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(Voice of the Persecuted) Andrew Brunson has been imprisoned and falsely charged with being a threat to Turkey’s national security. read more Recent reports have shared that Brunson is in grave danger and is being kept with ISIS fighters and Afghani rebels. His wife has confirmed the claim is false.
I want to clarify that Andrew is NOT being held with violent people in prison. He is in a room with 11 Muslims who are very devout so prayers are always going on in the small room. But these are not violent people and he is not in danger from them. They all sleep in bunks in a fairly tight space, and eat the meals in another room and have a small courtyard to go out to. I believe they are kept separate from everyone else.
The Brunsons have lived, including raising their children, in Turkey for 23 years. Andrew was a pastor at the Resurrection Church in Izmir before the couple was detained on 7 Oct. under Interior Ministry deportation orders.
During a trial on Dec. 9, Rev. Brunson was accused of being linked with a terrorist movement. He was then taken to Izmir’s Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison.
According to the ACLJ, Andrew was allowed to visit with family on Wednesday, and allowed to have a New Testament Bible which was previously denied. He was also given some access to his attorney, and has a visit scheduled for Friday with U.S. Embassy Officials. Yesterday, Pastor Andrew appealed his imprisonment, and was denied. Another appeal to a higher court is allowed, but it is uncertain how that appeal process will go. Due to an emergency decree in Turkey, those visits are recorded and any notes taken by his attorney are copied. Thus, Pastor Andrew has no attorney-client privilege.
Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution – Study of the 1st century Persecuted Church
As society becomes increasingly divisive in a world full of hatred and violence, has the modern-day, Western Church lost it’s flavor? Is something missing?
In the new book, Heirloom Love: Authentic Christianity for this Age of Persecution, Dominic Sputo compels us to take a deeper look into the legendary first-century Christian love that changed the world. Heirloom Love challenges Western Christians to truly examine our own hearts and the status of today’s church compared to that of our early church brethren.
HEIRLOOM LOVE is — the legendary first-century Christian love that changed the world — the early church’s response to Jesus’ new command to love one another — the love that Jesus said would convince the world that He is the Son of God and we are His true disciples.
The “pillars” of the church—John, James, Peter and Paul— all taught the New Command to include giving our utmost to care for suffering and persecuted fellow believers. Yet fast forward two thousand years, and Western Christianity has virtually forgotten our persecuted brothers and sisters who are suffering around the world.
We’ve lost the truth and love that shines in the darkness, and so we’ve lost our way. By accurately interpreting familiar but commonly misunderstood Scriptures,
HEIRLOOM LOVE RESURRECTS THE TRUTH THAT WESTERN CHRISTIANITY HAS FORGOTTEN.
- New Testament hospitality originally meant providing food and shelter to homeless Christians who were seeking refuge from persecution. Yet today it is commonly trivialized to mean having friends over for lunch after church.
- Paul initiated Sunday collections to provide aid to suffering and persecuted Christians in a foreign land. Tragically, today less than one-half of 1 percent of our Sunday collections is used to help persecuted Christians.
More than the latest persecution news, Heirloom Love opens the eyes and stirs the hearts of Western Christians to reclaim the love that will change the world.
HEIRLOOM LOVE IS AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANITY
This book will challenge your assumptions about love and bring a fresh perspective to many familiar New Testament teachings on the love that shines light into darkness.
Do you want to make a difference? Heirloom Love is about restoring the love that will change the world today.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” Hebrews 10:24
This Christmas, we in the West will openly observe and celebrate the birth of Christ and our faith without fear. But many brothers and sisters in the world lack the human rights that we in the West so often take for granted. They face constant threats of abuse and are persecuted simply because they are Christians. Knowing they could be killed for their faith, celebrations will be held in secret. No bells will be ringing as their songs of adoration and praise will only be heard in a whisper. In the midst of their persecutors, some will celebrate the birth of our Savior silently rejoicing within. Others will worship in tents, meager structures or outdoors in IDP/refugee camps thanking God that He has kept them alive. All are asking for our prayers and hoping the Body of Christ will not forget and desert them. What stirs in your heart at the knowledge of their circumstances? Sadly, still too many Christians in the West know nothing about them. They are unaware that Christian persecution has reached historic levels with approximately 100 million Christians around the world facing possible dire consequences for their faith.
