evangelism (26)

Five Principles for Discerning The News - Part 1

Christian Nationalism #4

Five Principles for Discerning the News

(Principles 1 – 2)


I recall a meeting with a community organizer many years ago.  On her wall was a framed Hagar The Horrible cartoon.  The caption said: “Allies come and go, but a good Enemy will last a life-time.”  I remember that because in the world of political organizing you need a good enemy.  However, what is pragmatic for politics is deadly for the Church and the Gospel.

Evangelicals need to be better at discerning the sign of the times, and a central part of that discernment is interpreting news.  In this blog, I want to suggest a couple of principles that will help us become better discerners of the news.

  1. The Gospel needs to be our filter.

Jesus lived in a time and culture where people felt under attack and desired clear boundaries and clear loyalties. Rome was the oppressor.  To compromise or cooperate with Rome made you “one of them:” an enemy to be rejected and feared.  May Jews took up arms and planned for insurrection against the Romans.  Into this environment, Jesus said: love your enemies.  His miracles cured both religious Jew and pagan Romans.  He accepted into his fellowship both the radical Zealots and collaborators with Rome such as Matthew.  His examples of righteous behavior used non-Jews as examples.  His teachings and his life style undermined any suggestion that the world was divided between “us” and “them.” 

We cannot be faithful to the Gospel and believe in a world divided between “us” and “them.”   This way of thinking is absolutely prohibited for the Christian.  This means that we must reject any narrative of events, conspiracy theory, or teaching that paints a picture of Christians at war with an earthly enemy. 

  1. We need to hear many sides and be humble in our judgment.

As a practical matter, if you only get your news from one source, you will have a distorted sense of the world, be that MSNBC or FOX News.  I recall not too long ago, I followed a link that seemed like news and it went to a story about a well-known celebrity moving into a community near my home.  This surprised me, but the article seemed genuine, so I believed it.  I shared this with a friend and to my great embarrassment, he pointed out just how wrong I was.  I fell for it.  What I learned is that this sort of thing can happen to anyone.  Fortunately, the misinformation was about something harmless.  However, when this type of information causes you to change your thought patterns or behavior, it is dangerous.  This is particularly dangerous when the misinformation “seems right.”  It fits into concerns or fears that we have, or it confirms something that we had been thinking.  At that point we are less inclined to be skeptical.

The Gospel answer is humility.  My need to know with certainty needs to be tempered with humility.  I might be wrong.  If the information causes me to behave or act in a certain manner, I need to ask: what are the consequences if I am wrong? 


In order to keep this blog to a reasonable length, I will cover principles 3-5 in the next blog

--- to be continued ---

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PTAP: Bahrain & Qatar

Bahrain National Day - December 16
1. Praise God for a handful of new contacts in recent months, local believers and those who are interested in reading the Bible. Also, praise God for increased and extended prayer for Bahrain which has brought about new interest in knowing more about Jesus.
2. There is a causeway between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where Saudis can drive to Bahrain which they do on weekends. Pray that many Saudis will hear the gospel in Bahrain where there is more freedom to do so.
3. Pray for the Sunni population and the Persian-Bahraini communities which have great spiritual needs at the moment. The majority of Bahrainis are Shia.
4. Pray that God would raise up many laborers for the harvest from various places such as expat churches that have many believers who could reach out to the Bahraini people. Pray for unity of vision and passion among all believers to reach the Bahraini people. Also, pray that there would be more seasons of extended prayer and worship!

Qatari National Day - December 18

1.  Qatar is truly a dry and barren land, both physically and spiritually.  Pray for streams in the desert, that the Qatari people would eat and drink from Jesus, the living water and bread of life.  In addition, pray for the believers in Qatar.  It can be a very discouraging place to be spiritually.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring revival and renewal.

2.  Pray 1 Timothy 2:1-4.  Pray for the leaders of Qatar, especially the ruler - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamed al Thani, so that many will be saved through the knowledge of the truth of the gospel of grace found only in Jesus Christ.  Pray that the local and expat believers would be able to live tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.  Pray that whole Qatari families will know the one God, the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all.

3.  In 2022, the spotlight will be on Qatar as they host the World Cup.  Pray that even now, doors of opportunity would open for the gospel in a land that has been closed on many fronts for years.


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Christmas in Arabia

During the Christmas season, many believers throughout the Arabian Peninsula host parties, gatherings, and events to share the true meaning of Christ's birth to their Muslim friends. It is also a time when many Muslims have opportunity to ask questions about Jesus if they are seeking and encounter the Christmas story on social media. 

Let's pray for boldness, discernment, and wisdom as believers invite their Muslim friends to celebrate Christmas together and share the Christmas account. 

Let's pray that this will be a first Christmas as sons and daughters of God for many Muslims as they discover the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas.

"But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." Gal 4:4-5
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I have tremendous respect for David Platt. I pray nearly every day for God to continue to use him mightily. I recommend listening to his sermons. You can find many of them on YouTube. David has shocked people by preaching against telling people to pray a sinner's prayer. He rightly notes that we have been guilty of communicating to people that they can be right with God by praying those words as a sort of ritual without becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I agree with David. But I also believe a person cannot become a disciple without a direct connection with the Lord. That is prayer. We respond to God's embrace in prayer. If we look at the words we use as a conversion prayer, we see this intent.

We encourage people to pray a prayer of the conviction of sin.

Lord I know I am a sinner.”

We also include repentance.

I want to turn from my sins to you.”

If we are going to lead people to invite Christ into their life, we should warn them that they are doing business with Almighty God. They need to be fearful of praying such words without meaning them.

And inherent is the gospel is the fact that we cannot even repent without God's help. People do not come to God by their sincerity. We must come receiving His forgiveness.

I know You died for me. I accept your forgiveness, and Your gift of eternal life. I trust myself to You.”

One of the problems with using the “sinner's prayer” for evangelism is that it is so easy. It is tempting for us because we don't have to enter into a life-long relationship with the person praying. Just get them to pray these words.

It is also too easy for the person coming to Christ. Someone can pray those words without even thinking. I also believe a person can come to Christ and truly be born again without saying the right words. We might suggest that a person think about the decision she is making over night before she prays such a prayer. Of course, we will need to be sensitive to the person and to the Holy Spirit in the situation. But You can trust Him to bring to completion the work He has begun in a person who has heard the gospel.






