The Windowsill of Heaven
Every morning, lean thine arms awhile
Upon the windowsill of heaven,
And gaze upon thy Lord.
Then, with the vision in thy heart,
Turn strong to meet thy day.
Poem by Thomas Blake
In the early days of his ministry, Dr. Theodore F. Adams vacationed in Wisconsin where he attended an outdoor vesper service led by an Episcopal rector who recited the verse above. Dr Adams never forgot those words. He committed them to memory.
From 1936-1968 Dr. Adams served as senior pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. During that time he referred to this verse countless times as one of his favourites. He even had desktop placards made and sent to every member of the church.
Many readers are aware that the beautiful stained glass windows surrounding the FBC Sanctuary were part of a renovation project initiated by Dr. Adams in the late 1940s, but they may be unaware of the message he left in one of the windows by which we remember him today.
In the commission of the windows’ refurbishment, Dr. Adams’ goal was twofold. The larger windows that surround the balcony were to portray the significant events in the life of Jesus, while those below were to demonstrate how followers could live out Jesus’ lessons in modern times. Each upper window correlates to the one below it and is interpreted there for modern understanding. Each window is also accompanied by a scripture passage – except one.
There are two windows in the church picturing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, one in the Chapel and one in the Sanctuary. The Chapel window’s focus is on prayer, but the story in the Sanctuary’s window shows Jesus, having been strengthened by prayer, telling Peter, James, and John, “Behold, the hour is at hand—Rise, let us be going.” The light shining on Jesus comes from heaven and affirms Jesus’ declaration that, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”
The Garden of Gethsemane
Bathed in sunlight in the corollary window below kneels a lone figure, praying the very poem that begins, “Every morning, lean thine arms upon the windowsill of heaven.” These verses are not found in the Bible, but send the message that made such a marked impression on Dr. Adams’ life that he was determined it be memorialized in this window.
The Windowsill of Heaven
Could he have guessed that with each reading, those who remembered him would also see him reciting it before a congregation of First Baptist Church members, even today?
In writing about Dr. Adams, Dr. W. Randall Lolley, former pastor of FBC Greensboro, NC, says that Dr. Adams was a man, “who truly perceived the earth as the ‘windowsill of heaven.’ Every person he met, every event he enjoyed, every experience he knew worked ‘inside/out’ rather than ‘outside/in.’”
May we put into practice these words so dear to Dr. Adams.
Selected from ‘How I Learned to Pray for the Lost’, Back to the Bible pamphlet.
The author is anonymous.
The letter accompanying this testimony says in part: This is the result of my search for effective ways of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time. After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here I have seen them studying the Bible by the hour and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone. I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against the enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world.
Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to me to be an impossibility, the first verse that was given to me was Mark 10:27: “With God all things are possible.”
The next Scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: “(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations [speculations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all of this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.
Finally I was given the solid foundations for my prayers – the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.
To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and on the basis of His shed blood.
We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should also pray that their conscience maybe convicted, that God may bring them to the point of repentance and that they may listen and believe as they hear the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.
Intercession must be persistent – not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy – the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer.
We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Therefore we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony.
It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven. The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons, but also how to wear the armour that God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
How I Learned to Pray for the Sick
This is a result of my search for effective ways of praying for the sick. I found it produced results after persisting in hope and faith. At first it was mostly in hope. I know that God answers prayer, but we don’t always know how. Gradually my faith grew as I persisted in faith, believing that God answers prayer and that God heals. The tide changed and waves of healing blessings flowed more fully.
When I was young, we prayed for the sick in general terms, such as “Please God, heal Mr or Mrs So-and-so. Amen.” Generally the people we prayed for seemed to improve and sometimes we saw rapid improvement.
Then I discovered intimacy with God and the power of his Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, in new ways. Jesus told us to seek this: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). We all need to ask, seek and knock, and Jesus promises that we will receive, find and have the door opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
So my journey in praying for others, including praying for the sick, began to change as I allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me more fully. Instead of praying the same old way, “Please God, heal that sick person,” I began praying the way I was led by the Spirit.