At this special time of year, may we remember the persecuted and the sacrifices they make to follow Jesus. Pray that God will strengthen their faith and give them supernatural joy and peace. By the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, may our Lord bless them with endurance to overcome all things. Pray also for our hearts to be changed to have the agape love of 1st century Christians. Pray for the ability and means to aid our suffering brethren in need. May we too be a witness of faith, through the love we demonstrate, as we come to pray, serve and care for the persecuted.
When we care for persecuted Christians, we are really caring for the Lord Jesus Christ. — Dominic Sputo
Voice of the Persecuted is joining with Dominic Sputo in getting this timely new book into every Christian home and church across America.
In appreciation of your support, Voice of the Persecuted will send a Hardcover copy of Heirloom Love with any donation of $50 or more. To receive your free copy, be sure to include your email and shipping address when donating. Share your blessings and help shine the love of Christ on the persecuted, this Christmas. Your gifts are appreciated more than you could ever know.
For all our readers, we will be offering the hardcopy edition of Heirloom Love for only $9.99 (regularly 15.99). Please include $3.75 for shipping and handling. The author has agreed to donate all proceeds for Voice of the Persecuted’s relief mission project caring for the persecuted in North Nigeria. Secure your copy of this critical message for the Body of Christ, today!
If you are a church or study group leader please contact us to help you with the resources needed to use the message of Heirloom Love for your next bible study. Though the book has an excellent format for this purpose, an additional study workbook is going to print. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include ‘Heirloom Love Study’ in the subject line of your e-mail. We look forward to hearing from you and honored to help!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Take part and come along on the mission! You go with us to the nations through your gifts.
Food, clean water, shelter, clothing, medical assistance and basic needs. Bibles, emergency supplies, hygiene, education/training and Spiritual/emotional encouragement. These are main concerns when meeting the urgent and long term needs of those rejected and agonizing for Christ.
While all are affected, children, widows and the elderly are at the most risk. They make up a large number of those we wish to serve. Without our support and your gifts, many of these persecuted brothers and sisters have nothing. Please keep them in your prayers.
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and grateful for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
Donations always desperately needed
So many ask what they can do to help the persecuted. This is the most important and effective thing we can do. “PRAY FOR US!” is the number one and often only request from the Persecuted Church. Don’t miss the call to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters. Please come and pray, as we believe prayer works. Phone in from any location and stay on the prayer conference call 5 minutes, 5 hours, or as long as you feel led. Your prayers DO make a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
We look forward to praying with you and our persecuted family on the 24-hour call.
Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death, remain here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:22
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
Location: Call in from your own phone from any location
When: Friday Sept. 30 thru Saturday Oct. 1, 2016
Length of call: 24 Hours (Note: You’re not required to commit to 24 hours. Come on the call and pray as your time allows.)
Time of the Call:
9 p.m. Eastern time
8 p.m. Central time
7 p.m. Mountain time
6 p.m. Pacific time
Call number: 712.775.7035
Access code: 281207#
Brothers and sisters please come and pray, as we believe prayer works. Stay on the call 5 minutes, 5 hours, or as long as you feel led. Your prayers make a difference in the lives of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
Lord willing, I look forward to praying with you on the 24-hour call.
Your brother in Christ,
Serving Jesus as Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted and Persecution Watch.
PRINT PRAYER CALL FLYER: View and download printable PDF flyer here
MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier.Google Play link or App Store – iTunes
Available International Conference Call Numbers
(Note: If you will be using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.
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(Though not expected, due to circumstances beyond our control, connection may be lost. Simply call again to rejoin the call. Please let us know if you were unsuccessful getting on the call so we can address the issue with technical support.)
In Iran, converting from Islam to Christianity can land you in prison or even get you killed. However, many Iranians – considered “Muslims” regardless of personal beliefs – still “convert”. World Watch Monitor spoke to one such “convert”, a 27-year-old now living in Europe, about the challenges he faced along the way, and why he left Iran.
(Mohabat News) “[My family] were Muslims, but never very strict. We had a good life; my parents were both teachers and my father had some small businesses aside from that. My father was always busy finding ways to earn more and more money. He always followed Islam, except when it had to do with money; money was more important than religion.