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A group of near culture believers who have moved to the Arabian Peninsula for work have a passion to share and are meeting regularly to encourage each other as they ask the Father for opportunities to share and disciple. Please pray that the Lord will move mightily in and through them.

A country with very few indigenous believers is slowly beginning to see some fruit, as those who have begun to follow Jesus are giving testimony to their friends and family. Give praise for these bold ones and pray that they will continue to share with great joy, continued boldness, and great wisdom. Pray that many will be added to the Kingdom.

R, a self-proclaimed agnostic, admitted to a follower of Jesus that he too once decided to follow the teachings of Jesus after coming to the conclusion that His message is the true one. Since then, he has fallen away and admits his feeling of emptiness. Please ask that R will once again have a hunger to walk with Jesus, that he will surrender his life to His Lordship, that his family will be restored to him, and that they also will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Even after seeing the truth in the Word and realizing that Jesus is so much more than just a prophet, it is difficult for someone from the Muslim faith to embrace the Gospel as the way to God.  A young woman exclaimed, "How could I ever believe that the Quran is not from Allah?" Pray that the beloved people of the Arabian Peninsula will be freed from the chains that bind them to falsehood. Pray that they will be given faith by the Holy Spirit to repent and confess that Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life.

A woman with stage 4 cancer is reading the Word with her mother. May they receive the faith to embrace the truth of the Good News and surrender their lives to Jesus. Pray also for divine healing in accordance with His will and for His glory.

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Last week in my other blog, http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/, I wrote about the complexity of the issue of abortion. Like many social problems its roots are deeper than its legality. I did not mention that the law acts as a teacher and does play a part in changing the thinking of society. But it is also important to note that we are facing spiritual strongholds that must be brought down to make radical changes in our culture. It is easy to treat these matters as less difficult or painful than they are. But it is important to note that Jesus said,

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy.”

(Luke 10:19)

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us,

“The weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”

We come against spiritual strongholds when we seek to change human nature or have real effect on our culture. I don't want to pretend that politics are not important in this spiritual battle, but as long as we think it is our primary means, we will be defeated. Let me point out three necessary elements in changing society.


Nothing changes people like the gospel. The majority of believers in Corinth had no spiritual background at all. God needed to make great changes in their thinking and lifestyle. Nothing would change them or people today like being radically born again.


And while a great change comes upon us at our conversion, there is also a process of transformation by which we are made more and more like Jesus. Before changes can spread into wider society, God needs to change us in the church. It is the will of God that we become salt and light to the society around us. If we try to do that in our own strength we will fail.


But we have been given prayer to work in our world. We have the limitless power of God to break down our society's spiritual strongholds. By prayer we can do the impossible. Who knows what God will do through our prayer?



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Please pray for a woman who is interested in meeting with a Christian worker to learn more about Jesus following a conversation over the Eid holidays about the meaning of sacrifice and Jesus. Please pray that His Spirit will open her eyes to the One True Sacrifice.  Pray, too, for her husband and children. Her husband travels frequently to the West, even though Leila always stays at home. Pray that he will meet other believers as he travels who can share with him as well.
An ADHD student has heard some aspects of the gospel, but has trouble staying focused on a topic. Pray for Christian workers to be able to share the Gospel in effective and easily accessible ways. 
A couple has been sharing the Gospel with an Arab expatriate couple. The husband has come to accept Jesus and is praying that his wife comes to know Christ as well. Please pray for continued witness of the couple and the husband. 
A local Muslim girl was married at age 11. After some years, her husband moved the family to a new neighborhood where she met a another Muslim lady who became her best friend. Since she moved, the young lady has been searching spiritually and have been wanting to meet a Christian but did not know how she would be able to meet one in her semi-rural town. She found out that her best friend in her neighborhood had become friends with a Christian and asked her friend for an introduction. The Christian woman had no knowledge of her intent, but felt led to bring Christian resources and materials with her. The young lady became a believer after talking with the Christian woman and requested more Bibles, audio Bibles, and Arabic worship music to supply to others who are seeking. Please pray for this young lady as she grows in her faith and becomes light to others in her community.  
A Muslim man who decided to trust in Jesus as the Messiah has been struggling both in the flesh and the spirit. Please pray for God to lead him and a others like him to greater freedom and spiritual maturity. May He provide each one with the knowledge and understanding they need so that His people do not "perish for lack of knowledge".
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Be A Spiritual Lifeguard!


Leaders in the Body of Christ are called, among other things, to be lifeguards. Watching is the key function of a prophet or intercessor. Rescuing is a priority for the evangelist. Guarding is elementary for the pastor.Warning is a main component of teaching. Vision is essential for the apostle. Believers in the Kingdom of God are expected to be on guard, or more specifically: to keep watch.

My pastor runs a waterskiing ministry at the lake near his church in the summertime. On days when he is alone, the kids know that if he is out on the water training someone, no one swims until he gets back to the dock. 

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‘Pray - Care - Share’  -- The Lifestyle for Loving God and Others

LOVE2020 is a call to followers of Jesus everywhere to be loving others by a simple and powerful lifestyle of praying, caring, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ with those around them in deed and word.
Our YouTube channel “LoveGodOthers” and our website Love2020.com are full of videos and stories with examples and practical steps to living a pray-care-share lifestyle.
This video "Love Elgin Day" shows how Churches in Elgin, Ill., came together to love their community “in tangible and supernatural ways.” Check it out, and, if you have a story like this in your community, e-mail your video to Phil@missionamerica.org or submit a story in writing at www.Love2020.org/NEWS.
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frappuccino1.jpgI would guess that most of us have had some pretty negative responses from people when they find out we are a Christian or address spiritual things in any way. Comments like, "Don't try shove your religion down my throat," or "You're just one of those intolerant radicals," can be commonplace. People just walking away or changing the subject can be the norm much of the time.

However, there is one question I've rarely, if ever, had someone say "No" to or respond to in some other negative way. The question is simply, "Could I pray for you?"  In coffee shops, on airplanes, talking to a neighbor or meeting someone in a hospital have all been fertile ground for opportunities to pray for people. And I'm convinced that those brief times of prayer and care have been used by God to till the soil for people to one day embrace Christ.

