees' they're reacting to a
kind of political correctness on the left, if you will, that has made us
all more sensitive to our religious diversity," Haynes said. "But this
religious correctness from the other side is equally ridiculous, you know
-- somehow telling people by saying 'happy holidays' they're
anti-Christian."

David Gushee, a Christian ethicist at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.,
said one's view of the conflict may very well depend on one's context.
"The shift to more generic holiday greetings can be read either as a
symbol of growing secularization in America or as an enhanced sensitivity
to the real religious diversity of our nation. Both are probably true," he
said, in an e-mail interview.

"As with many other church-state issues, here in the small-town South the
culture is so overwhelmingly 'Christian' that it strikes us as odd indeed
when 'Christ' is taken out of 'Christmas,'" Gushee continued. "It is easy
to forget that the rest of the country is much more diverse."

Haynes said much of the uproar owes to conservative Christians' reaction
-- perhaps an overreaction -- to a handful of ham-handed efforts by
government officials attempting to avoid holiday-season violations of the
First Amendment.

"For example, sometimes public schools do go too far in trying to be
inclusive or sensitive to diversity, end up improperly excluding
Christianity, and that's not right," Haynes said. "Now, that comes out of
a long history of controversy over the Christian domination of schools.
So it's understandable, but it's just not right."

Haynes should know. He is cited as a hero in Gibson's book for mediating a
2004 dispute in Mustang, Okla., over a public-school holiday play. A
cautious superintendent yanked a nativity scene at the last minute,
causing an uproar in the overwhelmingly conservative, overwhelmingly
Christian Oklahoma City suburb.

Haynes helped work out a compromise, and now the district has a clear set
of rules for holiday pageants. "This year, under the policy, they ruled
that December programs can include a scene from the Christian tradition --
a nativity scene -- but it will clearly be in the context that we are
learning about what Christians believe, just as would be the Hanukkah
scene," he said.

Many of the government actions that Falwell and other purveyors of the
"war on Christmas" have cited as part of their perceived anti-Christmas
plot would likely be interpreted as unconstitutional even by liberal
judges. Indeed, some of the very villains of Gibson's book have themselves
ended up on the side of aggrieved Christians in such cases.

The ACLU, for instance, joined Staver's group in a Massachusetts holiday
case two years ago. They were fighting to secure Christian students' right
to give their classmates candy canes with an attached religious message.
They won.

But Staver said that was an anomaly. "For years, the ACLU has been pushing
an anti-Christmas agenda," he said.

Staver agreed most judges would rule against many of the government
decisions to which he objects. But, he added, efforts by supporters of a
strict ban on government establishment of religion have led to the kind of
confusion that people like Haynes end up trying to rectify.

"The law is pretty well set forth," Staver said. "I think, however, what
has happened over the years is that, because of the agenda by the ACLU, I
think there's been a lot of confusion regarding nativity scenes or
regarding Christmas carols. And, I think, as a result of that, some
well-meaning government officials assume that the safe route is to
censor."

But those public officials are misguided, said Brent Walker, executive
director of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious
Liberty.

Walker noted that religious Christmas music, symbols and biblical texts
all can be used in schools and other government settings, as long as they
are non-devotional in nature and balanced with other aspects of the
holiday season. For instance, he said, public-school holiday concerts "can
and should include religious music along with the secular, as long as the
sacred does not dominate."

But Walker said that, in the private realms of retail policies and
everyday greetings, constitutional strictures are irrelevant.

"There's nothing wrong with calling it what it is: a Christmas tree. And
it is perfectly appropriate to extend a specific holiday greeting such as
my Jewish friends do when they wish me a 'Merry Christmas,' and I return a
'Happy Hanukkah,'" he said in a recent commentary on the subject.

"But often it's quite appropriate to wish another 'happy holidays' or
'season's greetings.' It's just a matter of good manners and common
courtesy. If I am talking to a person whose religious affiliation I do not
know, I will employ the more general greeting. And the same goes for
merchants who have advertised goods to Americans of many religious
traditions who may or may not celebrate Christmas."

Critics of the "war on Christmas" furor, including Walker, have suggested
that Falwell, Liberty Counsel and others may be fanning the flames of
controversy to aid year-end fundraising drives -- a charge they deny.

But Haynes and Gushee both offered deeper criticisms of the attempts to
re-Christianize the trappings of the holiday season.

"Christians really need to exhibit a deeper concern for the way 'Christ'
is used by 'Christmas' in order to stimulate a massive orgy of consumerism
and thus stimulate the American economy," Gushee said. "But that is a more
counter-cultural message than anyone seems willing to hear."

Haynes went further. "We're not talking about the religious Christmas
here. That's one of the strangest things about this; we have people saying
they are religious people defending the secularization of Christmas," he
said.

