In days of seeking God deeply, I have been asking Him for insights about all that is happening in the world now. While my understanding grows, I want to share what is on my heart today in relation to three areas of crisis.
1. Global Crises
Across the globe, crises abound. The global spiritual crisis continues to grow as lostness escalates. Billions of people are in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As more than one-half of the global population is now living in the cities of the world, missional strategies must emerge that address reaching these cities. more >>
The conversation was both predictable and profound. It was predictable because I have been asked a similar question many times. It was profound because it represents the very nature of the challenges our congregations face today. "Thom," he began. "I have been serving as pastor of my church for over 20 years. I have never had more difficulty leading growth in a church. What is going on?"
My pastor friend emphasized two points clearly. First, he was not looking for an excuse for the lack of growth. Second, he wanted information so he could address the issue.
The pastor was right. Growth is indeed more difficult today in American congregations. And there are some clear reasons why this reality is true. more >>
The Deaf Bible Society has started a movement to bring the story of Jesus in sign language to the deaf community in the Middle East for the first time ever as a way to combat the Islamic State terrorist organization's efforts to recruit the overlooked deaf populations with promises of a "false hope."
As only 20 of the world's 400 sign languages have some form of Bible content available, there is not one sign language in the Middle East that has Bible content available to let those in the region who are deaf know that there is hope that can be found in the Savior Jesus Christ.
Deaf communities are often overlooked in the Middle East, they become susceptible to fall for the sense of empowerment promised to them by IS, a terrorist group that has become renowned for the lies it uses to recruit disenfranchised members of society. more >>
With the rise of Christian persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party over the past year, Chinese Christians are starting to speak out after many have been arrested for defending church crosses from forceful government removal.
"At least nine people I know have been taken away by the police and that figure is still rising," an unnamed church leader in the eastern province of Zhejiang told The Guardian on Thursday.
"We think it is a campaign targeting church leaders across the province. It can only be a co-ordinated action initiated by the provincial government." more >>
A group of at least eight Christian converts were beaten and arrested by Iranian authorities while they were gathered for worship inside a house church in the city of Karaj, an Iranian resistance group has reported.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, plainclothes officers raided the church earlier this month as part of a wide crackdown on house churches.
After raiding the house, the officers beat up the congregants and then confiscated their Bibles, other Christian literature and satellite dishes located on the premises. more >>
Two African-American churches that have served their urban Texas community for decades are fighting for survival as the city of Houston has made plans to bulldoze one of the church buildings and condemn the other church's properties in order to clear space for a new urban renewal project.
The Liberty Institute, the legal group representing Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and Latter Day Deliverance Revival Center in the city's Fifth Ward, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to prevent the city government from "stealing" the church properties through eminent domain.
The city has planned to procure four parcels of land in the Fifth Ward, which all are located on one city block, and include both the Christian Fellowship church building on New Orleans Street and three properties owned by Latter Day that are used for community gatherings and also serve as youth centers, rehabilitation ministries, food pantries and other important ministries. more >>