In fact I wonder if we Christians aren't often insensitive to what's going on in someone else's world when we try to say too much about Jesus before we've tried to first be like Jesus. Taking a moment to just pray often touches the deep recesses of someone's soul in a way they will remember positively and perhaps never forget.

I was in a Starbuck's not too long ago after a hospital visit having a little time to kill before my next appointment. I ordered my drink relishing a little alone time and sat down in a vacant corner of the coffee shop. Before long a young man sat down nearby holding a big Frappuccino. While wanting to just kick back and leave him alone God seemed to be prompting me to say something so I did. With a frown on his face he told me that he really didn't know what this drink was but a friend had told him to get it sometime.

I wondered in my mind why he wouldn't know about something so common but then he began to tell me that he had just gotten out of prison and was now looking for a job. Now I understood the lack of knowledge about coffee drinks. And before we were done I simply asked if I could pray for him and that he found something quickly. He was more than happy for my prayers.

I'm confident others would be too if we could start there. It's from that kind of care and compassion that longer relationships can be cultivated and conversations about spiritual things can continue and deepen. With people like the young man at Starbuck's we sometimes have to just trust God to bring the next person along who can grow their relationship in the fertile soil of our introduction to Christ through prayer.

So, who in your world today or tomorrow or the next day might need you to pray for them?  Look for chances to do so. Pray for those opportunities. My hunch is that you will not get turned down.

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  Evangelism Connection
Evangelism news from the Mission America Coalition (U.S. Lausanne Committee)

The whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole nation - and to the world.

Make A Commitment to Prayer, Care, Share


The Mission America Coalition (MAC) is encouraging Christians to become more active in sharing the love of Christ with those around them. MAC invites you to sign an online commitment that includes three parts:

  • To pray on a regular basis for specific neighbors, friends, work associates, classmates, and others by name.
  • To care for them by loving them as Jesus would.
  • To share the Gospel either personally or by inviting them to church or an evangelistic event.
  • Christians who sign this commitment are joining a growing movement of tens of thousands who are committed to follow Jesus in this prayer-care-share lifestyle based on His Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).


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Record Response For National Back-To-Church Sunday
Loving Our Communities to Christ

ImageFifteen churches in the Coachella Valley were among the 7,600 participating nationally in Back to Church Sunday in September. Last year, 3,400 churches participated, resulting in 1.4 million invitations, according to campaign spokesman Philip Nation. Getting people to show up at a church raises the chances they'll attend regularly, Nation said.

"When a person visits a church for the first time, there's a 10 percent chance they'll return," he said. "On the second visit, there's a 15 percent chance they'll return, and so on."

For the past six decades, a steady 42 percent of Americans attend church weekly, according to Gallup poll archives. This year, participating churches represented 34 denominations opening their doors to an estimated 250,000 visitors Sept. 18. Churches responding to a post-event survey welcomed an average of 34 new visitors, an increase of 25.4 percent in weekly attendance. Some churches reported that they doubled in attendance that day. One church plant, "Overflow Church" reporting on Facebook, said its attendance was up 500%.

Nearly 95 percent of pastors surveyed said they would participate again in National Back To Church Sunday, which will be held next on Sept. 16, 2012. A study by LifeWay Research and the North American Mission Board of more than 15,000 Americans found 67 percent say a personal invitation from a family member would be effective in getting them to visit a church; 63 percent say an invitation from a friend or neighbor would likely move them to respond. Next year, National Back To Church Sunday will be held Sept. 16.

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Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church


November 13, Worldwide 

ImageThe International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), Nov. 13, is a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide. Its primary focus is to encourage intercessory prayer on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith. Open Doors USA has prepared a number of valuable resources for pastors, church leaders, and individuals for this year's day of prayer. Resources to share the story of the persecuted church with congregations, small groups, classes, or friends and family are available online. Downloads include church leader materials, bulletin inserts and lessons, and videos. In addition, Open Doors USA has an initiative to spread the story of the persecuted church to the American church and beyond. "One With Them" serves as a call to action to unite with persecuted believers, not just for IDOP, but always. One way Christians in the United States can show their support is through One With Them wristbands. The black, rubber wristband looks like barbed wire. It provides an opportunity to explain to others the plight of persecuted believers. One With Them seeks to bridge the gap between American Christians and those around the world who suffer for their faith.

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National Conference Call for Prayer for Evangelism


National Conference Call for Prayer for Evangelism

Mission America Coalition hosts a weekly evangelism prayer conference call every Wednesday. As Christians pray for others and care for them with the love of Christ, our Lord opens wonderful opportunities to share with them. These are not contrived or legalistic attempts to do something nice for others. To the contrary, these are natural opportunities that God gives us to help others and to express His love in action. This is a season in which God is on the move in bringing people to Himself, and we want to come into agreement with Him to see every person in America touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Dial in to: 1-641-715-3300, passcode 416432# at 12 noon CDT.

Evangelism Leaders Conference Call


October 27, 10 a.m. Central Time, Nationwide

Join other evangelism leaders around the country for Mission America's monthly evangelism leaders conference call. The call is held the fourth Thursday of every month, 10 a.m. Central Time, on a different issue of interest. To join the call, dial 712-451-6000 and enter passcode 268855# when prompted.

Cities and Communities Cityreaching Call


October 20, 10 a.m., Central Time, Nationwide 

Glenn Smith will be the Mission America Coalition Cityreaching resource conference call guest this month. Addressing "Key Indicators of a Transformed City," Glenn will highlight significant global activity. He is senior associate for urban mission for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The one-hour call will be held October 20. The third Thursday of each month, the Mission America Coalition's City and Communities Ministries hosts a conference call with a seasoned city-reacher. Watch the cityreaching.com website for more information. Contact info@cityreaching.com to receive the phone number and access code to join the call. Information on upcoming calls and transcripts of previous calls are available.

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La Red Trains for Next Generation in Proverbs Principles
Loving Our Communities to Christ


ImageThe 20th Greater Thomasville Marketplace Leader Prayer & Action Summit was held in September with 69 leaders assembled. Keynote speaker, Dr. Jerry Anderson, CEO of La Red Business Network (ministry) and CEO of Digital Dish & Light Speed Wireless Internet (employer of 900) offered La Red materials (free on the internet) and the services of La Red to train facilitators who will train the next generation to live according to godly principles drawn from the Book of Proverbs. Many local leaders from education, government, law enforcement, the marketplace and the church attended. In addition, in October, two key trainers from La Red are offering four hours of training for facilitators.