As I read about Jesus and his disciples, I realized that they rarely or never prayed this way, “Please God heal that sick person.” Mostly they commanded healing, and Jesus’ followers always did so in Jesus’ name. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, and we have authority as we serve him and pray in his name, on his behalf.
That gradually opened new horizons for me! I began listening more to the still, small voice in my mind and heart, and found I was praying with more authority, in Jesus’ name. Increasingly I found myself led to pray, “Be healed, in Jesus’ name.“
As I persisted, the Holy Spirit quietly prompted me to take authority over attacks against the person. Sometimes (not automatically and not always) I was led to pray something like “Infirmity, get out in Jesus’ name.“
Increasingly I found more people reported that pain had gone or that they felt significantly improved. So then I realized that it helped to ask the person being prayed for how they felt. If some pain remained, I was often led to pray for them again, sometimes more than once more.
As first I was reluctant to ask how the person felt, in case there was little or no improvement! Then, gradually I realized that asking how they felt actually gave more opportunity to pray more if that was needed. When we persisted, we often saw improvement right there and then. A simple way to check is to ask, “How much pain do you have on a sale of 10 to 1?”
Many blockages in my thinking stopped me from praying with authority. Here are a few.
What helped me to overcome blockages?
God’s Word helped me most. The more I read about Jesus and his followers the more my faith grew. God’s Spirit speaks his word into our hearts and lives. We believe it and act on it.
Listening more for the leading of God’s Spirit helped me enormously. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Often, a ‘hunch’ turned out to be a ‘leading’.
One night I prayed for a young relative who had been getting migraines. Medications had helped, but migraines persisted. I had a hunch we were dealing with an attack, so I was led to gently place my hand on his head and pray, “Affliction, get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt it go, and my young relative felt fine and has not needed medication for that since then. We don’t always ‘feel’ something, but we can pray in faith.
Why lay on hands?
Why do we lay hands on the sick to pray for them? It’s biblical. See Mark 6:5; 7:32; 10:16; 16:18; Luke 4:40; 13:13; Acts 28:8. It’s also a natural way to express care and concern. All parents know that touch brings comfort when a child is hurt.
Biblical passages taught me to persist. Here are some: Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Jesus occasionally prayed/commanded for healing more than once, as for the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-25) and the wild man of Gadarra (Luke 8:26-39).
Ultimate healing and the only total healing is in heaven. Meanwhile, in this broken world we can show compassion and care in many ways, including praying for healing. I know the pain of praying for a loved one’s healing, who died. Sometimes the healing is not here, but hereafter.
Sometimes God may surprise you, as you persist in simple faith. A nurse in one of our prayer groups was led to place her hand on a lady’s back and pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left immediately. Apparently the problem was in the lumbar (L4 region) of the spine.
A doctor, and my college class, once prayed for and laid hands on a lady student who was scheduled for an operation to remove a growth in her abdomen. Later that same day her specialist could find no growth, so they cancelled the operation.
Recently we prayed as a small group for a man with diabetes problems. When he had a blood test it registered normal, so he testified in church and gave thanks to God.
Healing is not always so quick. But it’s always a blessing to pray for one another. Sometimes it helps to pray in a believing group where those praying contribute their different spiritual gifts and insights. You can pray in the Spirit and often receive the Spirit’s leading on how to pray with authority in Jesus’ name.
Many people discover that God is real and personal, and they believe in him because someone prayed for their healing. We pray – God heals.
I pray that you will find peace and joy as you pray in faith for others, led and empowered by God’s Spirit. Just bless them in Jesus’name.
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Fifty years ago, Catholic Charismatics as a group didn’t exist. Today, there are around 120 million of them. Their emergence began when the Holy Spirit came to a dozen Catholic students in a Pennsylvania forest in February 1967.
