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THE HARVEST IS RIPE
The Harvest is ripe -- Here's proof:
Wycliffe: Vision 2025
Translation projects started in every language on the planet by 2025.
In "The Faith Equation," Dr. Marvin Bittinger, Professor of Mathematics at Purdue University and author of over 175 college math textbooks, claims that by 2033 every person on the planet capable of understanding the gospel will have been presented the gospel, according to modern evangelism trends.
34,000 converts each day in South America
28-37,000 Chinese converts daily
23-25,000 African converts daily
16,000 Muslims come to Christ daily - the following stories are all quoted.
"In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, a leading Saudi cleric, appeared on a live interview on Aljazeera satellite television to confirm that, sure enough, Muslims were turning to Jesus in alarming numbers. "In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity," Al Qataani warned. "Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity." Stunned, the interviewer interrupted the cleric. "Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have six million converting from Islam to Christianity?" Al Qataani repeated his assertion. "Every year," the cleric confirmed, adding, "a tragedy has happened."
Stories from Muslim countries: Iraq -- thousands of new Christians since Saddam was overthrown, many new churches started, Egypt -- some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so. The Egyptian Bible Society used to sell about 3,000 copies of the JESUS film a year in the early 1990s. But last year they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament. The largest Christian congregation in the Middle East, meets in an enormous cave on the outskirts of Cairo. Some 10,000 believers worship there every weekend. A prayer conference the church held in May 2005 drew some 20,000 believers, Afghanistan -- only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000, Kazakstan -- only 3 known Christians in 1990, but now more than 15,000, Sudan -- more than 1 million Sudanese have converted to Christianity just since 2000, and some 5 million have become Christians since the early 1990s, despite a radical Islamic regime and an on-going genocide that has killed more than 200,000.
Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening? "People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," one Sudanese evangelical leader said, Iran -- in 1979, there were only 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity, but today Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders say there are more than 1 million Iranian believers in Jesus Christ, most of whom meet in underground house churches. One of the most dramatic developments is that many Muslims are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus and thus coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus."
Worldwide: 174,000 converts daily -- David B. Barret and Todd M. Johnson of the Global Evangelism Movement.
This is truly the most exciting time in all of history to be alive and a part of His Great Commission. The opportunity has never been more dramatic and the need has never been so huge:
All of history has built up to this point.
Global impact in your hometown.
Transportation and communication impacts.
Current end time events.
Israel, wars and other events.
The 4th qtr., bottom of the 9th, the end-game.
(From a sermon by Nate Herbst, The Great Commision -- Discussion, 11/21/2009)
Jeffrey Dahmer was a convicted murderer and cannibal who cooked and ate his victims. You donít really get much more heinous than that. He was awarded 16 life sentences. While in prison, Dahmer met with Roy Ratcliff, a minister with the Church of Christ in Madison, Wisconsin, and turned his life over to Jesus Christ. He was baptized in prison, knowing that he would never leave prison alive. He had nothing to gain in this life, but everything to gain in the next.
We may scoff at jailhouse conversions, but within months of Dahmerís baptism, people noticed a Christian spirit in him. His father and pen pals noticed the difference, and his father, who had left the church, has since been restored as a faithful member. Dahmerís younger brother also had a conversion experience of his own.
Dahmer was killed in prison by a fellow inmate a few months after his baptism. At his memorial service, along with his own family and several Christians, two sisters of one of his victims attended, having grown close to Dahmerís family after their brotherís death.
That may have been Dahmerís last chance for repentance, and he took it. But many of us think he shouldnít have been given another chance. He didnít deserve it. And thatís true. He didnít deserve another chance. But neither do we.