"We have been praying for years for God to transform our community and society and now it seems He is offering us a "tool" at no cost except time to begin to train young people and others the character traits and principles that lead to God's favor and blessing," reports Doug Silva, one of the Thomaville city leaders.


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Cedar Rapids Christian Business Lunch All About "Prayer - Care - Share
Loving Our Communities to Christ


In September, nearly 70 Cedar Rapids-area businesspeople listened to retired Quaker Oats executive Steve Jenkins share how the strategy of Prayer - Care - Share was used to communicate the love of Christ to the many construction workers who labored for 15 months in the building of the new facility for New Covenant Bible Church.

"The exciting thing is that many of those workers who helped build our building have been visiting our church because they felt loved during the time they worked on the project," Jenkins reported. Cedar Rapids is a Loving Our Communities to Christ collaborating city through the local partner Serve the City. Over 35 churches in the Cedar Rapids area have been challenged to make "Prayer, Care, Share" a part of their culture.

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Website Offers Hope, Surpasses 5 Million Visitors


ImageFive million visitors have now stopped bywww.Iamsecond.com, the website of the I Am Second movement featuring video stories of personal struggle, transformation, and hope of celebrities and everyday people. The Movement's newest initiative is the I Am Second book. Slated to release from Thomas Nelson January 2012, the book chronicles 22 video testimonies, from the website, including 2010 American League MVP Josh Hamilton; former Korn muscian Brian "Head" Welch; surfer Bethany Hamilton; "The Biggest Loser" winner Michelle Aguilar; Ultimate Fighting Championship star Vitor Belfort; Grammy-winning artist Michael W. Smith; and football stars Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. The website has seen visitors from 217 countries/regions who have viewed over 20 million pages on the site.

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Pastors from Juarez, Las Cruces and El Paso Unite for Prayer and Evangelism
Loving Our Communities to Christ


El Paso city leader Barney Field reports that 24/7 prayer continues for the El Paso region - 168 volunteers pray for one hour each from the convenience of their homes; 28 churches each provide a prayer captain and 6 intercessors and a prayer guide is provided. In addition, groups of pastors from Juarez, Las Cruces and El Paso have united for prayer and evangelism. Local pastors, called Pastors for Jesus, continue to gather monthly as it has for 18 years. In addition, Old Testament Nuggets are printed on the Editorial Page of the newspaper each day for free. They cover the entire Old Testament. Last year New Testament Nuggets were featured. El Paso is a Loving Our Communities to Christ partner region.

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Churches, Families Work Together to Address Africa Food Crisis


ImageGlobal Aid Network anticipates that more than 4,000 people from around the United States will volunteer to help process and pack as many as 12 tractor-trailer loads of goods including vegetable seeds, rice and beans, clothing, school supplies, oatmeal, and more. From October 10-15, Global Aid Network, the humanitarian aid arm of Campus Crusade for Christ International, will open the doors of its Pennsylvania Distribution Center to hundreds of families, schools, and church groups who want to help needy communities around the world. One focus this year will be sending food and other vital aid to the Horn of Africa, where 10 million people face starvation.

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'The Grandfathers' Traces Martyred Missionaries' Legacy


A documentary film that has been more than 50 years in the making now completes the trilogy of movies telling the story of Nate Saint and four other missionaries martyred for their faith in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. "The Grandfathers" completes a trilogy of movies that includes "End of the Spear" and "Beyond the Gates of Splendor." These first two films, also from award-winning director Jim Hanon and producer Mart Green. tell the unforgettable story of the killing of five missionaries by a native tribe deep in the Amazon jungle.

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Portland Churches Hold Community Event to Minister to Inner City


ImageRevolution Foursquare began performing park outreaches with its youth ministry over seven years ago. Through collaboration with other ministries including Luis Palau Association's Next Generation Alliance, the event has grown into an annual full-day festival featuring a growing repertoire of well-known Christian artists and new attractions such as BMX and skate demonstrations. On Labor Day in Portland, Oregon, Next Generation Alliance, Save the City Records and several area churches hosted Day in the Park. The event featured inflatable jump houses, plywood skate ramps and tents of food and activities. Music acts from freestyle hip hop to gospel played as local and visiting Christian artists joined the free event for Portland's inner-city community. Volunteer counselors were available throughout the day to pray and talk with anyone in need. The collaborators expressed a hope that this community-based outreach model would become the norm among churches.

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Georgia Church Follows in Jesus' Footsteps, 'Feeds the 5,000'


ImageFollowing in Christ's footsteps, Trinity United Methodist Church in Rome, Ga. provided a week's worth of food to nearly 5,000 people in one day. Organizers of Jesus in the Park, an annual event, saw 1,600 families each take home 50 pounds of shelf-stable free food. In addition, members of the community could also spend a free afternoon at Rome's Ridge Ferry Park listening to concerts, eating hot dogs and cotton candy, and playing games. By 2:30 p.m. about 50,000 pounds of food had already been given away. Organizers estimate that somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 pounds had been distributed by the end of the event. Any leftover food items were returned to a food pantry to be given away on another day.

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The Meeting of the Waters


ImageFritz Kling is a foundation executive who spent the past decade traveling through villages and cities across the world interviewing grassroots workers and high-level leaders. In his new book, Kling identifies seven big trends impacting today's global church and tells compelling stories from his travels that illustrate the themes of mercy, mutuality, migration, monoculture, machines, mediation, and memory. Equal parts travelogue, character study, and global documentary, The Meeting of the Waters interlaces stories and instruction to help Christians understand a rapidly changing world.

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Jersey Church Hands Out $30,000 in 'Reverse Offering'


ImageInstead of passing the plate for parishioners to fill with greenbacks, Liquid Church in New Jersey handed out over $30,000 to members in a "reverse offering." Each person received an envelope with the words "God Trusts You!" Inside the envelope were $10, $20 and $50 bills. The initiative took place during a four-part sermon series teaching biblical principles of finance regarding debt and living on budget. The 2,000 member Liquid Church is also investing $60,000 of church offerings into three local recovery projects. Specifically, the funds will be used to bring relief to a Manville, N.J., neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Irene, restoring the Market Street Mission for the homeless in Morristown, and boarding the New York City Relief Bus to feed the hungry in Paterson.