They were from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, out to enjoy a spiritual weekend retreat at a place called The Ark & The Dove. The theme of the retreat was the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. Retreat leaders had assigned each of the students coming to first read David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade – a miracle-filled story of a young Pentecostal pastor leading violent New York City gang members to the Lord.
As she read it, Patti Mansfield (then Gallagher) found herself asking, “Why isn’t the Holy Spirit doing these dramatic things in my life?” That led her to pray, “Lord, as a Catholic, I believe I’ve already received Your Spirit in baptism and confirmation. But if it’s possible for Your Spirit to do more in my life than He’s done till now, I want it.”
‘My spiritual life felt powerless and pedestrian. It was like I was pushing a car uphill.’
It first hit David Mangan, though, after he listened to a teaching that weekend that the Holy Spirit could still bring tongues and power like dynamite. Mangan wanted both – the tongues and the dynamite – and asked the Lord for it because his Christianity felt powerless and pedestrian. “My spiritual life could not be described as dynamite,” he said. “It was limping along. The way I describe it, it was like I was pushing a car uphill.” As for what he was hearing about the gift of tongues, he was so intrigued, “I wrote in my notebook, ‘I want to hear someone speak in tongues – me.’ I realized I did that because I don’t know how much I would’ve believed it if it was someone else.”
Mangan received a powerful answer as he sought the Lord alone that weekend in a chapel located on the upper floor of The Ark & The Dove, a location that’s become known now as the Upper Room. That’s the same name used for the place where the Holy Spirit fell in the Book of Acts on the disciples after Jesus had ascended to heaven.
‘I lost all sense of time. I was lost in Christ and happy to be so.’
“The presence of God was so thick, so powerful, you could cut it with a knife,” Mangan said of the atmosphere in that room. “It’s the most intense experience I’ve ever had in my life. Time meant nothing to me. I had no idea if it was two minutes or two hours; it made no difference. I was lost in Christ, and happy to be so.”
And he got his dynamite. “There were all these electrical explosions going on in my body,” Mangan described. Then he began to speak in tongues. The overwhelming feeling caused him to run and ask the retreat leaders if it was really possible. They said it is a valid experience which happened throughout history to a lot of saints. The experience infused him with a new dynamism and power in his spiritual life – or as he puts it, “It was like somebody told me that the car I’d been pushing uphill had a motor and now I had the key.”
Shortly thereafter, Patty Mansfield had her own Holy Spirit encounter as she was in the same chapel and His Presence came upon her. “As I knelt in that chapel, I actually began to tremble with this sense of, ‘My gosh, this is God and He’s holy!’” she said. Mansfield soon found herself prostrate, flat on her face. “And as I was lying there, I felt immersed in the love of God. I realized that if I could experience the love, the goodness, the sweetness, the mercy of God like that, anyone could.”
‘What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!’
When right after her experience Mansfield encountered two young ladies, they said: “What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!” She was so excited by what was happening, that she dragged the young ladies right up to the Upper Room so they, too, could experience what she just had. About a dozen ended up with her and David Mangan in the chapel.
As Mansfield describes it in her book As By a New Pentecost, like before, a heavenly Presence filled the Upper Room. “As we were kneeling, some were weeping, others were laughing for joy. Again others, like myself, felt like our bodies were on fire. My hands and my arms were tingling. Others, like David, knew that they wanted to praise God, but it wasn’t going to come out in English.”
‘He said: You’re praying in Arabic! I was astounded. I had no idea.’
At a prayer meeting soon after, a student of French was sitting next to Mangan when he started to pray in tongues. “David, I didn’t know you spoke French,” she said. He said: “Oh, I don’t speak French. I only studied Latin and German.” She told him he was praising God for streams of living water and thanking the Lord for the Divine Child who had come. Later, seeking confirmation, Mangan visited a linguist, who asked the young man to pray. After a few minutes, he jumped up with a look of shock on his face. “You are speaking Middle French!” The linguist asked Mangan to pray for him some more. “When we finished, he turned around and said, ‘Now you’re praying in Arabic!’ And I was astounded. I had no idea.”
