Church & Ministry
Posted 3/21/17 at 8:48 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
A Sierra Leone pastor who supplements his income by working in the mines found one of the largest diamonds ever pulled from the earth, then gave it away.
Pastor Emmanuel Momoh found the gargantuan 706-carat stone in the Kono region. Experts said the stone could be worth as much as $62 million, depending on the quality. It was the largest diamond discovery since 1972, according to Africa Today.
Industry analysts said it is the 13th largest uncut diamond ever extracted.
Pastor Momoh presented the diamond to the president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, with instructions that the gem be used for the betterment of the poor in Sierra Leone.
“I believe the government can do more,” Momoh told Africa Today, “especially at a time when the country is undergoing some economic challenges.” The pastor said he would like to see improved access to electricity and transportation for the poor. FULL POST
Posted 3/17/17 at 8:24 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
God began to draw the child’s heart away from Islam even before he received his shoebox gift. As he learned that Jesus was more than a prophet, his mother became intrigued by what he shared, and a powerful love she had never known.
“We moved from my hometown to Meru and all the people in our neighborhood were Muslim, so we became Muslim,” Mary told Samaritan’s Purse. As a single mom, she moved there seeking a community that would help her and her son Clinton. After the move, a surprising series of events began to unfold.
In Kenya, Islam has been making gains along the coast and the northern border with Somalia, a Muslim stronghold. Meru, five hours north of Nairobi, is a major hub and common destination for transplanted Somalis.
At the nearby mosque Clinton attended with his mother, the instructors caned his legs when he mispronounced the Koran’s Arabic verses. FULL POST
Posted 3/14/17 at 7:15 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
Sandwiched between India and Myanmar, Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Often beset by floods, cyclones and tornadoes roaring through the Bengal Delta, it also has the sad distinction of ranking number one in the world for children suffering malnutrition.
Bangladesh is 89% Muslim and nearly 10% Hindu, according to the Joshua Project, with Christians numbering less than one percent.
One ministry leader, who recently completed a fact-finding trip to the country, believes Christians are being undercounted. “Christianity is much larger and growing, especially in the rural areas,” says Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International (CFI).
On his trip, Jacobson interviewed scores of indigenous Christian pastors, street evangelists, missionaries and converts to Christianity. “According to them, Christianity is on the increase and the growth is a cause of concern for the Muslim majority,” he notes. FULL POST
Posted 3/9/17 at 11:28 AM | David Fournier
As Christians, we look to the next world while doing our work in this one, but is your church working as effectively as it could be? According to many Christian leaders – such as Dr. Tim Keller – the church today is stuck.
We get caught on binary expectations – huge growth or loss of faith communities, assimilation or rigid communities of belief – when we should be seeking missionary encounters. But how do we change? And should we?
Change is necessary for the church to survive, but it needs to come from a place of experience and from people with fresh eyes. That means combining an understanding of the world of the church with outsiders from your community.
Consultants may be the answer.
There are about as many kinds of consultants out in the world as there are traditional jobs – if you can take on a role from within a business or organization, you can do it as an outsider, sharing expertise. That’s why you’ll find consultants that offer green business trainings, work-life balance courses, and far more unusual offerings. There are even consultants who teach people how to become consultants! FULL POST
Posted 3/7/17 at 8:26 AM | George Sarris
“Evangelicals congratulate themselves on their willingness to submit to the final authority of scripture. Yet they also have cherished beliefs that they defend to the hilt . . . Quite rightly, George Sarris insists that even these beliefs should be subjected to the test of scripture. In this work he engages in detailed and challenging scrutiny of the biblical teachings on hell, eternal punishment and condemnation. Even those who do not agree with his conclusions need to pay attention to his arguments.”
- Nigel G. Wright, Principal of Spurgeon’s College, London Council Member of the Evangelical Alliance, UK
Heaven’s Doors . . . Wider Than You Ever Believed! is a book about unlimited power and unfailing love working together to accomplish the greatest plan ever conceived. It’s a book about God’s plan to ultimately get each and every person through heaven’s doors. FULL POST
Posted 2/28/17 at 3:33 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
It was one of the deadliest earthquakes in India’s history, with some villages near the epicenter disappearing completely. One pastor and his team were beginning a mission conference in a five-story hotel only a short distance away. He believes his heartfelt cry to Jesus brought protection for him and his team.