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Most Bible Readers Want Accurate Word-for-Word Translation


Most American Bible readers prefer word-for-word translations of the original Greek and Hebrew over thought-for-thought translations and value accuracy over readability. That is the finding of a new study by LifeWay Research. A total of 2,000 Bible readers participated in the study through a demographically representative online panel. To qualify, participants had to read the Bible in a typical month either by themselves or as part of a family activity and not merely in a corporate setting. When asked whether they prefer "word-for-word translations, where the original words are translated as exactly as possible" or "thought-for-thought translations, where the translators attempt to reproduce the intent of the original thought rather than translating the exact words," 61 percent chose word-for-word.

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Resources for Accelerating Evangelism

'A Heart for the Community' Examines Cityreaching Trends 
A new book helps you minister in both urban and suburban contexts. A few years ago realities like Islam, gentrification, AIDS and multiculturalism were limited to the cities. Today, this affects both the urban and suburban landscape. Editors John Fuder and Noel Castellanos have gathered together a team of experts to develop the book A Heart for the Community, a rich resource designed to help you reach your community.
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Great Tool for Challenging Students in Their Faith 
Research suggests that about 45% of students from high school youth ministries toss their faith aside when they go to college. The Fuller Youth Institute describes this kind of faith like a jacket: easy to take on or off given the situation, as opposed to a faith that becomes integrated into every part of a student's life. Far too often for college students, once faith is tossed on the floor, it is quickly shoved aside amid the competing priorities of college. The websitewww.stickyfaith.org offers a video and discussion questions to foster conversation about faith and the transition to college.
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VisionSynergy Announces New Website 
VisionSynergy has updated its community website dedicated to empowering the leaders of missional networks and partnerships. VisionSynergy is committed to advancing collaboration in Christian ministry around the world. 
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Dear MAC Partner,

Just a year ago, I had the privilege of joining with some 4,200 Christian leaders from 198 nations of the world for the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelization which took place in South Africa. It was an outstanding gathering that has so much potential for the mission of Jesus Christ around the world.

The purpose of the congress was to bring a fresh challenge to the global Church to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all His teaching - in every nation, in every sphere of society and in the realm of ideas. I believe that purpose has been fulfilled in many ways in many places in the world including ministries, churches, denominations and individuals.

The Mission America Coalition is a part of the International Lausanne Movement which sponsored Cape Town 2011. We serve as the U.S. Lausanne Committee. As we gathered for our annual gathering in April of this year, we continued the flow of the Cape Town congress as we focused on evangelization in the United States and beyond.

We continue to build on the contributions of Cape Town 2011. As I reflect on those contributions, I believe that one of the most significant is the document entitled The Cape Town Commitment. It is a call to action that all of us should prayerfully consider. You can download the document for your prayerful review by going to our website atwww.missionamerica.org. I pray that you will do it today.

Paul Cedar



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for Ministry Decision Makers

Doubt Builds Faith
According to a 3-year longitudinal study of college kids and their faith by Fuller Seminary, the more students felt they had the opportunity to express their faith doubt while in high school, the higher levels of faith maturity and spiritual maturity they had in college. (Citizen Link 9/12/11)

One-Person One-Religion
Americans have drifted from clearly defined religious denominations to faiths fitting their personal preferences. America is a designer society. We want everything customized to our personal needs —clothing, food, education, and now religion, claims researcher George Barna. Barna laments, "People say, 'I believe in God. I believe the Bible is a good book. And then I believe whatever I want.'" A LifeWay Research study of Protestant pastors finds 62% predict the importance of being identified with a denomination will diminish over the next 10 years. Univ. of California Berkeley Sociologist Robert Bellah says, "You lose the capacity to make connections. Everyone is pretty much on their own." (USA Today 9/14/11)

Declining Denominational Brand Loyalty
LifeWay Research finds that, of more than 900 U.S. Protestant pastors polled, 76% personally consider it vitally important to be part of a denomination; however, 62% believe this will decline over the next decade. For example, in recent years church planters have avoided including a denominational affiliation in the church name in an effort to attract new believers. The higher the level of education attained by a pastor, the more they value denominational identification. Overall, the older a pastor, the higher they value denominational identification. (OneNewsNow 9/16/11)

Religious Decline
The percentages of Americans who know God exists (64%), say they've had a born-again experience (36%), and who pray several times a week (69%) have remained steady since the '80s. The percentages who read the Bible at least weekly (31%), watch religious TV (28%), feel extremely close to God (31%), consider themselves very or extremely religious (26%), or believe in heaven (86%) or hell (73%) have remained fairly static during the 17-year period measured, says Dr. Mark Chaves of Duke Univ. But, in 1957, 3% of Americans had no religious affiliation vs. 17% in '08. Weekly church attendance is closer to 25% than the 35%- 40% often reported. The percentages who never attend services rose from 13% in '90 to 22% in '08. The percentage who grew up with religiously active fathers fell from 70% for those born before 1900 to 45% for those born after '70. Since'80 the percentage who believe the Bible should be taken literally fell from 40% to 30%. The percentage who have a great deal of confidence in leaders of religious institutions has slipped from 35% in the '70s to 25% today.(American Religion: Contemporary Trends, Mark Chaves, Princeton Univ. Press 2011)

Pastors Concerned
82% of American Protestant pastors agree (55% strongly) with the statement, "I am concerned that the emerging generation of children, teens, and young adults is not embracing the Christian faith to the same degree as their parents." (Facts and Trends, Spring 2011)

On the one hand, 81% of self-identified Christian adults say they've made a personal commitment to Christ that is still important in their life today. 78% strongly agree spirituality is very important to them. 22% of self-identified Christians claim to be "completely dependent upon God." These figures help explain why a 52% of self-identified Christian adults believe there is much more to the Christian life than what they have experienced. Without a full determination to live like Christ and for Him, the path to complete transformation is blocked.(Maximum Faith by George Barna, Metaformation/SGG/WHCP, 2011)

