Disclaimer: Articles and links, as well as the source articles linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding and ASSIST News Service link: www.assistnews.net
Dan Wooding, ASSIST Ministries, reports…
North and South Korea have exchanged cross-border fire several times in recent years. South Korea has ordered the evacuation of residents from an area of its western border after an exchange of fire with North Korea, reports say. According to the BBC, North Korea fired a shell at a South Korean military unit, prompting the south to retaliate with several artillery rounds, the South’s defence ministry said.
‘South Korea’s National Security Council is due to hold an emergency session,’ stated the BBC. The western sea border has long been a flashpoint between the two Koreas. North Korea fired a projectile towards Yeoncheon, a town north-west of Seoul. Reports suggest the target could have been a loudspeaker broadcasting anti-Pyongyang messages.
The South then fired ‘dozens of rounds of 155mm shells’ towards where they thought the rocket was launched from, the ministry added in a statement. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage on either side.
Still ‘technically’ at war
North Korean execution
The two Koreas remain technically at war, because the 1950-1953 war ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. According to the BBC, the two sides have exchanged cross-border fire several times in recent years. A local official told AP news agency that about 80 residents in Yeoncheon had been evacuated, with other residents in the area also urged to take shelter.
The latest incident comes amid heightened tensions between the North and South. ‘Seoul has blamed the North for planting a landmine that injured two South Korea soldiers earlier this month,’ stated the BBC. ‘Since then, the sides have begun blasting propaganda broadcasts from loudspeakers along the border – restarting a practice both had suspended back in 2004.’
South Korea and the US also began annual joint military exercises – they describe the drills as defensive, but North Korea calls them a rehearsal for invasion.
Christian witnesses trained and ready to go north!
‘Gospel Messengers’ stand by to ‘invade’ North Korea with the good news. Thousands of South Korean Christians have been in training to take the gospel of Jesus Christ into North Korea and also plant churches there when the country finally opens up.
I discovered this some time ago while I was on a reporting trip to Seoul, South Korea, when I was taken to a training camp in the hills outside of Seoul where these Christians were undergoing vigorous training on how to live and work in North Korea.
One Christian, who asked not to be named, told me, ‘We believe that because of world pressure, North Korea will soon have to open up to get much-needed foreign currency and we have many ready and willing to move in there with the good news of Jesus Christ. They are aware that the country could be open for just a short time, and then it will close tight again, and they will be trapped inside. But they are willing to be martyrs for the gospel because they love the people of North Korea.’
I’ve also been to North Korea. It was back in the fall of 1994, and I was part of a small delegation of Christians who were the first group allowed into the secretive country after the funeral of Kim Il-sung, known to his people as ‘The Great Leader.’ We were led by North Korean-born Dr David Cho (no relation of Dr Paul Yonggi-Cho, the South Korean preacher and former head of what is believed to be the world’s largest church, Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul).
I reported daily from the capital city of Pyongyang for the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC and we were taken all over the country, even to the North Korean side of Panmunjom, the ‘truce village’ that straddles the border between North Korea and South Korea in the middle of the Demilitarised Zone that has split this peninsula since the Korean War ended in 1953.
We felt the tension in the DMZ, which is probably the most fortified border on Earth, with more than a million soldiers facing each other with enough artillery to obliterate each other in a matter of hours. Tension constantly runs high there – more than 50 Americans, 1,000 South Koreans and countless North Koreans have died in skirmishes along the DMZ in the past years. The area is dotted with land mines and razor wire and concrete tank bunkers and Communist soldiers dug into mountainsides behind cast-iron ‘blast doors’ to protect them against bombs dropped from American B-52s.
Christianity – one of the greatest threats to the regime
We even attended a church service at Pongsu Church, Pyongyang, one of three churches that were allowed to operate in North Korea at the time – two Protestant and one Catholic. These ‘official’ churches are strictly controlled, but there are many illegal house churches operating secretly. It is also believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently suffering in North Korean prison camps. In fact, North Korea is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world.
The communist country is characterised by a complete lack of religious freedom and of many human rights violations. For the twelfth year in a row, Open Doors’ World Watch List ranks North Korea as the worst violator of religious rights in the world.
Christianity is observed as one of the greatest threats to the regime’s power. The government will arrest not only the suspected dissident, but also three generations of his family to root out the bad influence!
Residents have been ordered to leave their shops and homes and evacuate to bunkers and shelters. I ask you all to pray for the people of North Korea and also that the country does indeed open up for the gospel messengers from the South; that they will bring a gospel of peace to a people who have seen little of that. It is only then that they will find true happiness!
Jeremy Reynalds, ASSIST Senior Correspondent, reports that…
According to a news release from the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), Christians living there have received no help from the government of Pakistan or any charities. They have been affected by the Pakistan floods every year since 2010, and yet no disaster recovery plan or infrastructure has been put in place to enhance their safety or security.