“Like my dad, I also loved money. Money gives you friends, respect and fun. I just wanted to have fun growing up. Every night I spent time with my friends, going from place to place in the city; at the same time I genuinely tried to be a good Muslim. But it was hard. Sometimes I would try to say my prayers regularly, but I soon forgot about them or skipped them to sleep in, or have fun with friends. As a Muslim, I often had the feeling that I was failing on so many sides. Then I thought, ‘I’m lacking in so many ways. I will not go to heaven anyway. What is the point?’
“I was sent to a religious leader – trained especially to help Christian converts from a Muslim background return to Islam – by a friend who was worried about my sudden interest in Christianity.”
“I was surprised when one day I found myself having a strange thought: ‘Go and find out about Christianity’. I was startled. Why would I find out about Christianity? I didn’t know any Christians, and from what I’d heard, it was an old-fashioned religion and Christians were weird people. On top of that, it was dangerous. Why would I choose the chance of imprisonment and death above having fun?
“Time passed, but the thought didn’t go away. So one day I thought: ‘I’ll just do it. I will go and talk to some of those weird guys.’ So I took the bus to a church in a different part of the city. When I finally found the church, I asked the porter if I could ask him a question. ‘No,’ he replied curtly. I remember thinking all the way back to the bus: ‘Wow, what I’ve heard is right. These are seriously weird guys.’ It was only much later that I found out that the government had actually forbidden church members to answer any questions about Christianity to me or any other Muslim.
“I tried to go to other churches, but I got the same response there. I had already given up when one night the thought came back in a very intense way. I can’t find words to describe it. The thought reoccurred in my mind: ‘Go and find out about Christianity and learn how these people think about God.’ The feeling confused me. Did I drink too much alcohol? I had trouble sleeping that night because I was thinking how I could find out more.
“Then I remembered my friend. He worked for a security force investigating illegal ‘underground’ activities. His job was to track all underground activities, including ‘underground’ Christianity and illegal evangelism. Asking him was my last chance. I knew that my friend could get into a lot of trouble by helping me to contact with someone who could tell me more about Christianity, so I decided to bring up the issue playfully so he wouldn’t notice I was actually being serious. My plan worked. My friend gave me the address of a church that he knew was open to Muslims.
“I was so excited! I’d learned that Sunday was the day of the Christians, so the next Sunday I went to the address my friend gave me. When I got closer I saw that there was a worship service going on. At the time I knew nothing about Christianity, so I didn’t know exactly what they were doing. I didn’t know how long it would take. But I just decided to wait outside until someone came out.
“When the service ended a man came out. ‘Can I ask you a question?’ I asked him. He looked at his watch and replied, ‘Sorry, I am in a hurry now, but please come back next week and ask for me. I thought he might be acting out of politeness, but I decided to try anyhow.
“The week after, I stood by the door of the church again. I was looking for the man, but didn’t see him. I started to feel quite uncomfortable. Then someone came to me and asked: ‘Can I help you?’ I told him I was looking for the man who had told me to come back. He said: ‘Unfortunately, he is not here right now.’
“I was about to walk away, when he asked me a dangerous question: ‘Do you want to come in and enjoy the service?’ Now, I have to explain to you that this is something you just don’t do as a Muslim in Iran. So, my first thought was: ‘No, no, no!’ But at the same time I knew this was the moment. So I took a deep breath and said yes.
“My parents weren’t happy about my new faith, but they didn’t give me a lot of trouble. It was because of the people who discipled me that I eventually chose to leave the country. If the authorities would have found me, it would have led to those people, and they would have been in big trouble.”
“The man opened the door for me. I had seen many mosques from the inside. Big ones, small ones, old and modern. But the feeling I had when I entered the church was something I’ve never felt before. It wasn’t even the way it looked.
“I had seen churches on TV. So it wasn’t so much the sight that startled me, it was the way it felt. It felt so peaceful. Walking past the pews I felt like I was in an aquarium; it was like I had a lot of weight on my shoulders. I sat there and felt overwhelmed. I stood up when everyone stood up and sat down when everyone else did. I don’t remember anything from the first sermon, I was too consumed with my feelings.
“After the service there was coffee and tea. A man asked me: ‘You’re here for the first time, right?’ I said yes. I asked him if I could ask him questions about God. He said: ‘Not here, but please come to my home’.
“So I went to his home. I came with a lot of questions. The answers were strange, but in a good way. It was, for instance, the way he talked about heaven. ‘A place in God’s absolute presence,’ he [called it]. ‘A place in which your spirit is at peace totally with your creator.’
