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Inform-PeopIeCrisis

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

Inform-TimingSpirit

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

Inform-BillVonetteBright

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

Inform-MarkRutland

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

Inform-ChrislamRising

‘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

Inform-PatrickSookhdeo

The Muslim Mission

Barnabas Aid is working against trends such as the Insider Movement to convert Muslims to Christ

Barnabas Aid is on a mission to bring hope and relief to the persecuted church—but the group also has a massive outreach to Muslims. The international ministry has more than 400 full-time missionaries and pastors in Islamic countries. It distributed nearly 1 million tracts last year and funded TV and radio broadcasts that evangelize the Muslim world. Barnabas Aid also supports new church construction and income-generating projects that sustain converts when they lose everything for following Christ.

“We are seeing considerable growth of the church in the Muslim world. The Lord is doing a remarkable thing,” says Patrick Sookhdeo, international director for Barnabas Aid, who himself converted from Islam in the 1970s. “The numbers are not as some have been reporting about many millions of Muslims each year turning to Christ. Still, Muslims are turning to Christ in an unprecedented way.” read more

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The Future of Faith-Based Films

Hollywood or the Heartland: Which will bring us tomorrow’s Christian movies?

As Christian films become more popular, will the temptation to partner with Hollywood studios lead to a compromised message? Or will churches and other independents continue to make their own films—the kind intended to improve the culture more than the bottom line?

At issue is a scenario not unlike the early days in contemporary Christian music. Then, artists made records for independent labels and emphasized ministry, playing at churches and coffee houses for offerings or a chance to sell records. But some people argue that as the genre became popular and corporations bought many of the labels, the message was diluted to appease radio and shareholders. read more

Inform-FreedomReigns

Freedom Reigns in South Sudan

South Sudan officially raised its flag on July 9, finally declaring the independence it sought for more than 50 years. The new nation was birthed after decades of civil war with the north that saw about 2 million people killed. “The church played a bigger role in helping the suffering people of South Sudan than anyone will ever know,” Bishop Arkangel Wani Lami told a Samaritan’s Purse blog.

“Though it was a time of great persecution for us, the church was the voice for the voiceless ... hope for the hopeless. Pastors risked their lives to feed the people and bring the sick to hospitals. The church risked everything to be a light for Christ during the war. Nobody saw but God.”

South Sudan has made rapid progress on the international front despite armed rebellions at home. The U.S. and Britain have recognized the nation. Israel was among the first to establish diplomatic ties. Yet many are waiting to see whether Christians and Muslims can live together peacefully in Africa’s 54th nation. read more

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