Government agencies and Muslim charities have set up tents and are providing clean water, food and medical aid to these regions. That can’t be said for the Christians of Kasur.
BPCA said when its Pakistan officer, Naveed Aziz, arrived he immediately noticed the disheveled existence of the communities in the area. Victims had lost most of their possessions, which had been washed away with their homes or irretrievably ruined by water damage.
Devastation and desperation
(Photo courtesy BPCA)
Speaking in the news release Aziz said, ‘I was shocked at the immense devastation before me. It was a lot to take in. People are in real desperation and children are starving. I am surprised and shocked at the lack of help from Pakistani authorities.’
Aziz spoke to local residents and was encouraged by their bravery and resilience. He said they spoke of their faith in God, and their belief that he would find provisions for them. The families had been working together to arrange boats to get people to safety during the floods. Since its dissipation, they returned to find much of their livestock and crops have not survived.
‘Although they are worried about how they will see themselves through this lean spell, they have placed their trust in God. There is a desperate need for clean water, and we have asked for the funders of our Jaranwala pump project to allow us to build a clean water pump for the community as they have none, added Aziz.
In the meanwhile the group has only raised £220 from its flood appeal, but as he pointed out, ‘This is woefully short of the level we need and we call urgently on our faithful supporters to please give to this necessary work. This community needs food, clean water, medical support and new clothes and furniture. Many have lost their mud homes and we need to help build new properties.’
For some downtrodden families the whole devastation was simply too much, BPCA reported Aziz said. Feeling without options, they have given up their freedom and signed (with a thumb print) bonded labour contracts just for food and shelter.
Wilson Chowdhry, BPCA chairman, said, ‘My heart bleeds for this community, young children are starving and families choose to sell themselves into slavery for survival, illustrating that humanity has left the nation of Pakistan. I shed tears when I heard the story of this repeated plight and hope others are moved by the tragic lifestyle these families face daily. I hope hearts are stirred to offer help to these victims, as I believe one day we all have to answer to our maker.’
BPCA asked for prayer that the Pakistan government builds infrastructure to prevent the huge annual loss of life due to weather, and that India and Pakistan are able to put aside differences and coordinate a mutually beneficial flood prevention/reduction program: ‘Pray for Christians to no longer be overlooked when flooding occurs, and that they can afford to rebuild their homes and replace what they have lost.’
Jeremy Reynalds (email@example.com) is also a freelance writer and the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter (www.joyjunction.org) Recommended: A Sheltered Life – http://www.amazon.com/A-Sheltered-Life-Take-Streets/dp/1449790208 and his newest book From Destitute to Ph.D – www.myhomelessjourney.com
Leading The Way’s Dr Youssef tells Christians to ‘look up’ in troubled times
Dr Michael Youssef urged Christians to be dedicated to consistent prayer and practical support for the persecuted church…
A recent Leading The Way news release reported that with Christians facing increasing persecution around the world, Dr Michael Youssef (left)is encouraging Christians to ‘look up to God’ and trust him in prayer m e than ever before.
Persevering in faith
Speaking to the congregation at Kensington Temple in London, Leading The Way’s founder and president shared about how the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in February trusted God even to the point of death and were expectant as they were about to meet Jesus: ‘I heard so many amazing stories that they were singing and reciting the Lord’s prayer and they received death with joy.’
During his message Dr Youssef urged believers to persevere in the faith: ‘Terrorism is rocking our world and discrimination against Christians has become rampant. Daily we hear of bloodshed and mayhem. But Psalm 121 teaches us how to cry out to God in trusting terms. We must come back to God, trusting that he will do the impossible.’
The 21 Coptic Christians about to be executed
How many churches pray each Sunday for the persecuted?
In a recent interview on London’s Premier Christian Radio, he urged listeners to dedicate consistent prayer and practical support to the persecuted church as the signs of the end times foretold by Christ in Matthew 25 become increasingly prevalent.
‘When tackling radical Islam and ISIS how many seconds each Sunday do churches dedicate to praying for the persecuted, those who are being beheaded, parents watching their children being crucified?’ Dr. Youssef said. ‘We need to help the persecuted. Leading The Way has a ministry called Help The Persecuted, providing help to many Iraqi and Syrian refugees who are fleeing persecution. There are many ministries helping the persecuted church who need our support and prayers.’
Dr Youssef also told Premier Christian Radio listeners about the tremendous opportunity to reach Muslims in the Arab world through Leading The Way’s broadcasts.
‘We are finding that the most effective way to reach Muslims in the Arab world is to communicate the love of Christ with them through our strategic satellite and Internet platforms. It is a revelation when they hear through our broadcasts that they can have a personal relationship with God and that he knows them by name,’ he added.