Free Speech in the Pulpit
A new survey by the Alliance Defense Fund and LifeWay Research has found 86% of U.S. Protestant pastors believe the government should not regulate their sermons. "Pastors and churches shouldn't live in fear of being punished or penalized by the government," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. "Keeping the gospel central to what is preached is not in conflict with addressing the subject of political candidates when warranted. These results show that the desire to keep the gospel central does not mean that pastors want the IRS to regulate their sermons under the threat of revoking their church's tax-exempt status. No government-recognized status can be conditioned upon the surrender of a constitutionally protected right." (Church Report 9/12/11)

Collegiate Faith Crises
Millions of college freshmen are overwhelmed trying to make new friends, adjusting to more rigorous schoolwork, and learning to live away from home. Whether they also find time for church during their first two weeks on campus will set the mold for the rest of their college years, writes George Barna in his latest book, Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids. 61% of 20-somethings who regularly attended church as teenagers later left the pews. 40% of freshman had difficulty finding a church in college. Only 1 in 7 students surveyed said they were well-equipped for college, and less than 50% of seniors with doubts talked about them with others.(Pastor's Weekly Briefing 9/16/11)

Men & Faith
Church attendance among U.S. men declined from 42% to 36% between '91 and '11 claims George Barna in his book, Futurecast. At the same time, Sunday school attendance declined from 21% to 13% and volunteering at a church slipped from 24% to 18%. In addition, the proportion of men who believe the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches fell from 43% to 33% and having personal responsibility to share their religious views with others dropped from 28% to 23%. Yet, regular Bible reading remained unchanged, (41% in '01 and 40% in '91). (Barna Update 8/1/11)

Focus on the Family
laid off 49 people on 9/16 due to revenues failing to meet budget expectations. The family ministry's staff is now 650, down from 1,400 just a few years ago. (Foster Network 9/11)

Combined Attendance
of 2011Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches is 638,693. These churches added 97,168 people over their combined previous year's attendance, an average of more than 970 per church These 100 churches include 246 worship sites. (Outreach 100, 2011)

Educated More Religious
A new Univ. of Nebraska study challenges the notion that the more educated a person becomes, the less religious they become. Although education does influence Americans' religious beliefs and activities, the effects are more complex than conventional wisdom suggests. The study found higher levels of education eroded Americans' viewpoints that their specific religion is the "one true faith" and that the Bible is the literal Word of God. Education was also positively associated with belief in the afterlife. And while more highly educated Americans were somewhat less likely to definitely believe in God, it's because some of them believed in a higher power, not because they were particularly likely to not believe at all. Also disaffiliating, or dropping religion altogether, was not a popular option for highly educated Americans, in fact, having a greater level of education was associated most often with converting to mainline, non-evangelical Protestant denominations. (Church Report 8/11/11)

A new Concordia Univ. and Mount Allison Univ. study finds structured homeschooling may offer opportunities for academic performance beyond those typically experienced in public schools. Though numerous studies have shown the benefits of homeschooling, this was one of the first "nonpartisan" studies to investigate home education vs. public schooling. Structured homeschoolers outperformed public school students from a half-grade advantage in math to 2.2 grade levels in reading. (LifeSite News 9/13/11)

Fathers Needed
Research at Montreal's Concordia Univ. shows fathers who actively engage in raising their children make important contributions to their children's cognitive abilities and behavioral functioning. Compared with other children with absentee dads, kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older, even among socio-economically at-risk families. Girls whose fathers were absent during their middle childhood had significantly higher levels of emotional problems at school than girls whose fathers were present. (LifeSite News 9/9/11)

Generation X Married Couples prefer monogamy to divorce, finds Univ. of Virginia's National Marriage Project. The number of divorces in the U.S. has been in decline since it peaked in '80. The decline is particularly true among highly educated couples, only 11% of whom divorce during their first 10 years of marriage vs. 37% of the rest of the population. Religious practice is an even better predictor than a college degree of happiness in marriage and low risk of divorce.(Baltimore Sun 8/1/11)

Marriage Marginalized
Brookings Institute scholars are concerned about the marked decline of marriage among those who have graduated from high school, but have no college degree. This cohort comprises 58% of the adult U.S. population. Although marriage is still highly regarded across U.S. social classes, in recent years, moderately educated Americans have become less likely to form stable, high-quality marriages, while college-educated Americans (30% of the adult population) have become more likely to do so. High school-only grads are markedly more likely than college grads to have 3 or more sex partners in a lifetime. Although many college grads cohabit before marriage (however, fewer than non-college grads) 94% marry before having their first child. Among high school-only grads, just 56% marry before their first child's birth. Divorce rates among college grads have fallen to 1970 levels in recent years, while rising slightly for high-school grads. (Pastor's Weekly Briefing 8/25/11)

Divorce Costs
On average a divorce costs a couple $2,500 on the front end. But the costs of government support for single-parent families, can cost taxpayers anywhere from $20-30,000/year. America has had 1 divorce for every 2 marriages for 36 years, says Michael McManus. Our divorce rate is triple that of Britain or France. After 5 years, 23% of Americans have divorced vs. 8% in Britain or France, and 10% in Canada. (LifeSite News 8/22/11)

Background Checks Work
More than 25,000 background checks conducted by churches or organizations on prospective workers in the past three years have turned up more than 1,600 felony offenses, with the number of organizations conducting background checks having risen 27% in the past year, according to LifeWay Christian Resources. (Baptist Press 9/12/11)

Prime of Life
During a recent study 350,000 Americans of all ages were asked what season of their lives produced the greatest amount of happiness. It was discovered that after age 50, not all but most people are happier, less anxious, less stressed, and have less hostile emotions. (My Next Book-Year7-Chapter 15, Bob Buford)

Want a Job, Get an Education
In March '11; the national unemployment rate was 12% for people with only a high-school diploma, 4.5% for college grads, and 2% for those with a professional degree. (Atlantic Magazine 9/11)

Downward Mobility
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans who grew up middle-class has slipped down the income ladder as an adult, finds a new Pew Charitable Trusts report. Downward mobility is most common among middle-class people who are divorced or separated from their spouses, did not attend college, scored poorly on standardized tests, or used hard drugs. Being married helps people avoid the worst economic outcomes. Education, particularly going to college, is another crucial factor in economic stability. African American men have a particularly hard time clinging to middle-class status.(Washington Post 9/6/11)