The New Guideposts Christmas Treasury (3) tells a story of a little girl was wasnít easy to love. Her name was Phyllis, and her Sunday School Teacher tells this story about her: "Phyllis wasnít an easy child to love...sometimes I did wish she wasnít in the particular Sunday School class that I taught...She never sat still. She hated to be touched, and she always had to have the last word." Her teacher tried to give Phyllis a speaking part, but Phyllis refused ""Iím probably going to a party that night," she said grandly. "Lord," I prayed silently, "please help me love Phyllis". "Well I do have a few more parts if you change your mind." "I wonít" Phyllis said, and she didnít." At the rehearsal, the teacher heard ""Mary doesnít act like sheís going to have a baby" muttered a husky little voice behind me. Phyllis might not have any desire to be in the program, but she wouldnít miss the rehearsal. "Shhhh" I whispered, reaching back to pat Phyllisís hand. She jerked it away, saying "Okay Okay" In the last scene, only a spotlight shone on the holy family, and the children hummed "Silent Night". It was beautiful-- but who was that moving in front of the manger? Phyllis You never knew where that child was going to pop up next. Now she stuck her hand into the manger, squeezed the dollís arm, and disappeared back into the shadows. "Phyllis", I called, "what are you doing uup there?" "Iím just looking," she said, "Besides itís not a baby. Itís just a doll. I felt it." "Lord, please help me love Phyllis". ...By 6:45 the air was bristling with excitment backstae...There was no Phyllis to be seen and I began to relax... As the organ chimed the beginnning of the service, I took my prompters seat in the front pew. With the opening strains of "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night", the lights came up on the manger scene, and the narrator began... I felt something bump my knee and give a little shgove. "Move over," muttered an all too familiar voice. "I decided not to go to the party." ... The angels sang to the shepherds. The shepherds went to Bethlehem and took a lamb for the baby. The wisemen went to see herod and then to the stable. And Mary sat there, "pondering these things in her heart." It was lovely. Phyllis sat beside me so quietly that I forgot all about her, and when I realized she was gone it was too late". She stomped her way right up to the manger, just as she had done during rehearsal. But this time she stiffened, awe-struck, then turned, eyes wide with wonder, and came hurrying back to me. "Heís alive" she said to me in a penetrating whisper. Across the aisle, someone asked, "What did she say?" "She said, "Heís aliveí "Lile ripples in a pond, the word passed from pew to pew, all the way to the back of the sanctuary. "Heís alive...alive...alive." ... I put my arm around Phyllis... "You wre the best part of the program" I said into her ear... "It wasnít in the program" she said, but she didnít push me away. Christ was love (3) - The New Guideposts Christmas Treasury, "Christmas - As Mysterious as Ever", by Doris Swehla, pp. 78-81
AN EASTER PARABLE: EDITH EASTER
Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns.
When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.
Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved. Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room."
After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long." Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!" Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!"
Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."
Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse. Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut". She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you." Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room.
Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day." Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me." Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..."
Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, s...
Heaven, an Inheritance
Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going... I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:1-4, 6)
The Holy Scriptures teach clearly that heaven is a real place, a permanent place, a personal place and a holy place. It is also an inheritance for those who say "yes" to Jesus Christ.
In his gospel, the beloved John conveys a powerful truth of what one must become in order to inherit eternal salvation. "...I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3) And once more, "...You must be born again." (John 3:7) Twice Jesus tells Nicodemus, already a Pharisee and religious leader, "I tell you the truth..."
The truth for you is that a preacher saying nice things, nor beautiful hymns being sung at your funeral, nor the local paper announcing that you were a member of such and such church, nor even being in church nearly every Sunday will gain you entrance into heaven. Being truly born again is a necessity.
Many Scripture passages tell what God will do for a person who through repentance accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Ezekiel 36: 26, 27 is one of the most clear. It has been used frequently by Dr. Billy Graham to explain what God wants to do in the hearts and lives of those coming forward to receive the forgiveness found only in Christ. The verses say, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep my laws."
A "heart of stone" is inflexible, unyielding and insensitive. It is not apt to receive from or have any devoted affection toward its Creator. A man with a heart of stone has no fellowship with the Lord. He does not do the will of God, thus, he does what seems right in his own eyes which will lead to his own destruction. God alone gives physical life and He alone can give spiritual life in what Jesus says is being "born again."
When God supernaturally gives a repentant person a "heart of flesh" and puts His Spirit in a new believer, that person becomes sensitive and alive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Only then can he determine and do the will of God. This enables him to know the joy that comes from obedience to the Word of God. Once the Holy Spirit of God has entered the heart and life of a repentant person, they are never the same! Guaranteed! The Bible says they are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Jesus made these truths very clear to Nicodemus, and He desires to make them crystal clear to all who will hear even now. In heaven there will be only those who are born again, those who have trusted Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
The Holy Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write to (and about) authentic Christians, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." (Romans 8:9)
Will you receive Christ today?