"And they're not saying they want stores to really focus on Jesus this
year, [they're] saying, 'No, we just want stores to continue to exploit
the Christian faith and use the birth of Jesus to sell things . One of the
oddities of this whole debate is that here you have these folks defending
the commercialization of Christmas.

"It's like defending the Easter Bunny -- that it's anti-Christian if you
don't have the Easter Bunny," Haynes continued. "You'd think they'd be
jumping up and down and saying, 'Great! You can have your Easter Bunny and
your darn tree and let us keep Jesus!' But no!"

Staver doesn't see it that way.

"I think anyone who says that this is not a battle worth fighting has no
clue of the attempts in America to secularize and censor Christmas," he
said. "Because of the secularization that occurs, whether it's in the
retail area or the public sector, they have a bleed-over effect."

He noted that other holidays -- Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day
-- are not "genericized" by retailers or news media.

"Why do we want to genericize Christmas?" Staver asked. "I think that
illustrates that there is really a clash over the central message of
Christmas, and that is really Jesus Christ. And I think that is definitely
worth fighting for."

Copyright 2005 Associated Baptist Press.
=================================================================

FAIR USE NOTICE: This post contains copyrighted material the use of which
has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am
making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of
environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific,
and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of
any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US
Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107

=================================================================
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*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
To send e-mail, remove "youhat" from address
*Peace of Christ*
2005-12-16 02:07:31 UTC
Permalink
The real Christmas scandal
by Jim Wallis

There is a Christmas scandal this year, but it's not the controversy at
shopping malls and retail stores about whether their displays say "Merry
Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." The real Christmas scandal is the budget
proposed by the House of Representatives that cuts food stamps, health
care, child support, and educational assistance to low-income families -
while further lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increasing
the deficit for all of our grandchildren.

That was the message we brought to the steps of the House office buildings
yesterday. The day was cold but the message was clear, as hundreds of
religious leaders and faith-based organizers who daily serve the poor
joined for what became a revival and prayer meeting in the United States
capital.


This was the culmination of a yearlong effort by people of faith to teach
our nation's political leaders that "a budget is a moral document." I was
proud to be one of the 115 pastors and leaders out of that group who were
arrested for kneeling in prayer. In the final stages of the budget process
this week, after praying and making our best arguments from afar, we
decided to take our prayers and presence to the steps of the Cannon House
Office Building.

After some powerful preaching on the steps and a press conference that was
more like a revival, we continued our praying and singing in front of the
entrance, symbolizing the denial of access to Congress for low-income
people. "Come walk with us!" we said as we invited members of Congress
into our neighborhoods to meet the people who will be most impacted by
their votes on a budget that virtually assaults low-income families. We
sounded like a choir (and a good one at that) as we sang Christmas carols
while being arrested, handcuffed, put into buses, and taken to a large
holding cell roughly a mile away.

We all noted how full of faith the day was for those involved. Many of
those who took part in the prayerful and nonviolent civil disobedience
were from groups such as the Christian Community Development Association,
whose member organizations around the country live and work alongside poor
people every day. Their founder, John Perkins - who at 75 was one of the
oldest people arrested - inspired us all as he has for 40 years of
faithful ministry among the poor.

The text we kept repeating at the Capitol Christmas vigil was from the
book of Luke - the best words ever about the true meaning of the coming of
the Christ child. Mary, the mother of Jesus, herself a poor woman from an
oppressed race and an occupied country, prophesied in her powerful prayer
of thanksgiving - the Magnificat - about the Messiah whom she carried in
her womb.

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for
he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now
on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great
things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has
scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down
the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled
the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty."

Though today on Capitol Hill Mary would be accused of class warfare for
uttering such words, they still bear the true meaning of Christmas. And
the budget and tax cuts being proposed by House leaders directly reverse
the priorities of Mary. For instead of filling the hungry with good things
and sending the rich away empty, this budget would fill the rich with good
things and send the hungry away empty!

So yesterday, on the House office steps, we tried to put Christ back into
Christmas. Thursday morning, The Chicago Tribune led with the headline
"Christmas Scandal Outcry!" and the story of the faith-inspired action in
Washington was in dozens of newspapers around the country.

Yesterday the faith community across the country stood up and spoke up.
Our vigil in Washington was followed by more than 70 vigils in more than
30 states. We prayed for a change of heart in our Washington leaders, we
prayed for the poor families we serve, and we prayed that those elected to
represent us act to protect the common good in ways consistent with the
Christmas message of hope.

The bipartisan Senate budget bill, in contrast, protects low-income
families, and yesterday senators passed resolutions vowing not to cut food
stamps and Medicaid in the final budget negotiations with the House. They
should be thanked and urged to stand firm.

So I have already received my Christmas present this year - the chance to
participate in a faithful and powerful witness to the real meaning of the
child who is born again to us this season. See the pictures and podcast of
the event, and read the testimonies of others - and you will also receive
the gift. Merry Christmas.
--
*Peace of Christ*
http://grace.break.at
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