“In Islam heaven is a place where you can have all sorts of things you can’t have on earth – different sorts of women for your satisfaction, wine, etc. I hadn’t heard about the Christian idea of heaven before, but somehow his words about heaven made complete sense to me.
“[He] also told me that God isn’t a far-away person but someone who created the earth and put us as humans in the centre. He made us in his image. He even gave us a piece of his very own Spirit. I compared him to Allah, who was far away and got angry about the little things. But with the Christian God I was welcome the way I was. He created me with my weaknesses, he even used my weaknesses to be more like Him. This was a big difference from Allah, who would punish me for any small thing. No, God was my Father, someone who knew me as a person.
“Still, my Muslim background was too strong to just let go. It took a lot of struggling. I told God: ‘If you really care, please show me the way.’
“The funny thing is that apart from that church member, one of the people who helped me understand Christianity during that period was someone who had exactly the opposite intention – a ‘mini-Ayatollah,’ as I call him. This religious leader was trained especially to help Christian converts from a Muslim background return to Islam. I was sent to him by a friend who was worried about my sudden interest in Christianity. But with everything the religious leader said about Islam, I found an alternative in the Bible that was much better.
“It wasn’t a specific moment, a lightning flash or a dream. It happened gradually that I became a Christian. It was like the curtains that had been hanging in front of the truth for a long time had been opened for me. What I saw was beautiful.
“I didn’t tell my family: ‘Surprise! I am a Christian now!’ They discovered gradually. I had always been a bad boy and I started behaving differently. For instance, I brought the [dramatized life of] “Jesus” DVD home and watched it with my little brother. They’d expected me to go on drugs, or get in trouble with the police. They didn’t expect me to become a Christian.
“My parents weren’t happy about my new faith, but they also didn’t give me a lot of trouble. It was because of the people who discipled me that I eventually chose to leave the country. If the authorities would have found me, it would have led to those who discipled me, and they would have been in big trouble.
“I was 18 when I left home. Now I am 27. I haven’t been back in Iran since. I haven’t seen my family in 10 years. It’s a big sacrifice. But despite everything, I am undoubtedly happy and thankful.”
VOP Note: It’s quite interesting how God used an unlikely source to help this young man find the Truth. Please remember Iranian Christians in your prayers.
- Pray for Iranian Christian converts choosing Jesus despite the danger and reality of persecution.
- For those seeking to find the life saving message in the Gospel.
- Though unhappy about his conversion, the young man’s family didn’t put extreme pressure him. This is not the case for many others. Pray for discernment and wisdom. Pray families will see the light of Christ shining through their converted family members and be drawn to faith by the Lord.
- Pray for the authorities. That their hearts will soften.
- Pray for Christians being pressured to return to Islam to endure and not deny their Christian faith.
- For those imprisoned for their faith to be released.
- Pray for the move of the Holy Spirit over the land of Persia and the spread of Christianity now taking place—second only to China.
- For God to have mercy on the people of Iran. That they will come to know Jesus and have a place in His Kingdom.
Have you ever read the Gospel according the Matthew straight through in one sitting? … Do you ever spend hours watching television shows? In 1993, Christian filmmakers set out to make a Jesus film which would be Word-for-Word the Gospel. What emerged was a presentation of Jesus in exultant joy (Hebrews 1:9) and deep passion – a Man who was God on His knees in the sand, weeping over people’s pain, reaching His healing hand into their broken lives; a Man who restrained all the power of the universe and allowed His blood to fall to the ground…for you. The year is about 62 A.D., and the aging apostle Matthew recalls the remarkable events he witnessed as a young man. As his story unfolds, the centuries melt away and we are intimately involved in the life of Jesus. The mystery and the wonder of His birth—His baptism and temptation in the wilderness—The compassion and hope of the Sermon on the Mount. Walk with Jesus through Galilee as He calls His disciples, performs miracles, and begins teaching His world-changing message of love and redemption. This deeply moving presentation is a unique word-for-word presentation in the NIV. The movie is over 4 hours long. Watch it in segments if your unable to view it all.
You probably don’t need to hear reasons that it’s important to read the Bible. You know it is. But you might need some motivation. We hope this will encourage you to open your Bible and take up reading it again. While watching, pause the movie and read the Gospel of Matthew in your Bible. Experience God’s Word afresh, and His promises for you anew. HE loves you!