“Around 20,000 people died,” Pastor John recalls of the Gujarat earthquake that hit at 8:46 in the morning on January 26, 2001. Pastor John ministers with Bibles4Mideast.
More than 170,000 were injured and a million left homeless. Many historical buildings were flattened by the 7.7 temblor.
Some structures fell like playing cards, and property damage totaled nearly $8 billion.
“We were about to begin a three-day missionary conference in a hotel in Ghandhidham,” he notes. “Thirty-five pastors had travelled from different parts of India to take part, and had rooms on several floors of the five-story hotel.” FULL POST
Posted 2/27/17 at 6:46 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
Four months ago, longtime YWAM missionary Jeffery Woodke, was kidnapped by armed terrorists in the West African nation of Niger.
On October 14, kidnappers rode up to his home in Abalak on motorbikes, shot his bodyguard and housekeeper and took Woodke captive. Before they departed, Woodke was forced to strip down to his underwear.
The terrorist group who abducted him is thought to be the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an Al-Qaida linked group.
Jeff Woodke’s home church is Arcata First Baptist Church (AFBC), which stands next to Humboldt State University in northern California, where Woodke gave his life to Christ as a student.
“Jeff’s passion in providing humanitarian aid to those who are amongst the poorest in the world, coupled with his desire to see God’s Kingdom advanced in a largely Muslim world has played a large part in the life and ministry of AFBC,” the church stated on their website. FULL POST
Posted 2/27/17 at 3:38 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
Earlier this month, a polarizing and provocative Jewish conservative was due to speak at UC Berkeley, but a peaceful protest turned into a riot, with bricks, rocks, and fireworks thrown, fires set, stores looted, and police barricades used as battering rams to breach the venue where this man was about to speak.
Under police escort, this controversial speaker had to be evacuated from the scene for his own protection, or he might have been torn apart by the mob.
That description is not much different from what happened to another polarizing and provocative Jewish speaker, the Apostle Paul, who seemed to stir up riots in many of the places he spoke some two thousand years ago.
What could have been so controversial? Why were people so riled up?
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave us a mission: to make disciples among every nation and people group throughout the world, to baptize them, and teach them to observe his commands. FULL POST
Posted 2/22/17 at 6:23 PM | Mark Ellis
By Mark Ellis
Since the early 90s, millions have left the church and they may not be returning, according to a disturbing report by Dr. Anthony Horvath, the director of Athanatos Christian Ministries.
“Numerous studies show that around 1990, the number of ‘religious nones’ increased from roughly 8% of the adult population to 25%, today,” Horvath notes. “Tens of millions of people left Christianity in just two decades. Clearly, something isn’t right.”
‘Nones’ are people who tell pollsters that they have no religious affiliation.
Horvath recently released a report titled, “Faith and Family Under Fire: Why Apologetics is Failing in the 21st Century.”
In the early phase of this trend, those who left the church said they had not lost interest in spirituality.
But in the last decade the ‘nones’ seem to have completely jettisoned spirituality. “There is a new dynamic and it does not bode well,” Horvath notes. “In the last 10 years they have turned against Christianity and are increasingly hardened toward religion in general.” FULL POST
In her book, “Six Pairs of Sandals: Yesterday’s Footsteps and Today’s Women’s Ministry,” author and speaker Dr. Deborah Waterbury highlights six women in the bible who personified the qualities of leadership. She also addresses specific areas of need for women to minister to other women within every local church, something she feels has been greatly lacking.
“In the last 10 years of working with women, particularly women in local churches, it has been sad to see how many churches are abdicating the ministry of women within their confines,” says Dr. Waterbury, who founded Love Everlasting Ministries in 2007. “Often it’s a matter of methodology, but just as often it is a matter of scarcity. Too many women either feel they are spiritually inadequate or that they simply lack the gifts necessary to minister to one another in their own home churches. I designed the book so that the reader can read a biblical example of each of the six broad categories of women ministering to women (teaching, prayer, mentoring, service, ministry leader, and small group leader), surmise which of those women she is most like, and then give her a list of practical ways she can step out and begin ministering to the women in her church in that way.” FULL POST