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Sermon Central Staff
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)
Donnie De loney
ILLUSTRTATION: ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, "We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups.
Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith.
SOURCE: Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 76
Sending Churches: The Fund for Theological Education has underwritten a study of congregations that consistently send people into ministry. In summary, the following are five characteristics of those congregations:
· Lay people are in ministry. Through collaboration with their pastors, lay people come to see that they can lead and do ministry and then want to push further.
· People can be who they are. Ministry is not stereotyped and authenticity is valued.
· There is room to explore. People are invited to think expansively and creatively.
· Education is taken seriously. Pastors challenge members with contemporary theological scholarship and demanding biblical study and awaken a passion for learning more.
· The call is boldly named.
· The full report can be found in the Winter 2001 issue of Horizons newsletter: www.thefund.org/publications/
· newsletters/v4n1/index.html (EXPLORER #45)
A SURVEY OF FATHERS
The June 2003 issue of Family Circle Magazine contained results from a recent national survey of fathers. It had some interesting results:
* 94% feel building a family is the hardest and most important thing
a man can do.
* 71% say fatherhood is more demanding than they expected, while 88% say fatherhood is more rewarding
* 87% say the rewards of fatherhood trump those of career, and 89% approve of men leaving fast-track careers to spend more time with family.
* 90% say becoming a father made them ...
Average church(Gallup) 17% say they tithe but only 3% actually do. 40% will give nothing in a year. 91% say they make more money than they ever have in their life. 71% of pastors believe that church members have changed from stewards into consumers.
1. The 1990 Kinsey Report states that around 50% of all married
people will commit adultery during their lifetime.
a. The number is usually about 5% higher among men.
b. Women are less likely to commit adultery but not by much.
2. Some other studies propose even higher numbers than the ones given
above claiming that the adultery rate is around 70%.
a. I find that number hard to believe.
b. I don’t think it is 70% and I find the 50% number a little hard
to swallow as well.
c. Whatever the number it is too high.
3. An article in a 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that various
surveys suggest that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant
ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than
4. The Journal of Pastoral Care in 1993 reported a survey of Southern Baptist pastors in which 14 percent acknowledged they had engaged
in "sexual behavior inappropriate to a minister."
5. A 1988 survey of nearly 1000 Protestant clergy by Leadership magazine found that 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse outside of marriage. The researchers also interviewed nearly 1000 subscribers
to Christianity Today who were not pastors. Of those 1000 people, 23 percent had engaged extramarital sex
6. The numbers are both good and bad.
i. The level of adultery within the church is half of what the
national level is.
ii. The level of adultery among ministers is 1\5th of the
national level is.
b. The Bad:
i. 1 in every 4 Christians has committed adultery.
ii. 1 in every 10 ministers has committed adultery, thus
ruining their ministries and tainting the church.
Simon Peter’s House
The first find is the very house in which Jesus stayed, taught and healed the mother-in-law. Yes, Simon Peter’s house has been located, identified by etchings of crosses and over one hundred graffiti in five ancient languages scattered over upon the foundation stones and remaining wall structures. The house has been dated to the time of Jesus by coins found within. Fishhooks were found under the pavement. A large room had been forged in the middle of the house, which had been plastered several times over, a sign of frequent use, undoubtedly as a gathering place. The walls were too weak to support a tile roof; tree branches, palm fronds and mud were used instead, reminiscent of Mark 2:1-5, the story of letting the paralyzed man down through the roof. Peter’s living room in Capernaum, right beside the seashore, is the earliest church ever found; Jesus himself was the pastor. This is indeed sensational.
“THEOLOGY IN THE PEW”
“A large share of people who attend Protestant or Catholic churches have adopted beliefs that conflict with the teachings of the Bible and their church, according to the latest release from the Barna Research Group (www.barna.org).
There are some fundamental Christian precepts that most Americans have held on to:
Three-quarters of all adults believe in the Trinity.
Seventy-nine percent accept that "every person has a soul that will live forever, either in God’s presence or absence."
Seventy-six percent reject the pre-Reformation perspective that "the Bible can only be correctly interpreted by people who have years of intense training in theology."
On other issues, the research found disturbing trends:
Six out of ten Americans (59%) reject the existence of Satan, calling him merely a symbol of evil, a view common among Catholics.
More than one-third (35%) believe that it is "possible to communicate with others after they die."
Forty-two percent believe that, when Jesus was on earth, he committed sins.
Half of all adults arg...
What Happened To Sunday School? New Barna Group research has identified several significant changes affecting children’s programs: (1) A declining percentage of pastors viewing Sunday School as their top priority. (2) Fewer churches offering Sunday School for children under age 6 or for junior high or high schoolers. (3) More customization of curriculum by churches. (4) Fewer churches offering VBS. (5) A decline in midweek programming for children. Yet, every weekend more than 300,000 churches offer some type of systematic religious instruction in a classroom setting attended by nearly 45 million adults and 22 million youth and children. “The changes facing Sunday School seem to be more about the form—not the function—of Sunday School,” says Barna VP David Kinnaman. It seems churches are moving toward a ‘label-less’ future, e.g. summertime programs, but not necessarily VBS, and Christian education, but not necessarily Sunday School. The most significant part of the changing landscape, however, is the new identity being carved out by Buster pastors and those relatively new in ministry. Although many Buster pastors currently deploy Sunday School programs, they seem open to new methods and approaches and less driven by tradition or program loyalty. Many Buster pastors possess a means-to-an-end perspective about Sunday School and VBS, which suggests the churches they lead, will be more apt to adopt innovations in spiritual training. (Barna Online 7/11/05)
1 Thessalonians 4:9-4:12
1 John 1:1-1:10
2 Timothy 3:10-3:17
Church Tech: 9 out of 10 Protestant pastors have Internet access, and about half of all Protestant churches maintain a church Web site, according to a recent Ellison Research study. While 90% of ministers are online, only a third of those use a content filter on their church office computer. 88% of larger churches (200 or more in attendance) maintain a Web site, compared to 60% of mid-size churches (100 to 199) and only 28% of churches with fewer than 100. Pastors expect that the most important forms of technology in their ministry over the next 5 years will be doing research on the Internet followed by using Bible study software, building, or maintaining a Web site, using PowerPoint, and being able to show DVDs or videos. (PWB 1/7/05)