In the months and years that followed, by word of mouth, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal spread from the The Ark & The Dove and Duquesne University across the world. Holy Spirit-baptized Catholics and non-Catholics gathered in interdenominational gatherings where their differences and conflicts melted away, and all that mattered was that they were one in the Spirit.
‘The charismatic movement is a current of grace.’
“Now we share this new alive faith in the Spirit and a personal relationship with Christ, I’ve seen many walls come down,” Mark Nehrbas, a Catholic Charismatic who frequently worships with non-Catholics said. Another one, Deacon Darrell Wentworth, points out how Jesus preached in John 17 that such unity is essential for the world to believe. “We need to love one another and be a bold witness for God, so that the world can see that the Father loves everybody.”
Pope Francis has encouraged the Charismatic Renewal, calling it ‘a current of grace’, and urged the Charismatics to bless the entire Church with what they have.
Source: Patti Mansfield and David Mangan, interviewed by Paul Strand, summarized by Joel News International, # 1031 | April 5, 2017
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Recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 140 ministry leaders and public officials were electrified to hear the testimony of Pastor Poncho Murguia. Poncho after leading a large and successful mega church for years was instructed by the Lord to “leave everything” and to go to a city park in his native Juarez, Mexico in order to fast and pray for three weeks over the city. During that process, he learned for the first time to really love and understand his city and then to “adopt” the city. Eventually 4000 other believers in Jesus joined him in a movement of transformational prayer and action that has changed Juarez from “the murder capital of the world” with violence 25 times as much as any on other city on earth, to one of the safest of Mexico’s cities.
At the height of the violence that swept the city which had become the site of a prolonged turf battle between drug cartels, 20-30 people were being assassinated by “sicarios”, hit men paid an average of $50 to kill anyone. They killed a young man just as he was being married to his fiancee in a church and freely machine-gunned peace-loving people who were having dinner in restaurants. There were also an average of 10-15 kidnappings per day and if loved ones did not pay the ransom that was demanded, their family member would have his ears or fingers amputated first and if there was still no payment, he or she would be killed and buried under the floor of the “safehouse” that served as their prison.
Twenty percent or 300,000 people left the city; 30% of the businesses closed. The cartels made lists of police officers and systematically assassinated them one by one to terrorize and exact concessions. The smell of blood filled the streets. Such overwhelming violence that the police and even the army could not control finally drove the pastors of the city’s churches together in prayer. They humbled themselves before the Lord, taking responsibility for the situation since they had been occupying themselves with their own congregations and “building their own kingdoms” without a real love and concern for the whole city. As they underwent this process together, God demonstrated His presence and the crime rate fell by 93% within 18 months. Even the United Nations cannot understand how this happened!
Other wonderful transformations happened and as they “adopted” the “sicarios”, many of these vicious hit men came to Christ and were discipled to serve Him back in their own towns across Mexico. Poncho challenged the Church and ministry leaders to tackle problems in our communities that the government and police are not being effective in fixing. The church he said spent too much time studying the Bible when God wants us to “be the Bible” to our needy city. Those who heard Poncho’s testimony were deeply challenged to apply what we learned. Many went home determined to see a transformational movement happen in their communities.
Source: International Prayer Council
Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 1:
Podcast with Poncho Murguia – Part 2:
We often forget to do things God’s way!
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
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By J. D. King, author, speaker and director of the World Revival Network.
Many Middle-Eastern Christians publicly acknowledge the fact that dreams actively facilitated them coming into a saving knowledge of Jesus. For example, Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim. He became a believer in part through a visionary experience. When recounting his conversion he writes,
“I asked God to reveal himself to me in truth, through dreams and visions. All those things, combined with actually reading the Bible, are what drove me forward to the point of accepting Christ.”