Many Muslims coming to Christ but, sadly, many others are becoming atheists
Leading The Way regularly hears from people like Mohammad (Not real name), who came to Christ through their Arabic broadcasts and personal discipleship.
One wrote: ‘I’m a 64-year-old Muslim and this is the first time I heard about Jesus Christ through your channel. Would you please send me a Bible?’
Also, a 23-year-old female listener of Leading The Way’s dual-language radio program in Turkey said: ‘I’m so glad that I found you on the radio. I did not know anything about Christianity. When I asked my family, they would not allow me to do any research. I got a Bible in secret… . I’m a child of the God of love now. I pray and believe that he will help me. Please pray with me.’
Dan Wooding interviewing Dr Youssef at the NRB 2015 convention in Nashville, Tennessee, as his younger son, Peter, films
Dr Youssef concluded: ‘While there are several million Muslims who have become Christians, there are also many millions who are becoming atheists in the Middle East. A lot of young people are saying that if this is religion, forget about it – which I see as an opportunity for us to share Christ with them.’
More about Islam and biblical insights on today’s world events in Dr Youssef’s Jesus, Jihad and Peace at www.JesusJihadPeace.com. Dr Michael Youssef Twitter link: @MichaelAYoussef. Link for European media enquiries: Peter Wooding firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBUQURQUE, NEW MEXICO
German scientists prove Gödel’s Proof for God’s Existence is correct
Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service, writes…
In a recent ABC News article, journalist David Knight writes that two German scientists have proven logician and mathematician Kurt Gödel’s theorem for God’s existence is logically accurate (link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/computer-scientists-prove-god-exists/story?id=20678984). The two computer scientists are Christoph Benzmuller and Bruno Wolzenlogel Paleo.
Knight writes, ‘The details of the mathematics involved in Gödel’s ontological proof are complicated, but in essence the Austrian was arguing that, by definition, God is that for which no greater can be conceived. And while God exists in the understanding of the concept, we could conceive of him as greater if he existed in reality. Therefore, he must exist.’
He added: ‘Even at the time, the argument was not exactly a new one. For centuries, many have tried to use this kind of abstract reasoning to prove the possibility or necessity of the existence of God. But the mathematical model composed by Gödel proposed a proof of the idea. Its theorems and axioms – assumptions which cannot be proven – can be expressed as mathematical equations. And that means they can be proven.’
Gödel’s Proof of God
Kurt Gödel was an Austrian-American mathematician, philosopher, and logician. Born in 1906 in the Czech Republic, he died in Princeton, New Jersey in 1978, having befriended Albert Einstein and other notable scientists. After teaching at Princeton, Gödel was institutionalised, thinking his food was poisoned.
Gödel is best known for his work in recursive axiomatic systems and incompleteness. From these systems the scientist derived Gödel numbering. Additionally, he was a believer in God and sought various proofs for God’s existence, one of which is the theorem the German scientists have recently verified.
Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein
For more information on Gödel I recommend three works that are both enjoyable and fairly approachable: Gödel: A Life of Logic by John Casti and Werner DePauli; A World Without Time: Gödel and Einstein by Palle Yourgrau; and Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Ethernal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter.
Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, minister and family man. Links: Brian Nixon@/ Twitter.com/BnixNews
Good shows and bad
MOVIEGUIDE® shares a concern re a new USA TV show…
It is so exciting that in 2015 Christian audiences have movies to see like Do You Believe?, War Room and Captive. There have even been some wonderful family movies such as Paddington, Cinderella and Inside Out. In profound ways, you can see the impact MOVIEGUIDE® has had in showing Hollywood that there is a big audience for content with strong faith and values.
Sadly, this is not the entire story. There are still those who despise Christianity and have a strong desire to mock Christians and morality. The latest example of this is a program on the TV Land network titled Impastor. The premise is that an immoral con-man takes on the identity of a gay pastor of a Lutheran church in a small town. He knows nothing about the Bible and participates in drugs and sexual promiscuity.
The broader issue of the disrespect for Christians needs to be addressed.
The entertainment industry is changing before our eyes. While a minuscule audience may see Impastor on its insignificant network, it will wind up in major digital libraries like Amazon Prime. The material on these digital platforms reaches a huge, and growing, audience.
What these services need to know is that Christians make up a high percentage of their subscriber base. If they felt that they might lose many more subscribers than they gain by providing programs such as Black Jesus or Impastor, they may be encouraged not to provide such programming.
MOVIEGUIDE® proposes a measured approach to the video streaming services requesting that they show respect for their many Christian subscribers. The best strategy for dealing with the mocking of Christianity in the entertainment business is a huge letter writing campaign to subscription services. If they get enough letters, they may decide not to carry Impastor, or the next vulgar insult some Christ-hater wishes to make. Join our huge letter campaign and make a difference by clicking here!