One Saturday afternoon a father and his six-year old son Mickey were fishing near a bridge by the Kokomo Reservoir when a woman lost
control of her car, slid off the bridge and hit Mikey at a rate of
about 50 mph. Sheriff Marr, the boys grandfather, had seen the results of accidents like this and
feared the worst. When he got to Saint Joseph Hospital, he rushed
through the emergency room to find Mikey conscious and in fairly good
spirits considering what had happened to him.
"Mikey, what happened?" Sheriff Marr asked. Mikey replied,
"Well, Gramps, I was fishin’ with Dad, and some lady runned me
over, I flew into a mud puddle, and broke my fishin’ pole and I didn’t
get to catch no fish!"
As it turned out, the impact propelled Mikey about 500 feet,
over a few trees and an embankment and in the middle of a mud puddle.
His only injuries were to his right femur bone which had broken in
two places. Mikey had surgery to place pins in his leg. Otherwise the
boy is fine. Since all the boy could talk about was that his fishing pole
was broken, the Sheriff went out to Wal-mart and bought him a new one
while he was in surgery so he could have it when he came out.
The next day the Sheriff sat with Mikey to keep him company
in the hospital. Mikey was enjoying his new fishing pole and talked
about when he could go fishing again as he cast into the trash
can. When they were alone, Mikey, just a matter-of-fact, said,
"Gramps, did you know Jesus is real?" "Well," the Sheriff replied, a little
startled. "Yes, Jesus is real to all who believe in him and love him in
their hearts." "No," said Mikey. "I mean Jesus is REALLY real." "What do you
mean?" asked the Sheriff. "I know he’s real ’cause I saw him." said
Mikey, still casting into the trash can. "You did?" said the Sheriff.
"Yep," said Mikey. "When that lady runned me over and broke my fishing
pole, Jesus caught me in his arms and laid me down in the mud
Friend, I don’t know about you, but My Jesus is Alive. Do you believe that?
Becasue he is alive, whole governements will come down, whole religions will be
forgotten and little children will be caught in his arms. WE WIN!
JILL STANEK IS A 44 YEAR OLD NURSE WHO WORKED FOR SEVERAL YEARS AT THE CHRIST HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CENTER IN OAK LAWN, ILLINOIS, A CHICAGO SUBURB. SHE CHOSE THIS HOSPITAL BECAUSE OF ITS CHRISTIAN NAME, HOPING THAT SHE WOULDN’T HAVE TO FACE SOME OF THE ETHICAL DILEMMAS REGARDING ABORTION THAT SHE MIGHT HAVE TO FACE AT ANOTHER HOSPITAL. SHE SOON LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL, IN SPITE OF NOT HAVING A POLICY THAT REGULATED ABORTIONS, HAD BEEN DOING THEM SINCE 1978. JILL LEARNED THAT THE HOSPITAL FAVORED A NONSURGICAL METHOD OF ABORTION THAT USED A DRUG CALLED CYTOTEC TO INDUCE PREMATURE LABOR. THE BABIES DELIVERED ARE QUITE SMALL BUT FULLY FORMED. SOME OF THE BABIES, THOUGH PREMATURE AND SMALL, ARE BORN ALIVE. ONE BUSY NIGHT AT THE HOSPITAL JILL RAN INTO A NURSE WHO WAS ON HER WAY TO A SOILED UTILITY ROOM TO DROP OFF AN ABORTED-BUT-STILL-LIVING DOWN SYNDROME BABY. THE NURSE WAS TOO BUSY WITH OTHER PATIENTS TO HOLD THE BABY UNTIL IT DIED. JILL TOOK THE BABY AND HELD IT UNTIL IT DIED 45 MINUTES LATER. ANOTHER LIVING INFANT WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON A SCALE UNTIL IT DIED. ANOTHER WAS FOUND LYING NAKED ON THE EDGE OF A SINK. JILL STANEK WAS PARTICULARLY STRUCK BY THE HOSPITAL’S INCONSISTENCY. THEIR MISSION STATEMENT WAS “THE MISSION OF ADVOCATE HEALTHCARE IS TO SERVE THE HEALTH NEEDS OF INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES THROUGH WHOLISTIC PHILOSOPHY ROOTED IN OUR FUNDAMENTAL UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN BEINGS AS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.” JILL STANEK, THROUGH VARIOUS AVENUES, BEGAN TO CONFRONT THE SITUATION AND WHILE THE HOSPITAL STILL DOES ABORTIONS, THE CASE HAS BEEN DEBATED IN THE U.S. SENATE. ALSO, REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES CANADY FROM FLORIDA SPONSORED HR 4292, “THE BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT OF 2000.” THE BILL PASSED 22-1 OUT OF SUBCOMMITTEE, BUT HAS NOT YET BECOME LAW.
