AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – INTERNATIONAL NEWS 2nd SEPTEMBER 2013

  • 24/7 CHRISTIAN PRAYER MOVEMENT SWEEPS MUSLIM INDONESIA
  • POPE FRANCIS SPEAKS OUT ON HOMOSEXUALITY
  • FULLER SEMINARY RESPONDS TO ARTICLE ON SEXUALITY AND GENDER GROUP
  • CHRISTIAN LEADERS TOLD IT IS TIME TO COOL THE HYPE
  • GOSPEL FLOURISHES IN EGYPT EVEN AS CHRISTIANS BRACE FOR MORE ATTACKS
  • JEWISH PRAYER FOCUS 2013 BEGINS SPTEMBER 4
  • HONDURANS BELIEVE FOR THEIR NATION TO BE SAVED IN A DAY
     

24/7 CHRISTIAN PRAYER MOVEMENT SWEEPS MUSLIM INDONESIA

A powerful prayer movement is rising in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation.  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Indonesian Christians intercede for their country. It is something never witnessed before in Indonesia’s history. Dr. Bambang Widjaya is one of the leaders within the movement. “We can see the zeal, not only among the evangelical or Pentecostals, but also in the mainline protestant and Catholic churches that we need to spread the Good News of Christ all over the country,” Widjaya said. Global prayer leaders are amazed at the Indonesian believers’ unity in praying for their country and the world.

“I just think the Father is looking out on the corridors of heaven and he’s saying, ‘Hey, Jesus, come here. Look! Look! Look down at Indonesia,” Tom Victor with the Great Commission Coalition exclaimed. “Hey, they are really loving each other, they are getting it, and they are fulfilling your prayer. Hey, watch this. And he’s blowing His Holy Spirit across the country and everything is going to a new dimension, something we don’t understand in the natural,” he continued. “There’s favour, there’s faith, there’s grace and they are transforming a nation.”  It’s a spiritual transformation that is bathed in 24-hour prayer.

Thirty miles outside the sprawling capital city Jakarta sits a multi-story building that serves as a prayer tower for around-the-clock intercession. “Twenty-four hours a day we are praying for churches in Indonesia, all the pastors and lay leaders. There’s not a single hour or day that goes by without prayers lifted up for our country,” Jeffrey Petrus said. Petrus is caretaker of the prayer tower. For 12 years this simple room with several bunk beds has been his home away from home. “We take shifts of four hours a day. When people get tired, they take a short rest on one of the bunk beds, then back to praying,” he said.

Dedi Purwanto works with Petrus as a prayer leader. He said the prayer rooms are packed with people at all hours of the day. Purwanto believes the prayers lifted from this place and other sites across Indonesia are shaking the spiritual foundations of his nation. “There is power when hundreds of thousands of believers meet in either small prayer groups, houses of prayer, or prayer towers like this one,” Purwanto said. Nearly 13% of the globe’s Muslims live in Indonesia, making the island nation home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Indonesia boasts a thriving economy and is one of the key political powers in the region.

“For years we’ve been praying for our government, the media, and young people. We’ve also prayed for better relations between Christians and Muslims. God is answering those prayers,” Petrus said. And Christianity is growing despite the occasional reports of Muslim harassment. Christians credit the massive prayer movement that’s connecting some 500 Indonesian cities with more than 5 million intercessors with giving them a deeper passion to see the nation and the world won for Jesus. “I do believe that there is power in prayer, especially in united prayer across the body of Christ like this,” Rev. Daniel Pandji, who heads up Indonesia’s National Prayer Network, said.

In an unprecedented show of unity, Christians filled the country’s national stadium last year, with millions more watching on television, as they pledged to reach every village, town, and city in Indonesia with the gospel of Jesus Christ. “All of the churches here in Indonesia believe that Jesus is the only answer for the country,” Dr. Widjaya said. Back at the prayer tower, Petrus and his faithful prayer warriors are on their knees. “Day and night, weekends and holidays, we’ll be here crying out to God for our country and the world,” he said. “This is our calling to be the watchmen on the walls of Indonesia.”

Source: CBN News

 

POPE FRANCIS SPEAKS OUT ON HOMOSEXUALITY

Pope Francis has reaffirmed the Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are a sin whilst going on to say that homosexuals should not be judged or marginalized and should be integrated into society.  His statement was made during an airborne interview with journalists on his way back from a recent visit to Brazil, which climaxed with a huge gathering in Rio de Janeiro for a world Catholic youth festival, which organizers estimated to have attracted more than 3 million people. In making the statement Francis referred to the Catholic Church’s universal catechism, which says that while homosexual orientation is not sinful, homosexual acts are.