Meanwhile, the other important thing you can do is to go out and support movies like War Room and Captive. Your support of these movies encourages Hollywood to make more of them. We have so much to be thankful for these days. So, let’s support the good and politely request that the major streaming services be respectful to their many Christian subscribers. Encourage family-friendly, moral and faith-friendly movies, TV programs and videos.
MOVIEGUIDE® links: http://www.movieguide.org /Movieguideadmin@movieguide.org ___________________________________________________________________________________
WEST RYDE, SYDNEY
‘Exciting change in the world of Koorong’
Koorong Books’ managing director Paul Bootes happily shares the following special announcement…
An exciting change has happened in the world of Koorong. Bible Society Australia – a charity whose important cross-denominational mission is to translate, distribute and engage people with the Bible – has acquired Koorong in a union that I believe will make us, and the Christian community, stronger.
I know that the time is right for this to happen. Both Bible Society Australia and the Koorong Leadership Team have sensed the hand of God in this move as we have worked together over the last few months to get to this announcement day.
I will continue to lead Koorong operations – carrying on the Koorong ministry begun by my parents 40 years ago when they started selling books and Bibles from our garage. Rest assured that it will be business as usual at our stores and at Koorong.com. We will continue with our mission to serve the body of Christ with the supply of Bibles, Christian books, and other excellent resources.
This is great news for our customers too, who will now know that their purchases are going to help provide access to the Bible around the world and that Koorong will be in the capable hands of the oldest continuous organisation in Australia.
CEO of Bible Society Australia, Dr Greg Clarke, said to me that he believes this is a ‘match made in heaven,’ and I agree. It will ensure that both groups are positioned for growth for years to come.
I am energised and excited about what God is doing in our country and around the world and know that there is much more that will be possible now that Koorong is part of an even bigger ministry organisation.
Links:https://www.koorong.com/info/about-koorong/bible-society-autralia-partners-with-koorong.html?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=media+release&utm_content=Koorong+partners+with+Bible+Society&utm_campaign=eBibleSociety / Customer Service (02) 9857 4477
Christians should not expect to escape the coming persecution
Jack Hayford addresses the AG Council (Courtesy)
Charisma News reports that Pentecostal statesman, author and composer Dr Jack Hayford addressed attendees of the American Assemblies of God General Council, warning that American Christians shouldn’t expect to escape coming persecution in an increasingly wicked world.
AG General Superintendent George O Wood introduced him as the most-respected person in Pentecostal/charismatic circles today. Jack Hayford, founding pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, as well as The King’s University in Southlake, Texas, commended the AG for the magnitude of its global evangelism efforts.
‘Being here with you has an element of feeling at home,’ said Dr Hayford, former president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. ‘The kinship runs deep with this movement.’
Dr Hayford focused on the Great Commission and how Jesus foretold of the impartation of the Holy Spirit to prepare his followers for coming troubles. He noted that speaking in the Spirit has been a daily practice for him since the age of 18. While affirming speaking in tongues as the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, He cautioned attendees against viewing the gift solely in evidentiary terms.
‘God did not give it as a proof,’ Pastor Hayford said. ‘He gave it as a resource. Experiencing the Holy Spirit is essential for a church body to grow.’
He recounted that he considered a career as a pharmacist before surrendering to the ministry call and illustrated part of his talk by holding a pestle and mortar – much like the one he used as a young pharmacist’s assistant in blending medications. He noted that he initially didn’t want to yield to God’s ministry calling because he feared the Lord would send him overseas to be a missionary. But, he said, he came to learn being moulded by God is a rewarding process.
‘It’s better to let God mix the ingredients in your life than to measure your own,’ Jack Hayford said. Leaders must be open to brokenness before God, repeatedly allowing the Lord to adjust as necessary. At 81 and without the stamina he once had, Dr Hayford said he has a profound sense of wanting to allow God to reshape him in order that he can minister to others.
He said American churchgoers can’t ignore the reality that hundreds of Christ followers in the Middle East are dying for their faith. Christians in the US, especially the young, will face persecution, to the point of martyrdom, he predicted.
‘My prayer is for an awakening in our land right now,’ Dr Hayford said. ‘But the evil that is sweeping over our world will increase.’ The Holy Spirit’s empowerment would be necessary to stand unto death. He exhorted pastors to be passionate about the Holy Spirit as a way to lead new Christians into a life of discipleship.’
He added, ‘My prayer is that none of us be seen as merely promoting conformity to a ritual “baptism in the Holy Spirit’ to fulfil a creed or a denominational tradition. The world is coming unglued, darkness is deepening and the glow of the light of the world fills our hearts. But penetrating the darkness -now as then – will require the flames of Pentecost -and not only for a day.’
Excerpted from http://www.charismanews.com/world/51086-pastor-jack-hayford-christians-should-not-expect-to-escape-the-coming-persecution. Charisma News ( www.charismamag.com) is highly recommended