When asked about his conversion to Christianity from Islam, Pastor Naeem Fazal of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, mentioned several things that impacted him. He pointed out things like friendship with a knowledgeable Christian as well as reading the Bible. However, it was a particular supernatural encounter that brought him into a moment of crisis. Having a visionary experience one night, Fazal had an encounter that forever shifted the course of his life.
“It looked like a figure made up with light—solid, yet transparent. It was an experience like no other. The peace I felt from this presence was so powerful, so aggressive … and [He] introduced Himself to me and said, ‘I’m Jesus; your life is not your own.’ The next morning my life changed forever.”
Fazal acknowledges that he is not unique in this experience. He notes that “the majority of the [Muslim] conversion stories I hear seem to involve dreams and visions inspired by the Holy Spirit in which Christ is supernaturally revealed.”
Joel Rosenberg’s Insights Into The Middle-Eastern Revival
More Muslims have committed to follow Christ in the last 10 years than in the last 15 centuries of Islam. In spite of great difficulty and turmoil, Christianity is unquestionably expanding throughout the Islamic world. God is up to something amazing in a region that many have thought was unreachable.
Joel Rosenberg, an Evangelical researcher, author, and resident of Israel has documented the recent upsurge of Christianity in the Middle-East. Through first-hand reconnaissance, coupled with reports from Arabic nationals, Rosenberg demonstrates that Christianity is rising rapidly in the world of Islam.
Admittedly some of the following statistics have shifted in the aftermath of the Isis and other violent demonstrations against Christians. Those who follow Jesus have been slaughtered and have experienced severe persecution in this region. Nevertheless, Joel Rosenberg’s observations provide a window into many amazing developments.
Some of the particulars can certainly be debated, but in many of the Mediterranean nations, Christianity is making extraordinary inroads. Though the subsequent conversion figures are impossible to confirm, even in their imprecision, they provide a snapshot of what’s transpiring in the Middle East.
A number of reports suggest that increasing numbers of Christ-followers are emerging in the brutal, war-torn nation of Sudan. Here, in the Nile river valley – along the Islamic strongholds of Northern Africa – It is being noted that
“One million Sudanese have turned to Christ since the year 2000—not in spite of persecution, war, and genocide, but because of them…the estimated total number of believers in the country is more than 5.5 million.”
Many are convinced that the great brutalities that this nation has encountered are becoming a catalyst for the expansion and growth of Christianity. Rather than inhibiting the Church, the war is actually propelling it.
Pakistan is typically not identified as a nation experiencing a move of God, but apparently they’re beginning to see one spark within their contentious borders.Christianity’s Middle-Eastern expansion is particularly evident in this unexpected place. Rosenberg acknowledges that,
“Senior Pakistani Christian leaders tell me there is a ‘conversion explosion’ going on in their country.There are now an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million born-again Pakistani believers worshiping Jesus Christ. Whole towns and villages along the Afghan-Pakistani border are…converting to Christianity.”
This Islamic country is not alone, many others in this region are having similar things take place.
Reliable reports suggest that there is also a great revival erupting in the land of Egypt. Rosenberg declares that, “Ministry leaders in Egypt estimate there are more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus Christ in their country. Many of these are Muslim converts.”
Undoubtedly, the severe persecutions and disruptions related to the “Arab Spring” have affected the lives of Christians throughout this nation, but the faithful have remained strong. Martyrdom invites outsiders to examine the claims of those willing to die for Jesus. It is believed that many amazing things are taking place in Egypt.
Surprisingly, the contentious nation of Iran is also beginning to encounter the rising flames of awakening. Violent Islamic Fundamentalism has not been able to impede the advancement of the Gospel in this fierce Persian nation. Reflecting on this reality, Rosenberg writes,
“At the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there were only about five hundred known Muslim converts to Jesus inside the country. By 2000, a survey of Christian demographic trends reported that there were two hundred twenty thousand Christians inside Iran, of which between four and twenty thousand were Muslim converts. And according to Iranian Christian leaders I interviewed, the number of Christ-followers inside their country shot dramatically higher between 2000 and 2008.”