Don't Leave Home Without It
Based on a recent LSU Agricultural Center study. Nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames stated, "With breakfast, students think faster and clearer and have better recall. Breakfast eaters also score higher on tests and have better concentration and muscle coordination." Most studies show children who eat breakfast are more alert and perform better on school tests than children who do not eat breakfast. They are also more creative and energetic. (Christian Post 6/24/11)

Builder & Senior Generations
Among Builders (1927-1945) and Seniors (born prior to 1927), Sunday school attendance dropped by 8 points, from 28% in '91 to 20% in '11. Weekly Bible reading also declined by 8 points, from 54% to 46%. Unexpectedly, this group has had a 12-point increase in attending a church of 600 or more people. Their proportion of unchurched has climbed 8 points to 29% since '91. There has been a 10% increase in the number of Elders who have made a personal commitment to Jesus that is still important in their life today to 76%. Their percentage of Born Agains has risen by 11 points to 49%. 71%today vs. 80% in '91 believe God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe who continues to rule today. (Futurecast by George Barna, Barna Books, 2011)

Web Surfing Helps Work
According to a new study, surfing the Web actually refreshes tired workers and increases their productivity, compared to other distractions like personal calls, texts or emails. "Browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function," a Nat'l Univ. of Singapore study. However, personal emailing was particularly distracting. When browsing the Internet, people usually choose to visit only the sites they like. "It's like going for a coffee break. It is pleasurable and rejuvenating," wrote Don J.Q. Chen and Vivien K.G Lim, study authors. (WSJ 8/22/11)

Multi-site Mergers
A recent Leadership Network survey of churches who had participated in a merger revealed that multi-site churches rated their experiences higher than churches that consolidated into one location. Multi-site churches also reported greater growth after a merger. (Advance 8/23/11)

Fast Facts:
  • 25 million copies of the Bible are sold in the U.S. annually.
  • 9 out of 10 homes in America have a Bible.
  • Only 16% of churchgoers read the Bible daily and 25% don't read it at all reports LifeWay Research.
  • Only 37% of regular church attenders say reading and studying the Bible has made a significant difference how they live their lives, finds a recent LifeWay Research study.
  • U.S. white adult weekly church attendance declined from 48% in '91 to 39% in '11.
  • U.S. white adult Sunday school attendance fell from 23% in '91to 14% in '11.
  • U.S. white adult Bible reading slid from 42% in '91 to 37% in '11.
  • Volunteering at a church dropped from 26% in '91 to 18% in '11.
  • The proportion of white adults who qualify as "unchurched" rose from 25% in '91 to 40% today.
  • U.S. white adults likely to have an orthodox view of God slipped from 72% in '91 to 66% inn '11.
  • U.S. white adults who believe the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches fell from 43% in '91 to 36% today.
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
  • 59% of parents of children 17 or younger living at home say their child has a TV in their bedroom.
  • 52% of parents of children 17 or younger living at home say their child has their own personal computer.
  • 63% of teen suicides come from fatherless homes. That's 5 times the national average.
  • Europe's population was 6% Muslim in '10 and projects that Muslims will represent 8% of the population by '30.
  • It is estimated U.S. publishers sold 2.6 billion books in '10, including 114 million e-books.
  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

News and Trends information compiled and edited by Gary Foster, President of Gary D Foster Consulting, a firm that assists Christian ministries and product companies in solving management, marketing, donor/customer service and product development problems. Contact Gary at: 419.238.4082, GFosterCns@rmi.net or go towww.GaryDFoster.com.


Cityreaching Conference Call - Nationwide
October 20, 10 a.m. CDT

National Prayer Conference Call for Evangelism - Nationwide
October 5, 12, 19, 26, Noon CDT
(641) 715-3300, passcode 416432#

National Prayer Conference Call for Evangelism Leaders - Nationwide October 28, 10 a.m. CDT 
(712) 451-6000, passcode 268855#

CCDA National Conference-Innovate at Indianapolis 2011 - Indianapolis
October 12-16

CCDA National Student Leadership Intensive-Indianapolis 
October 13-15

NACSW 2011 Convention - Pittsburg 
October 20-23

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church-Worldwide
November 13

National Youth Leaders Conference - Atlanta
November 18-20

Pacific Northwest City Impact Roundtable - Vancouver, Wash. 
December 6-7

MAC National Leadership Consultation on Evangelism - Colorado Springs
October 15-17, 2012

Newsletter Archive | Free MAC membership | Lausanne Movement | Subscribe


If you would like to support the Mission America Coalition,
including initiatives like Loving Our Communities to Christ, donate online.

www.missionamerica.org | info@missionamerica.org 
Mission America Coalition | P.O. Box 13930 | Palm Desert, CA 92255

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Using Prayer as a Witnessing Tool


So often, when friends in our faith community tell us of a personal need, we respond by saying, "I'll pray for you." Are we as quick to use that response in the marketplace? What would happen if we did just that in our daily lives at work and in our neighborhoods? What if we said, "I'll pray for you," and really prayed and then followed up with a concerned question about how it's going? Based on what I've seen, it would give us more and better opportunities to share the gospel with others. >>>

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Orlando 2011 - Hot-off-the-web Report

Thank you for praying!

(the full newsletter is here >>>)

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APRIL 2011
Evangelism news from the Mission America Coalition (U.S. Lausanne Committee)

The whole Church taking the whole gospel to the whole nation - and to the world.

110 Tables, 28 Affinity Consultations, Three Venues --
U.S. Leaders Seek Vision for Evangelism at Orlando 2011


110 Tables, 28 Affinity Consultations, Three Venues -- U.S. Leaders Seek Vision for Evangelism at Orlando 2011About 700 people gathered in Orlando, Fla. to seek God's vision for evangelism in the next decade. The U.S. Lausanne Committee / Mission America Coalition (MAC) convened leaders to consult together and seek God's vision for evangelism in this decade. The meetings centered around four plenary sessions with immediate table dialog and 28 separate "affinity consultation" groups, their topics spanning every arena of evangelism and missions from global justice to creation care to Islam to mobilizing congregations in missions. The affinity groups discussed the issues the Church faces in carrying out the Great Commission and practical next steps for those involved. 


