Pastor Kong Hee of Singapore's City Harvest Church has continued his tour around Southeast Asia, focusing this week on Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, which he called a "big harvest field" for Christianity.
Kong also spoke about the importance of implementing church "cell groups," which he argued allow even the world's biggest megachurches to effectively care for all of its members.
"What a big harvest field Indonesia is. The number of Christians has grown from 1.3 million to 24 million in the past 40 years, making up approximately 10 percent of the country's population," Kong wrote on Facebook. more >>
Throughout the ages, the Gospel has traversed borders and overcome language and cultural barriers to prick the hearts of mankind. The last 2,000 years of the spread of Christianity have been illustrated in an animated map that charts the Great Commission in the span of 90 seconds.
"The Spread of the Gospel," created by Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences, demonstrates how Christianity once extended far and wide from its cradle in the Middle East, experienced a brief period where it lost ground around the 820s AD, and rebounded a little over 100 years later. The map shows the proliferation of Christianity with the added context of the spread of the Roman and Byzantine empires.
Along with Christianity, the rise of Islam, the world's second-largest religion after Christianity, is also depicted — the two faiths overlapping in places like the Arabian Peninsula, in portions of northern Africa, and in parts of Spain and Portugal by the early 700s AD, according to the map. more >>
Hundreds of thousands of Christians are worshiping secretly in a rapidly accelerating house church movement in Iran, as a London-based theological center is aiding the movement by training the next generation of its spiritual leaders.
The Iranian government labels Christianity as a threat to the nation's Islamic identity and imprisons over 100 Christians for worshiping Christ. Such crackdowns on faith, however, have not prevented Iranian house churches from blossoming into a movement too big for the Iranian religious police to contain.
Some estimates, such as one provided by Open Doors USA, record as many as 450,000 practicing Christians in Iran, while other, more optimistic estimates, record over 1 million Christians in the Islamic republic. more >>
The persecution of Chinese Christians at the hands of the ruling Communist Party continues to be documented by a number of human rights groups who noted that entire churches are being demolished in Zhejiang Province, considered the heartland of Chinese Christianity.
Human Rights Watch released its 2016 report of human rights abuses being committed around the world, and noted that China is facing several problems, documenting the arrests of various human rights defenders, including those who have stood up for freedom of religion.
HRW pointed out in its report that government authorities led a campaign in 2015 demolishing church crosses and even entire churches. more >>
Tasha Cobbs has never shied away from speaking about her battle with depression, but now she wants churches to do the same thing.
In an interview with Essence magazine, the 34-year-old "Jesus Saves" singer detailed her own battle with depression. Although she helped lead worship at her church, her struggles with sad feelings while growing up spiraled into full-blown depression.
"I could get up and sing and watch people be delivered and set free and experience freedom in their lives, and yet I would go home and be under the covers, with the curtains closed, not eating, never coming out of my room for days at a time. My cousin Shaniqua — who was my roommate at the time — knew the routine," she revealed to Essence. "This time I had been in the bed for three or four days and I hadn't left my room. The house was completely dark; curtains closed, and the sadness was so heavy in that house that she literally moved out and moved into my pastor's house for that week because it was just too heavy for her." more >>
Pastor Greg Laurie delivered a special sermon at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, on Sunday, just days before Harvest America, and encouraged the congregation not to hesitate in sharing the Gospel with the people they meet.
"Christ has given us our marching orders," Laurie, the pastor of the Harvest Fellowship megachurch in Southern California, told the audience at Prestonwood. "Jesus didn't say the whole world should go to the Church, but He did say the Church should go to the whole world."
Talking about the big crusade, Harvest America 2016, which will be held at the AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play on March 6, Laurie said about 4,000 host sites are participating in it, making the Gospel known to people not only in all the states in the U.S., but also 50 other countries. more >>