“If a person is homosexual and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?” the Pope said. “The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this orientation but that they must be integrated into society,” he said, speaking in Italian. “The problem is not having this orientation. The problem is lobbying by this orientation. This is the worse problem,” he said. Francis was answering a question about reports of a “homosexual lobby”in the Vatican, after it suffered a string of scandals over paedophile priests and corruption in the administration of the Holy See.

In a far reaching interview Pope Francis also addressed the issue of women priests, the Pope said, “The Church has spoken and says ‘no.’ … That door is closed.” It was the first time he had spoken in public on the subject. “We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity. There must be more,” he said in answer to a question. “But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says ‘no.’ Pope John Paul said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed,” he said, referring to a document by the late pontiff that said the ban was part of the infallible teaching of the Church.

The Church teaches it cannot ordain women because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles. Advocates of a female priesthood say He was acting according to the customs of His times. Many in the Church, even those who oppose a female priesthood, say women should be given leadership roles in the Church and the Vatican administration. The session on the plane was highly unusual in the history of the papacy for both its candour and breadth. Unlike his predecessor, Benedict, who knew in advance the questions journalists would be allowed to ask, 76-year-old Francis, who as an Argentine is the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, imposed no restrictions as he fielded 21 questions.

He said his weeklong trip to Brazil left him very fatigued but “did him a lot of spiritual good.” He spoke of reforms he had begun in the Vatican, which has been tarnished by a series of corruption scandals, including the Vatican bank, which is the target of several Italian money laundering investigations. Francis said the bank must become “honest and transparent”and that he will listen to the advice of a commission he has set up on whether it can be reformed or should be closed altogether. Francis referred directly to Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican prelate arrested last month on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 20 million euros into Italy from Switzerland.

“There are many people in the Vatican who are saints, but there are those who are not very saintly … and it pains me when this happens. There is this monsignor in jail. He didn’t go to jail because he resembled a saint…. These are scandals that do damage,” he said. Francis, who in Brazil chose to ride in an open-sided popemobile or a simple Fiat, said he was not concerned about the reduced security he has chosen compared to his predecessors. “Security lies in trusting people. It is true that there is always a danger that a crazy person might try to do something, but there is also the Lord,” he said, adding that he believed it would be even more crazyto be kept away from people.

Source: Breaking Christian News

 

FULLER SEMINARY RESPONDS TO ARTICLE ON SEXUALITY AND GENDER GROUP

Editors note:  Associated Press recently published an article that was re-produced in an earlier edition of International News which has been challenged as to accuracy and fairness by Fuller Seminary.  A clarifying statement has been issued by Fuller Seminary and in the interests of fairness we are publishing their statement clarifying the issues raised by the article’s author. 

Mr Fred Messick, Associate Vice President of Public Affairs at Fuller Seminary has responded to a recently published article written by an intern at the Associated Press claiming it was lacking in clarity and balance. Mr Messick said “The inference contained in the article that Fuller supported homosexual marriage was totally untrue. Fuller has not changed its policy regarding sexuality and marriage.  Students, faculty, and staff must agree to community standards which are the same as they have always been:  sexual behaviour outside of marriage or homosexual behaviour is not accepted.” 

Mr Messick went on “In terms of issues directly related to marriage, our community standards state that “Christ teaches that God the Creator intended marriage to be an unconditional covenant between a woman and a man. Statements in the article have also caused confusion about the composition of the OneTable group.  One story stated that Fuller has 36 gays and lesbians in OneTable.  This is untrue.  OneTable is a group of about 12 to15 participants with very diverse perspectives.  The intended purpose of OneTable is to provide a “safe forum” for people to discuss some of the personal and pastoral challenges regarding sexuality, including issues of sexual identity.”

“As with all student groups, OneTable also has a faculty advisor whose role is to share helpful insights as part of the dialogue about sexuality and gender issues. What has sometimes been miscommunicated in the media is the true purpose of the student group.  It is not to promote or advocate or campaign for political change or policy change.  Rather, its purpose is to provide a way for students to learn from each other’s experiences, to more fully understand the challenges around sexuality and gender issues, and to develop pastoral models for ministry” Mr Messick said. 

