Edited by Frank Fortunato firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network
Greetings, Worship and Arts Friends.
Preparations are gathering momentum in over 150 nations for an extravagant outpouring of love and thanksgiving which will roll like a wave for 24 hours through the 24 time zones, uniting as many as 20 million Christians in public prayer, praise and proclamation. It is simply called Jesus Day, and celebrated in most nations on June 10. March for Jesus leader Graham Kendrick states: "What the world needs to know is that there was one amazing day when the Creator chose to walk this earth in the person of Christ, showing what it is to be truly human, and demonstrating God's love for us by dying to save us from our sins."
For more information: Email: PGmfj@cs.com
During the days of the former socialist state of Romania, Nicolae Moldoveanu was arrested and imprisoned for writing Christian songs. He was also tortured, his arm torn from its socket, leaving him permanently disabled. Because of this handicap, he could not do hard labor, but he was forced to sleep on the damp floor beneath the bunk in his cell. The hardship did not stop the music. He wrote songs and then taught them to the prisoners. 350 of them!! After years in prison he was released but told to stop writing Christian songs or he would be thrown back in prison. His reply: "Just keep me here and save yourself and me the trouble. I will never stop worshiping my God with my praise songs. After his release the songs were published and are now heard on radio stations across Romania.
(Excerpted from a report in the HCJB Annual Report. Used by permission. For more information on HCJB, see their web site: http://www.hcjb.org)
Tom Ferguson, a Baptist music missionary in Togo conducted a "Music Evangelism Workshop" for Christians of the Ife ethnic group. They prepared songs and dramas, then went to nearby villages on outreach. Their eyes were opened wide to the power of using traditional music styles in drawing crowds and keeping their interest. Here are some of the Ife people's comments, summarized from Tom's report:
"Some Muslims were there and hindered some people from attending. They said that if we got out the Bible they would bring out the Koran and there would a debate. But when we began using our own culture's music, even more people came out. The songs preached the Word and touched the people deeply, surprising and convicting them. People listen to songs when they won't listen to preaching. People used to walk away when the Bible was brought out and preaching began. This time, those who were cooking food left it on the fire to burn and came running to hear us without thinking of eating.
(Read the full report at http://www.worship-arts-network.com Go to arts index; ethnic music articles).
Vietnamese church leaders visited a group of 200 "secret believers" in a remote village in Vietnam. No one knew about the believers until they contacted a religious broadcaster asking for a visit. Christian leaders traveled five days through a jungle to reach the village. It seems the villagers all meet together for worship, tuning into Christian radio programs. "The response to the daily and Sabbath broadcasts have been far beyond anything originally expected," one church leader said. "There are congregations worshipping in parts of the country where the Church has never had members before."
(Excerpted from ReligionToday, August 24, 1998.)
Johann Sebastian Bach, the German composer who died 250 years ago is bringing Christianity to Japan through the beauty of his music. Now there are reports of thousands of Japanese, inspired by his cantatas, converting to Christianity. It's a testament to the power of art steeped in a biblical world view.
Christianity has never been widely embraced by Japanese culture. When European traders and missionaries came to the island nation in the 17th century, they met with mixed success: Commerce thrived, but the Gospel languished. But Japan eagerly embraced the music of Western culture. Shinichi Suzuki even developed a method to learn to play classical instruments that became famous worldwide. But now, through a resurgence in Bach's popularity, that music is providing a foothold for evangelism that trade and traditional approaches never have. Bach's popularity is so great that the classes at the Felix Mendolssohn Academy in Bach's hometown of Leipzig, Germany are filled with Japanese students. These students are learning about more than the music of the great composer. They learn about the spirit that moved him to write: that is, Bach's love of God.
Masaaki Suzuki, founder of a school for Bach's music in Japan, says that, "Bach is teaching us the Christian concept of hope." And Yoshikazu Tokuzen, of Japan's National Christian Council, calls Bach nothing less than "a vehicle of the Holy Spirit." And the revival his music is causing indeed confirms that.
Bach's legacy is a sterling illustration of C.S. Lewis' maxim that the world does not need more Christian writers-it needs more good writers, and composers, who are Christians. And when we produce art that is really good, art that reflects a biblical world view, its richness will endure through the ages.
(Excerpted from Bach's "Fifth Gospel": The Enduring Power of Artistic Excellence by Charles Colson Copyright c 2000 Prison Fellowship Ministries).
A first-time, one-of-a-kind television program in China featured contemporary Christian music during the Chinese New Year celebrations in February. International musical evangelist Lee Behnken, who has been taking the Gospel in song throughout Asia for several years, presented a 90-minute musical show on national Chinese television for the first time in that country's history.
80% of China's population had access to the broadcast. This numbers almost one billion of China's 1.3 billion population. The program was aired on China's New Years Day and re-broadcast the next day. These are the best two days of the Chinese year to launch a program of this nature.
What made the program unique was the first-time collaboration of a Chinese and foreign TV network. As well, it was the first time Contemporary Christian Music was sung over China's national TV airwaves. Behnken said that to his knowledge the TV and radio broadcast opportunities for Christian music in China are at this time "non-existent."
(Excerpted from an article by Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST Communications E-mail: email@example.com. For further information on the<> work of Lee Behnken, his ministry has a web site at http://www.leeb.org or<> e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
A few weeks ago the "JESUS" film was awarded a Special Faith & Values Commendation for Technical and Evangelistic Achievement at the 8th Annual MOVIEGUIDE (r) Awards. Originally released by Warner Brothers, the film has been seen by 3.3 billion people in 566 different languages.