SAVED FROM OUR RUBBLE OF SIN- COMMUNION MEDITATION
The September 11, 2002 issues of TIME magazine has a touching article about 31-year old Genelle Guzman. Genelle was the last of just four people caught in the debris of the Twin Towers to be found alive.
After the planes hit the World Trade Center, Genelle was descending a stair case from the 64th floor of the North Tower. Steel beams weakend to their breaking point. Solid concrete was pulverized. But somehow her body found an air pocket.
Her right leg was pinned under heavy concrete pillars. Her head was caught between stacks of wreckage. But somehow she was still alive.
For twenty-seven hours Guzman lay trapped and seriously injured.
In recent months before the attacks Genelle had started attending the church called Brooklyn Tabernacle, and wanted to get her life turned around. So while she was stuck in the rubble, she started to pray. Sheíd trail off into sleep Ė wake up and pray some more.
Shortly after noon on Wednesday the 12th, she heard voices. So she screamed as loud as she could, ďIím here! HEY, IíM RIGHT HERE!Ē A rescue worker responded, "Do you see the light?" She did not. She took a piece of concrete and banged it against a broken stairway overheadóprobably the same structure that had saved her life. The searchers find the noise.
Genelle wedged her hand through a crack in the wall, and felt someone grab it. She heard a voice say, "Iíve got you," and Genelle Guzman said, "OH GOD, THANK YOU.Ē
It took 20 long minutes, and then she was saved.
In many ways, Genelle Guzman represents the plight of all people. We are buried under an enormous mess of sp...
Some time ago I was reading about the 18th century German sculptor Johann Heinrich von Dannecker. His skills were impressive. He could bring stone to life with his tools. At the height of his powers, he wanted to do something special with his gifts -- he wanted to shape a statue of Christ that would stand out as a witness to his world. For two years he chiselled and scraped and polished the marble, till he was certain that it carried the likeness of his Lord. But he wanted to test his work on eyes that wouldn’t lie. So he went out to the street, and brought in a young girl. He took her into his studio, and he set her down in front of the shrouded stone. Uncovering it, he asked her, Do you know who this is? No, sir! she replied. But he must be a very great man. And Dannecker knew that he’d failed. The statue was good enough for kings and nobles, but it wasn’t good enough to speak the word about Christ.
He was discouraged. He was disheartened. He was depressed. But he knew that he had to try again. So he set his hand to the task. Six years it took him this time! Every day, painstakingly, shaping and carving. Finally it was done. And again, he brought in a child as his first critic. He took off the shroud, and asked her gently, Who is that? Legend has it that tears came to her eyes as she recognized Jesus. It was enough. Dannecker had finished his task. He had created his masterpiece. He had given visible shape to his faith. And later, to a friend, he told the secret of those last six years. It was as if, he said, Christ had joined him daily in his little room. He felt the nearness of his Lord. He sensed the glory of his Presence. All Dannecker had to do, really, was to transfer the vision of Christ that he received to the block of marble.
It’s a powerful story, isn’t it? But there’s more to it. There’s another chapter that comes later, one so striking that it actually makes John’s vision come alive.
Some years later, the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte saw Dannecker’s work. He was very impressed. He sent for the sculptor, and he had a commission for him -- Make me a statue of the goddess Venus for the Louvre! he said. Quite an honor! To be chosen as the creator of a work of art like that! Who could refuse? But you know what?! Dannecker did! He refused the commission. He gave up that honor. And you know why? This is what he told Napoleon:
"A man who has seen Christ can never employ his gifts in carving out a pagan goddess!"
When the infidel Robert G. Ingersoll was delivering his lectures against Christ and the Bible, his oratorical ability usually assured him of a large crowd. One night after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man’s faith in the Savior, he dramatically took out his watch and said, "I’ll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is almighty. I challenge Him to strike me dead within 5 minutes!" First there was silence, then people became uneasy. Some left the hall, unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion, and one woman fainted. At the end of the allotted time, the atheist exclaimed derisively, "See! There is no God. I am still very much alive!" After the lecture a young fellow said to a Christian lady, "Well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!" Her reply was memorable. " Yes he did," she said. "He proved God isn’t taking orders from atheists tonight."