Mr Messick concluded “As a final note, many churches today are expressing to us the challenges they face in their congregations regarding issues such as sexuality and gender, as well as other issues.  Our hope is to provide opportunities for discussion, reflection, and learning that will help Fuller students pursue their callings as church and ministry leaders.”  Fuller is a multidenominational, evangelical seminary providing graduate-level training in schools of theology, psychology, and intercultural studies.  Fuller has more than 4,400 graduate-level students, and more than 38,000 alumni serving in a variety of ways.

Source: Statement issued by Fuller Seminary

 

CHRISTIAN LEADERS TOLD IT IS TIME TO COOL THE HYPE

Phil Cooke, a Christian media consultant, says that at different times in history, and for various reasons, Christian leaders have fallen victims to hype. The dictionary defines “hype” as “extravagant promotion.” In other words – it’s usually a lie, even if our purpose is noble. Today, we’re in another massive “hype cycle.” How many times have you heard about some Christian book, teaching series, conference, or media program that it would”impact this generation,” “change the world,” or “shake nations?” I believe one of the single biggest reasons the secular culture marginalizes Christianity is the hype factor.

Remember that this generation is the most marketed to, pitched, branded, and advertised generation in history. They can smell a con a mile away. Do you really believe they’re buying into the fact that your latest sermon is going to “change a generation” or “shake the nations?” Doubtful.  How about this idea: What if we start re-building our credibility with a little realism? What if the world starts to realize that what we say is true? That how we describe our lives, ministries, churches, and impact is honest? Who knows? They might even start believing what we’re teaching.

Source: Charisma Daily News

 

GOSPEL FLOURISHES IN EGYPT EVEN AS CHRISTIANS BRACE FOR MORE ATTACKS

Although a nervous calm seems to have descended on Egypt following weeks of unrest and violence, reports being received from within the embattled country indicate Christians are bracing for more attacks as they know the Muslim Brotherhood won’t decide  “go away quietly.” Still, despite the chaos, Middle East expert Tom Doyle says Christian leaders are excited because the Church is beginning to see great growth. They have noted that 20years ago, it was rare to hear of a Muslim becoming a Christian, but now it’s common, and happening in amazing ways.

“Muslims are privately seeking out Christians,” Doyle said, “They are learning more about Jesus, starting to read the Bible, and coming to faith in Him. This is something we see as normal today.” A report in Mission Network News quotes Doyle as saying evangelists often use a puzzle-like cube with pictures to share the Gospel with Muslims who have had visions or dreams about Jesus. Recently, he says, a Believer “was sharing the Gospel using the EvangeCube and this was the same picture that they saw in their dream of Jesus on the cross for them. How amazing is that?

Source: E3 Partners

 

JEWISH PRAYER FOCUS 2013 BEGINS SPTEMBER 4

The Jewish Prayer Focus is a call to intercession for the Jewish people for the 22-day period (September 4th – 25th) during the Holy Days of the Biblical calendar in Lev 23:26ff.  The main focus is to pray for the salvation of the Jews and also to prepare participants for the return of the Messiah, which these holidays foreshadow.  The prayer guide contains prayer points, teachings, testimonies, and introductions to Israeli congregations, mostly written by Messianic leaders themselves. Our 12th edition has the theme “Behold the Bridegroom, Come to meet Him” (Matt 25:1-13), and includesa fascinating explanation of biblical betrothal and marriage customs that shed much light on Jesus’ end-time teachings and the book of Revelation.

Copies available from JPF, PO Box 54, Kerrimuir, VIC 3129, or order by email to watchmen777@optusnet.com.auor call 03-98997231.  The cost is AUD$8.00 each, $15 for 2, $22 for 3, or $70 for 10 incl postage.  Cheques to Living Way Christian Network Inc (JPF is a sub-entity).   Also available at Koorong. 

Source: Statement by Jewish Prayer Focus organisers

 

HONDURANS BELIEVE FOR THEIR NATION TO BE SAVED IN A DAY

Christians in Honduras, one of Central America’s most violent countries, have joined together in the cry: “One nation; One day.” The intercession was in a response to a call by Honduran pastors to reach out to their nation with the Gospel of Christ. The Honduran government declared the following Saturday, a national holiday. That day, “simultaneous rallies held in 19 soccer stadiums invited the entire country to follow Christ.”  Said President Lobo who supported the initiative: “I want to thank you in the name of the people of Honduras. The true solution for the problems of Honduras is first of all to understand that God is the One who decides and orders everything.”

Source: CBN News