For decades, Dr. Bill Bright, founder and president of Campus Crusade for Christ, foresaw a film, done accurately and adhering faithfully to Scriptures that could be translated and re-recorded into the languages of the world. To help produce that accuracy, the script was sent for evaluation to 450 scholars and leaders from a variety of denominations and organizations before filming began in 1977. After a six-month search and 263 screen tests, the lead role was awarded to English Shakespearean actor Brian Deacon. The film "JESUS" opened in U.S. theaters in October 1979. "JESUS" became the world's most-translated film. Reports from 234 countries reveal that at least 108 million people have indicated decisions to follow Christ as a result of viewing the film "JESUS."
(Excerpted from a report by Dan Wooding email@example.com. For additional<> information on The JESUS Film Project, see their web site at http://www.jesusfilm.org).
One of the millions of converts from the JESUS film was a Mongolian painter, who saw the film along with 600 others in a northern Mongolian town. Since his conversion the painter switched from making images of Buddha to making pictures to accompany Bible stories.
(From the Advance Newsletter, March, 2000. Advancefirstname.lastname@example.org).
Bill Drake, a British-based musician serving with OM Britain has had a global ministry singing songs about all-out obedience to Jesus. Bill couples his songs with the telling of his riveting testimony. One of Drake's CDs found it's way to a practicing witch who played the CD endlessly. She eventually wrote Drake asking where she could get her own copy, so she could return her borrowed CD. Soon after she received the CD as well as a copy of Bill's testimony "Help for the Hurt".
The timing of the arrival of Drake's package was incredible. Just previous to getting her own copy of the CD, Sarah, (not the witch's real name) had decided to 'give God a try'. Immediately a huge spiritual battle broke out. Satan and his forces were loath to give her up, and eventually she gave in. "This physical pain and mental anguish will stop if I return to Satan's Kingdom," she reasoned. "Why would he bother one of his own?" It was at this point that she returned the Drake CD to her friend. and renounced God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The VERY NEXT DAY in her mail box Sarah found the package from England. It contained a copy of the CD she had just a few hours earlier returned to her friend, and Drake's booklet with his testimony. She writes: "I don't even know why I picked it up to read it. Perhaps it was the title, Help for the Hurt. I was hurting... By the time I read, 'The decision you must make', I was howling. My first decision to follow Jesus had been a very scared 'I'll give him a go.' This time it was open and honest. 'I'm hurting. I'm sorry. I renounce Satan. Take me back.'"
"Bill," she continues, "If you never receive another comment about your testimony, know that it helped save my life and turn me back to face the right direction."
(For more information on Bill Drake's music and testimony, see his web site: http://www.om.org/billdrake/Testimony.html To order copies of Drake CDs,<> email him at email@example.com).
By using traditional dance and music to present the gospel to Native Americans who might otherwise reject Christianity as "the white man's religion," Assemblies of God evangelist Art Begay has won dozens to Christ at Indian festivals, or powwows. But the Lakota leader of Warriors for Christ has faced opposition to his efforts from other Christians. Some of his meetings have been cancelled after pastors learned of his culturally inclusive approach.
Begay's conflicts highlight a growing tension among Native American Christian leaders, who are divided over the appropriateness of a new crop of ministries adopting and adapting cultural symbols in ministry. "There are some people who think an eagle feather is some type of evil influence," said Begay. "But we are not promoting Indian religion. We aren't going to start smoking peace pipes. We are using our culture as a tool. It gives us a lot of freedom to take the gospel to our tribes,"
Begay isn't the only one to face opposition. Organizers of a Native Christian conference recently held in Branson, Mo. printed the warning "No drums or feathers" on the front of its promotional brochure. Both drums and feathers were on display at the recent "Many Nations, One Voice" conference organized by Richard Twiss, a Lakota Sioux evangelist. Attendees at the event wore traditional Native costumes. Some even wore face paint and used their war drums and hand-made flutes in worship.
Twiss, director of Waconi International in Vancouver, Wash., said missionaries often have told Native people that they must reject their music, language and tribal customs in order to serve God. "They call it syncretism or idolatry if we use Native American music or dancing," he said. "People are afraid that if we beat a native drum in a service it will bring an evil spirit."
AG evangelist Doug Yates Jr. uses dance and other cultural expressions to attract Eskimo and Inuit youth to Christian events in Alaska. As well as drawing young people facing high rates of suicide and alcoholism to his Young Warriors ministry, it has helped him discover his own ministry style. "I can't be a white preacher. I have to be who I am."
(Excerpted from a report written by J. Lee Grady, published by Charisma News Service. Used by permission)
(A few weeks ago the GWR featured information on the songbook called World Praise. Since that report a new edition has been released. Here is the update):
The songbook entitled "World Praise 2", published in January 2000, is a comprehensive songbook with over 100 worship songs/hymns/psalms drawn from over 70 different countries. The indigenous worship items are, where possible, in their original language and in an English version. They are arranged as authentically as possible. Many have guitar chords. Part of the criteria for choosing the songs has been their ability to travel across cultures and their accessibility. The USA version of the book is published by LifeWay Press, Nashville.
For more information contact LifeWay at http://www.lifeway.com or Baptist World<> Alliance at EandE@bwanet.org.<>
(Excerpted from a report by David Peacock, Head of Music & Worship Department London Bible College, Green Lane, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2UW. UK For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
There was a woman who spent some months serving God in South Africa. On her final visit to a remote township she attended a medical clinic. As the Zulu women there began to sing together, she found herself deeply moved by their hauntingly beautiful harmonies. She wanted to always remember this moment and try to share it with friends when she arrived home. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she turned to her friend and asked, "can you please tell me the translation of the words to this song?" Her friend looked at her and solemnly replied, "If you boil the water, you won't get dysentery."
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