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I am writing you today to invite and urge your partnership for Orlando 2011: A Leadership Consultation to Revitalize & Reshape Evangelism and Missions in the U.S..  Pastor Phil Miglioratti, Coordinator of the National Pastors Prayer Network (NPPN) is providing significant leadership for Orlando 2011.


Orlando 2011 will take place April 4-6, 2011, in Orlando, FL.  See more at http://www.missionamerica.org/Brix?pageID=23811


Internationally respected prayer leader Steve Hawthorne from Waymakers (http://waymakers.org/) and myself are serving Orlando 2011 by planning and leading the prayer "consultation" team as we review and identify strategies for mobilizing prayer that will influence prayer evangelism for the next decade.


Here's how you can help:


1.  Serve on the Prayer planning team to help finalize plans for the Prayer consultation sessions.


2.  Attend Orlando 2011 and lend your expertise to the Prayer consultation sessions.  See more information at http://www.missionamerica.org/Brix?pageID=23810


3.  Pray for Orlando 2011.


4.  Share this invitation with others with a passion and interest in prayer.


Andrew Murray said, "The man who mobilizes the church to pray will have the greatest impact on world evangelization than anyone in history."  Together, we can make a tremendous impact for good in our nation.


Please reply today to let me know how you will partner with us in seeing our nation turn back to God.


See more current information on Orlando 2011 and what God is doing across the nation below.  Contact me with questions at tbush@visionsd.org.  Blessings, Thomas



Thomas Bush| Prayer Coordinator San Diego SBA and San Diego Regional Prayer Network
   4608 Gardena Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110

    Cell: (619) 742-8694
    Office  619.275.2550


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Partners in the Harvest: 


Would you set aside time this week (Apr 4-7) to pray daily for Orlando 2011: A Leadership Consultation to Revitalize & Reshape Evangelism and Missions in the U.S..  As we see the condition of our culture and the shift of populations to cities, we know that we must cry out to God to build His church for this generation.


Orlando 2011 will take place April 4-7, 2011, in Orlando, FL.  See more at http://www.missionamerica.org/Brix?pageID=23811.  God has drawn an overflow of over 700 leaders to Orlando 2011 from around the nation to meet with Him and each other.  (The attendance goal was 500)


Prayer Requests:


Would you invite those you know to call out in prayer from Joel 2:16-18 - so that He would "spare His people", "redeem His name," and "guard and honor His land"? (See passage below)


Pray for each one of the 28 Leadership Consultation teams.  Steve Hawthorne from Waymakers (http://waymakers.org/) and I would appreciate your prayers for the prayer "consultation" team on Tues and Wed afternoons as we review and identify strategies for mobilizing prayer that will influence prayer evangelism for the next decade.


Special Note:  You can also connect with any of the affinity groups including the "Reaching/Transforming U.S. and Global Cities" affinity group with your own account at: www.servingbettertogether.com.


Thanks in advance for your prayers!  Blessings, Thomas for Orlando 2011


"Gather all the people— the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room. Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence, stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.  Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord! Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery. Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say, Has the God of Israel left them?’” Then the Lord will pity his people and jealously guard the honor of his land."  Joel 2:16-18 The Message


Thomas Bush (and Steve Hawthorne) for the Orlando 2011 Prayer Affinity Consultation Team

 "Prayer is responding to God's invitation to come into His presence."

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Leadership Consultation on Evangelization

Convened by The U.S. Lausanne Committee / Mission America Coalition
April 4-7, Orlando

US MtgOn Sunday afternoon of the last day at the Lausanne Cape Town 2010 Congress, participants gathered according to country into breakout sessions. The Mission America Coalition team helped coordinate the U.S. meeting and cast vision for a spring gathering in the United Sates that would bring those delegates together with hundreds of MAC / U.S. Lausanne Committee partners and other Christian leaders. The purpose of this gathering is to bring together practitioners, academic leaders, mission strategists, pastors, evangelists - all who carry a burden for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform neighbors and neighborhoods, nations and corporations.

Fueled by the glorious gathering of the Church in Cape Town, MAC partners, Cape Town 2010 participants, and leaders from the cities of America will come together for a catalytic consultation on evangelization. We will be in listening mode and learning mode: seeking the mind of Christ on how to reshape our efforts at evangelizing our home nation and looking for ways to partner with the global Church in reaching the nations with the message of Christ. Take advantage of early-bird registration rates at www.missionamerica.org. Then, help us shape the meeting that will shape the future - add your ideas and insights at www.orlando2011.org.

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Turn Around

I was running just a little late for church when I saw Nancy from the Caribou coffee shop walking along Main Street. I suspected she was walking to work, although she was several blocks from her destination. I've had a few spiritual conversations with Nancy, but she's not too impressed with "the Church." Thinks we're a bunch of hypocrites.

Suddenly I had a thought flash through my mind. "Turn around and invite Nancy to church."

I drove past a couple of traffic lights, hoping the thought was not actually from the Lord. But it didn't leave me, even as I reasoned with God that I would be really late for church if I turned around.

"Invite Nancy to church."

Great. Just great. This is not comfortable.

I turned around and pulled up next to Nancy. Naturally, she was startled as she looked over at me.

"Um, Nancy, I feel like I'm supposed to invite you to church."

Naturally, she was startled by my invitation. She declined, as she was on her way to work her shift. But she accepted my offer to give her a ride the rest of the way.

"Nancy, um, last time we talked, you were exploring some unusual spiritual things such as astrology. Where are you at with spiritual stuff?" I asked.

"Interesting you should ask," Nancy replied. "Just last night I decided I was supposed to read the Bible, so I searched around the house to find one."

As I explored a bit more with her, she remembered that she read the verse in Philippians about being able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

"Well, Nancy, just so you know, I really believe that. I live my life according to that truth."

I pulled up in front of Caribou, our conversation ending way too quickly. I asked Nancy if there was any way I could pray for her. "Pray that I will make it to church tonight," she replied as she got out of the car.

"OK, I'm right on that, Nancy!"

Yes, I was late for church. But I'm pretty sure I heard God about turning around. He loves to do that.
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