Yes, you read that right. Christianity went from 500 people to 220,000 in 21 years. Contrary to what many Americans think, Christianity is quietly advancing behind the scenes in some of the most unlikely places around the globe.
Reports continue to come in. A strikingly similar stirring is also taking place in Saudi Arabia – unquestionably the epicenter of world Islam. One wouldn’t expect the growth of Christianity in Mecca, but it is happening. Summarizing some of what he has heard, Joel Rosenberg reports that “Arab Christian leaders estimated there were more than one hundred thousand Saudi Muslim background believers in 2005, and they believe the numbers are even higher today.” Saudi Arabia is being quickened by the Spirit of the Lord. It seems to be positioned to experience significant growth in the decades to come.
Christianity is also quietly advancing in the turbulent nation of Iraq. Again, it needs to be noted that these numbers precede the vicious emergence of Isis and the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Multitudes of Christians have been martyred since these figures were originally reported. Yet, even the fact that Muslims felt compelled to quell its advancement suggests that Christianity’s influence has been growing.
“Before 2003, senior Iraqi Christian leaders tell me, there were only about four to six hundred known born-again followers of Jesus Christ in the entire country, despite an estimated seven hundred fifty thousand nominal Christians in historic Iraqi churches. By the end of 2008, Iraqi Christian leaders estimated that there were more than seventy thousand born-again Iraqi believers.”
As many are aware, the expansion of Christianity has been greatly hindered more recently in Iraq. Don’t be mistaken, this martyrdom and brutality will ultimately give way to more Christians in the land once known as Babylon.
The whole Islamic world is currently shaking. We have already discussed some of the amazing advancements that are taking place in several of Arabic nations. These are where the greatest signs of revival are evident. Nevertheless, on a lesser level, other Islamic nations are also experiencing a tremendous stirring within their borders. One of these is Algeria. Rosenberg recounts the recent upsurge in Algeria, noting that:
“more than eighty thousand Muslims have become followers of Christ in recent years…The surge of Christianity has become so alarming to Islamic clerics that in March of 2006, Algerian officials passed a law banning Muslims from becoming Christians or even learning about Christianity, and forbidding Christians from meeting together without a license from the government.”
Algeria is beginning to come alive with the gospel like much of Northern Africa.
“God has been reviving the Jordanian Church in the last four decades, and particularly in the past few years. Conservative estimates say the number of believers in the country is now between five and ten thousand. The head of one major Jordanian ministry, however, believes there may be as many as fifty thousand believers in the country.”
Jordan is also experiencing the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Other Islamic Nations
Almost every Islamic nation has been experiencing a significant upsurge of Christianity over the last twenty years. Though the numbers aren’t equally high, all are experiencing the impact on some level. Here are some of the other reports.
While in the nation of Morocco it has been claimed that “between 20,000 and 40,000 Muslims have become Christ-followers.” Rosenberg suggests that, “The number of Afghan believers is now between 20,000 and 30,000.” In Kazakhstan “there are more than fifteen thousand Kazakh Christians, and more than one hundred thousand Christians of all ethnicities.” Reflecting on Lebanon, Rosenberg suggests that, “there are about ten thousand truly born-again followers of Jesus Christ today.” Reports suggest there were no Muslim background Christians in Syria fifty years ago, but today “there are between four and five thousand born-again believers in the country.”
Rosenberg’s figures suggest that there are over 13 million Christians in Islamic countries and a majority of them are from a Muslim background.
There are other evidences of a notable transformation taking place. For example, Journalist George Thomas notes that,
“A Christian revival is touching the northernmost reaches of Africa. In a region once hostile to the gospel, now tens of thousands of Muslims are following Jesus. As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers… What experts say is that there is a profound move of God in the predominantly Muslim nations of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.”
