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Has ‘Prosperity’ Hit Hard Times?

The solution for U.S. money woes isn’t ‘prosperity gospel,’ charismatics say

When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ credit rating, it sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a tailspin. That, combined with America’s more than $14.5 trillion national debt and Europe’s growing financial woes, have caused charismatic Christian leaders to stand up and speak out—and they aren’t preaching a “prosperity gospel” message.

Indeed, international evangelist Perry Stone says Americans better get used to major changes in the country and prepare accordingly. That, he says, is because the America we have known is changing. “We were promised in the 2008 election that America would fundamentally change,” Stone says. “America is changing, although I am not convinced this is the fundamental change most people had in mind.” read more

Praying for Our Enemies

Nov. 13 to be a day of prayer for the persecuted church and its oppressors

Intercessors around the world will head to their prayer closets on Nov. 13 to observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. They’ll pray for both persecuted Christians and their oppressors. In more than 60 countries, some 100 million Christians face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Of the world’s 6.8 billion people, 70 percent live in countries with high restrictions on religion, according to the Pew Research Forum on Religion & Public Life. 

“Millions are living every day under severe persecution because they choose to be followers of Christ,” says Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. “Imagine the impact of millions of people all praying on one day for the same thing.” read more

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Digital Tools Build a Dream

Technology is the key to growth for Vision 2020’s global-discipleship project

Call it the Jesus movie of discipleship. It’s a new, technology-driven movement to raise up a generation of lively stones in spiritually dead places—believers who are willing to walk away from false religions and idols to follow Christ.

The man behind the movement is Berin Gilfillan. When he launched the International School of Ministry (ISOM) 20 years ago, Gilfillan set out to train laborers for the end-time harvest by planting his video curriculum in local churches around the world. Today there are more than 15,000 training sites in 142 nations airing the materials in 70 languages. But he’s still not satisfied. read more

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A PeopIe in Crisis

When the United Nations declared a famine in two regions of Somalia, Christian ministries went into action to relieve the suffering. But from geographic obstacles to terrorist groups blocking incoming aid, dangers thwart getting food and water to starving men, women and children in Africa’s eastern horn. In Somalia, the victims number about 3.7 million.

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) associates in east Africa report from the area that the crisis is worse in some locations. In parts of Kenya, drought victims number more than 4 million. Many of them are unreached tribal people, and 80 percent of the victims are women and children.

“What can we do as Christians who love our neighbors?” YWAM’s Amir Ibrahim asks. “I am reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan—that the person who shows an act of mercy is the real and true neighbor. Our acts of practical assistance will open doors in this region.” read more

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Timing the Spirit

Have worship services gotten too long for contemporary attention spans?

One London church leader is trying to persuade fellow clergy that today’s worship services are excessively long.

How long would you estimate your attention span to be? Ten minutes? A half hour? Ninety minutes? It is safe to say that the length of one’s attention span would ultimately depend on the topic or issue at hand. What if the topic was your Creator—the lover of your soul? read more

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Celebrating 100 Years of Ministry in Vietnam

The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (also known as Tin Lanh) is celebrating 100 years of ministry in the communist country. Today there are 1.2 million believers in Vietnam, most of them part of the group. However, of the 71 people groups in Vietnam, 52 still include less than 2 percent who follow Jesus. About 40 million people in North Vietnam do not know Christ. “[The Vietnam believers] want to be a force for Jesus,” says Missionary Alliance President Gary Benedict. “They are a sleeping giant in the cause of missions.” read more

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What’s in a Name?

Why Campus Crusade for Christ will be known as Cru in the U.S. starting in 2012

Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. is changing its name to Cru. The new name will be adopted in early 2012. The U.S. ministry hopes the new name will overcome existing barriers and perceptions inherent in the original name.

“From the beginning, Bill [Bright] was open to changing our name. He never felt it was set in stone,” says Vonette Bright, who co-founded Campus Crusade for Christ with her husband. “In fact, he actually considered changing the name 20 or 25 years ago. 

“We want to remove any obstacle to people hearing about the most important person who ever lived: 
Jesus Christ.”

The name, selected from a pool of 1,600 potential names, has a track record within Campus Crusade for Christ. Since the mid-1990s it has been used locally on the majority of their campus ministries in the U.S..

“This decision has been saturated with prayer,” says Steve Douglass, president of Campus Crusade for Christ. “We only want what God wants for us. And while we are excited about this name, we are even more excited about our renewed commitment to our mission. We believe this new name will position us to connect better with the next generation.” read more

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Prayers For Jerusalem

Mark Rutland is adding his leadership support to the 2011 Day of Prayer

Mark Rutland, the president of Oral Roberts University and a best-selling author, has joined the Day of Prayer. The event is observed on the first Sunday of every October. This global grassroots prayer movement, led by Robert Stearns and Jack Hayford, calls Christians to unite in prayer across denominational, cultural and political differences on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Prayers will ask for God’s peace, blessing and provision on Jerusalem and its people. Last year, churches in more than 175 nations—including seven predominantly Muslim countries—participated in this multinational and religiously diverse prayer initiative, and prayer resources were translated into some 23 languages.

“Prayer for peace anywhere is blessed,” Rutland says. “Prayer for Jerusalem anytime is blessed. Prayer for the peace of Jerusalem is the perfect match.” read more

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‘Chrislam’ Rising

The movement to blend Christianity with Islam is spreading rapidly in the U.S. 

Communities across the nation are taking Christianity and Islam—two diametrically opposed theologies—and working to blend them together.

“Chrislam, as the name suggests, is a growing movement wherein some Christians are seeking to find common ground with Muslims,” explains theologian Bill Muehlenberg of the doctrine that began in Nigeria in the 1980s. “Indeed, it actually seeks to combine Christianity with Islam. ”

Chrislam has gained significant momentum since the seed was planted nearly three decades ago. Earlier this year Christian communities in Dallas, Chicago, Washington and other cities placed Qurans in church pews—right alongside Bibles—and preached about the Prophet Muhammad. read more

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Battling Babylon

Benny Perez in a ‘war’ to save his church campus

Benny Perez isn’t wrestling against flesh and blood—but he is wrestling. The pastor of The Church of South Las Vegas, a 4,000-member charismatic megachurch in Henderson, Nev., is battling a Babylonian system to save his campus from foreclosure.

“This is a spiritual battle,” he says. “The enemy loves to stop churches by using money. We are one building away from feeding and clothing more people, reaching more youth and children, and helping more prostitutes. This is not about a bank. It is a principality and a power.” read more

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