Over the last twelve years more than one million have attended one of the worship concerts of Marcos Witt and his team of Mexican worship musicians. Typical of the ways the Lord has moved during the worship times is the story of Fidel Rodriguez who had been clinically bind for twenty years. Fidel attended the stadium worship event in Negras, Mexico. It started to rain. Wiping the rain out of his eyes, Rodriguez suddenly paused- because he suddenly saw a sea of Christians with their hands raised to heaven. He could see again! The event organizers later discovered that people had been healed of blindness, deafness, tumors, diabetes, and even flat feet during the rain shower. Commented Witt: "these are not healing events led by particularly gifted Christians. Generally we don't even lay hands on the people, but simply pray that God will move during the concert. If the healings involve ears, eyes, tumors, and feet, could it be God is preparing his church to see and hear things which they never experienced? He is freeing us from the tumors of division and racism, and heals our feet so that we can take the gospel to the world." (From Kellenberger Michael, kellenbe@NTB.CH March 6, 1998 as<> reported in the Joel News International, March 14, 1998).
Soon Ok Yi, imprisoned in North Korea from 1987-1992 witnessed the execution of many Christians. She writes: "The executions happened monthly. Prison officers brought out the Christians and made them sit facedown on the ground, circled by other prisoners. They were asked to deny their belief in Jesus and heaven. When they remained silent, the officer became furious and started kicking them mercilessly. A death squad was made up of young men in their early twenties who were brutal. On the day of execution these executioners would take a drug to cause them to act like some hungry animal. I did not see a single Christian deny his faith. All the other prisoners were made to go around the dead bodies of the Christians and utter words of hate as reminders to live with the Communist Party's propaganda. The memory of these things so traumatized the prisoners they could not sleep many nights following these incidents. At the time I could not understand how the Christians would sing as they faced their final moments of torture. I could not figure out what they were singing. When I escaped to South Korea I became a Christian and heard hymns in church. It was then that I understood these martyrs faced death singing hymns of hope. (Summarized from Voice of the Martyrs, page six, March 1998).
One worker in a restricted access Central Asian country tells the following: "As I was sleeping I began to hear the Michael Card song "Love Crucified Arose." It's a song about the life and work of Jesus. As I came to my senses I realized this song was not being sung by a native English speaker. I quickly ran outside and found a Kirghiz man singing. His English was not very good. As we spoke I learnt that five years before he was traveling in a remote area and came upon a vehicle in distress. The driver was a foreigner. After helping get the vehicle fixed the foreigner reciprocated by presenting him a gift, a a Michael Card cassette recording. This young Kirghiz took that cassette home, memorized every song, and became a believer. Now, five years later, I have been able to spend regular time with him and help him grow in the faith he possessed, but knew so little about." (Editor's note: This is a good example of the way the Spirit can use songs carefully crafted with strong theological content).
In a busy Filipino airport recently one young man blurted out: "I know your voice." He was pointing toward American-born George Lauderdale, with his unmistakable warm southern accent. For twenty years George has been heard daily on DYVS, one of the radio stations of FEBC. What is unique about much of George's communication is not only his voice but his choice of words. George is a poet, and has literally set the entire Bible, chapter by chapter to poetry. Using the meter of popular hymns this provides people an opportunity to sing and memorize vast amounts of Scripture in this condensed poetic format. His many volumes of Scripture poems even include study questions to apply the truths deeply to one's life. On this day in Metro Manila several young men were mentored by their pastor as he had them sing these poems, called "Wordsing" by Lauderdale. That same day George was invited to speak at a college chapel. It happened to be the day they were remembering Purim, from the Book of Esther. George merely started quoting his poetic distillation of Esther, and with his study questions in mind lectured on the many lessons to remember from the lovely Esther account. (To find out more about this resource contact George Lauderdale. Email address: email@example.com)<>
Fifty singers, actors, dancers, tech crew and intercessors prepared to stage a modern musical/passion play "A Man Called Jesus" near the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus calmed rough waters there 2000 years ago. Another storm was raging right there with Orthodox rabbis staging their own media event, a protest forbidding non-English speaking people to see the presentation. They even had cameras and video taped those that entered. Despite the threats, hundreds showed up. The music began and Jesus was worshiped with songs portraying his life, death and resurrection. Afterward, the property owner, hurt and angry that she was threatened for allowing the presentation asked about the essence of the Christian faith. Before long, she and the restaurant manager received the Messiah! Soon after in Bethlehem Sqaure, scene of mass PLO demontrations, 4000 Palestinians saw the same presentation. Said director Marie Umidi, "these two performances are the highlight of fourteen years staging this event." (From CenterStage, a magazine from The Man Called Jesus International Productions, Inc. For more info contact Marie Umidi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).<>
Turkey, home to the seven churches of Revelation and many sites from the book of Acts, hosted a symposium on Psidian Antioch (see Acts 13) last July. Needing help with research prior to the event, presidential aids checked their files and found that the only "registered theologian" was the OM team leader in Istanbul. The OM team, along with a Turkish Christian publishing company put resource material together, and delivered them to the President, along with a New Testament. The President's office has agreed, for the purpose of tourism, to help promote the "Towards 3000" project, a joint project of local churches and missions in Turkey to celebrate Jesus' 2000th birthday. Among the events leading up to January 1, 2000 will be Christian concerts throughout the nation.