Tino Qahoush, a researcher and filmmaker, has been traveling to various parts of this region to document the Christian revival that has been taking place. Reflecting on what he observed, he noted the following,
“What God is doing in North Africa, all the way from actually Mauritanian to Libya is unprecedented in the history of missions. I have the privilege of recording testimonies and listening to firsthand stories of men and women, of all ages.”
Jayson Casper, a journalist with Christianity Today, also pointed out some astounding growth that’s taking place in the Arabian Peninsula. He writes,
“Today the Pew Research Center numbers Christians in the Arabian Peninsula at 2.3 million – more Christians than nearly 100 countries can claim. The Gulf Christian Fellowship, an umbrella group, estimates 3.5 million…United Arab Emirates Christian population…[is] 13 percent, according to Pew. Among other Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar each about 14 percent Christian, while Oman is about 6 percent. Even Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest cities (Mecca and Medina), is 4 percent Christian…”
One of the best examples of the expansion of Christianity within Muslim lands is through the work of Heidi and Roland Baker. Along with their church plants and trained workers from Iris Ministries, the Bakers have made an extraordinary impact on the brutal nation of Mozambique. The province that they currently operate in was entirely Muslim before their arrival, but a little over ten years later those figures have changed drastically. Kelly Head from Christ For The Nations writes,
“The Bakers are now based full-time in Pemba, Mozambique, in an area where Heidi says was once called a ‘graveyard to missionaries.’ But recently the government announced publicly that it’s no longer a Muslim providence; now it’s a Christian providence.”
The abrupt changes to the once Muslim Africa are something even the Islamic clerics are beginning to acknowledge. In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television. He declared the following:
“Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century…As to how that happened, well, there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.”
It is obvious from these and other reports that Christianity is advancing.
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CBN News traveled to southern China and obtained exclusive, never-before-seen images, from inside these churches.
When God Shows Up in a Communist Church
It’s Thursday evening in Fujian Province, southeast China. Scores of men and women are dancing, waving flags, blowing shofars, singing and worshipping God.
You might think these images come from a charismatic service in the United States. But they’re not. This is communist, and officially still atheist China.
And what Duan Huilai says is remarkable about this scene is that it’s happening in an officially government-controlled congregation known as Three-Self Church.
Duan and his wife have witnessed this move first-hand. Both are evangelists and have for several years criss-crossed the Chinese countryside documenting the Holy Spirit’s move among Three-Self Churches.
“Dramatic changes are happening,” Duan told CBN News. “God is moving in a powerful way inside these Three-Self Churches.”
“The most amazing thing is that the Lord is raising up God-loving people in these churches — so many brothers and sisters who love God deeply and want to serve Him,” Duan said.
Signs and Wonders Now Allowed
Pastor Duan says what is happening today in Beijing and in other parts of China as it relates to the powerful move of God amongst the Three-Self Churches is quite remarkable considering where the church has been in the last 30 years.
“Every sermon that the pastor preached back then had to be vetted by the government authorities. Young people were never allowed to attend these churches so you’d only see old people, mostly women,” Duan said. “Preaching about the power of the Holy Spirit was forbidden. You couldn’t talk about end times or preach repentance.”
Topics on healings, miracles, signs and wonders were out of the question. Not anymore.
“Nowadays people have accepted these topics,” Duan said.
Two main types of churches exist in China: registered and unregistered. Registered congregations, also known as Three-Self Churches, are government-approved.
Unregistered, sometimes called underground or house churches, operate outside government control, and for decades faced intense persecution. And with that persecution came tremendous growth.
Three-Self Churches on the other hand never experienced that kind of explosive growth. Until now.
“Now there’s big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches,” Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China’s capital city.
Communist Encounters Christ
Zhao is one of China’s foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.