A worship school has been launched in Germany dedicated to teaching musicians to use worship in evangelistic settings. "Few schools have ever existed like it," states coordinator Norm Strauss. There will be outreach segments of the curriculum that will include exposing church worship teams to playing in secular settings such as bars, coffee houses and street corners. Teams will minister in Hungary and Romania as well. (For more information contact Norm Strauss. Email: NLStrauss@aol.com)<>
From a now classic article written by mission statesman Don McCurry: "There, sitting cross-legged on a small Persian rug behind the desk was my esteemed professor Dr. Daud Rahbar. He strummed an instrument like a sitar and sang a beautiful Indian raga (song). When the music subsided Dr. Rahbar said, "Don, you can say anything you want to a Muslim in poetry or music and he will receive it; but if you preach it in prose, he may try to kill you."
After returning to Pakistan I put his words to the test and got permission to stage an international music festival in Murree, with religious music from thirteen countries. In the middile of the program was the best Pakistani Christian ensemble in the country. They worshiped with songs about Jesus the Savior, When the curtain closed everyone was on his or her feet, heartily applauding. The Mayor said "This is the greatest social event that has ever been staged here in Muree. Please do this every year." Dr. Rahbar knew what many missionaries don't learn. Since music is forbidden in the mosques, and associated with evil activities, Muslims are starved for music. Poetry and music are our gifts from God." (For a copy of the complete article called "Tales that Teach" contact Frank Fortunato, email@example.com).<>
"When they saw him they worshiped Him, but some doubted." Eugene H Peterson paraphrases Mt. 28:17 in The Message: "The moment they saw Him, they worshiped Him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally." I believe Peterson captures the essence of worship in this verse-a risking of our ourselves. Some of us, like the first century disciples, hold back, not wanting to immerse ourselves in worshiping Jesus Christ, thinking maybe we'll lose our personal identity in worship. But it's through "losing ourselves" in worship that we truly find ourselves. The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. If worship is the constant occupation of the redeemed in heaven, shouldn't it also be our pursuit on earth? (For more from Ken, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org or<> WWW: http://www.flash.net/~ftf).<>
At the historic Global Consultation on World Evangelisation in Pretoria, South Africa last July Colin Harbinson, Dean of the College of the Arts in YWAM's University of the Nations stated that the arts affirm the values and meanings of a people's belief system. We need to reinforce that which is redemptive among people's cultures. The arts not only can affirm values, but can challenge them, especially beliefs that are ungodly and demonic. The arts can also bring an exchange of ideas and revelation into a people's beliefs. Through the arts we can celebrate the uniqueness and diversity that God has placed within each people group. One of the greatest keys to world evangelism is to see people respond to Christ with their own symbols once those symbols have been cleansed and reinvested with Christian values.
At the closing plenary, Colin asked forgiveness on behalf of artists who loved their art more than God. Sometimes, out of their woundedness and rejection artists have lived in independence and arrogance. He also asked the delegates, as leaders in the Body of Christ to begin to recognize the calling of God upon the arts as a prophetic voice and as a voice of revelation into the nations. He asked them to receive the artists in their churches, in their church planting groups, in their organizations. He emphasized that artists needed to be loved and accepted. They needed to be discipled and have godly accountability. Dr. Harbinson concluded by stating that he believed the arts would be a strategic means by which God would bring His truth to the nations of the world. (Summarized from a report by Naomi Boshoff. (For more information from The Performing Arts Consultation at GCOWE 97 contact Naomi Boshoff. Email: email@example.com)<>
One of the mighty tools mentoring people to understand issues related to frontier missions and unreached people, as well as mobilizing this generation into missions involvement has been the US Center's "Mission Frontiers" magazine. This magazine may be the most widely distributed communications on frontier missions on the planet. A special issue of MF has just been released combining the articles from the previously released Worship issue and the Dramatic Arts issue. Beginning with Piper's classic article on "The Supremacy of God in missions through worship," Dave Hall's "Biblical principles on worship renewal among the nations," articles on the role of ethnomusicology, trends in global worship, using drama and storytelling, etc. this special release of MF is classic! To order a free copy of this issue send an email request with your name and complete address to Frank Fortunato (firstname.lastname@example.org). Some of you that would<> find it a great joy to help cover some of the cost to get the magazine posted around the world can mail your request for a copy and include a donation. Mail your request and check to Frank Fortunato, PO Box 444, Tyrone, GA 30290. Those of you wanting bulk copies can email Rick Wood (RickWMF@aol.com).<>
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