“If you go to Haidian Church, you’ll find yourself in a more than 100-meter line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there is usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!” he shared.
Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years.
“There’s an increasing proportion of them in churches now — more young male believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended.”
Back at the Thursday night meeting in Fujian Province, folks have gathered for a four-day event affectionately called “Love Camp”
“Love Camp aims to help the believer grow in their faith walk and get closer to God,” Sun Rengui told CBN News one evening.
Sun is a pastor and leads the camp. He says the idea came 12 years ago when he says the Holy Spirit one day showed up while he was preaching at the Three-Self Church he pastors here.
“We were in the middle of the service; suddenly everyone at the church felt the Holy Spirit anointing fall. Some couldn’t stand straight, others fell down. Some were dizzy and nauseous. When the worship began, people started crying. After the service, some were being healed. I saw demons being chased away from people’s bodies.”
Pastor Sun says his church had never experienced anything like it.
“We were seeing something unprecedented. We had no theological training in the move of the Holy Spirit. This was completely new for us,” he said.
Word quickly spread.
“We were one of the first churches to experience this in the area. Soon, leaders from other churches came to us and were eager to receive the Holy Spirit. Later they also started witnessing the Holy Spirit’s move as well,” Pastor Sun said.
But it wasn’t without controversy.
“People doubted if this was real. There was even conflict among my church staff,” Sun said. “But as time passed, more people accepted the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Twelve years later, Pastor Sun says the impact of the Holy Spirit’s move is seen in the transformed lives of church members.
“Our cell groups are expanding, more people are attending church, and more people are going outside the church walls into society to share the Gospel.”
The church runs two orphanages and two elderly care centers, and twice a year puts on the Love Camp.
“We have four goals in this camp: to evangelize people, strengthen the family, disciple believers and encourage other Three-Self Churches to embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.”
For Pastor Duan and his wife, this is evidence that God is doing something special in the world’s most populous nation.
“I was speaking in Shandong, Henan and Zhejiang recently. Around 8,000 people joined the meeting. Last Christmas, I was speaking at a Three-Self Church in Yuhuan and I was amazed there were 12,000 people,” Duan exclaimed with joy.
They, Dr. Zhao and countless others say they feel honored to play a part in helping more Chinese turn to Jesus Christ.
“The number of Christians in China is growing rapidly. It means Christ is starting to play an active role in China’s society and that’s good in many ways,” Zhao said.
by Duke Taber
More Posts on China – from Mission Blogs:
Asia’s Maturing Church (David Wang)
China – The Spirit told us what to do (Carl Lawrence)
China – Revival in China (Dennis Balcombe)
China – House Churches (Barbara Nield)
China – New Wave of Revival
China – Chinese turning to Christianity
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As author Adrian Wooldridge travelled the world researching the impact religion is having. It struck him that religious observance is increasing worldwide, with the exception only of Europe.
“Something happened from the 1970s and now the world is again moving towards a faith revival” he said. The Jesus movement and Pentecostal/charismatic revivals of the 1960s and ’70s, may have had something to do with that. Pentecostalism, he concluded, will be the major form of 21st century Christianity. China, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kenya and various Latin American countries were the biggest hotspots.
“The sort of religion that is on the rise is the emotive, assertive charismatic religion,” he said. “It’s compelling Catholicism in Latin America to change. There’s a physical surprise when you go to Guatemala and see how vibrant the charismatic and Pentecostal movements are. It is the same thing in Lagos and Nairobi. I went into my research underestimating the power and vitality of religion.”
What also struck him were the 443,000 full-time Christian missionaries worldwide plus 1.6 million Christians a year who go on short-term missions. Wooldridge sees Christianity remaining the world’s largest religion.
Wooldridge a confessing atheist, said that he now had more respect, and felt more warmth towards religion.” This was partly because of the people I came across who were doing such amazing work to help the poor. But where are the atheists doing anything like that?”
Source: Intercessors Network
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