In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:6–9
PAKISTAN — Six Churches Attacked and Christian Homes Burned by the Taliban — VOM Sources
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.
On Feb. 22, the Taliban attacked six churches, burned several Christian homes and four Bibles and injured children in Karachi, Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. Eye witnesses reported the Taliban shouting, “Accept Islam, Accept Islam, LA ILAHA ILL ALLAH MUHAMMADUR RASOOL ALLAH,” meaning there is no god, only Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. The churches attacked were: Christ United Church, Philadelphia Pentecostal Church, ARP Church, Salvation Army Church and two public churches. The Voice of the Martyrs supports persecuted believers in Pakistan. Pray for the believers who were injured in this attack and those who lost their homes. Ask God to encourage and protect believers in Pakistan who continue to stand for Him despite persecution.
SRI LANKA — Church Robbed, Pastor Threatened — National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
A church was robbed and a pastor threatened in Sri Lanka in recent weeks, according to reports from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. On the evening of April 5, a gang of unidentified assailants broke into a Methodist church building in the city of Dehiwela, Colombo district. Musical instruments, Bibles, hymn books and church documents, including baptism and marriage records, were stolen. Meanwhile on April 8, four Buddhist extremists gathered outside Pastor Padeep Kumara's home in the town of Weeraketiya, Hambanthota district. They demanded that he come outside and threatened to kill him. Pastor Kumara's wife, who was home with their two children, phoned her husband, but by the time he arrived home the militants had fled. Later that evening, the leader of the extremist group phoned the pastor several times and threatened to kill him if he did not leave the village by morning. He then returned to the pastor's house and threatened him with violence. When the police arrived, the extremist leader was arrested. He was released the following day and drew up a petition along with other local Buddhists against Pastor Kumara's church. The Buddhists also threatened the owner of the pastor's home with violence if he did not evict the family. The pastor's children have since been moved to a safe new location. Ask God to protect and encourage Pastor Kumara and his family. Pray that the perpetrators of these attacks will come to repentance and salvation. Ask God to enable Sri Lankan Christians to remain steadfast in the face of suffering.
CHINA — Confiscated money returned to Chinese pastor — China Aid Association
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Praise God! China Aid Association is reporting that on April 17 the Chinese government returned the money confiscated from Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan on March 21. "The authorities gave the money back, because of the pressure. Hallelujah! We will continue the ministry and fight for religious freedom," Pastor Bike said. Praise God for this victory. Continue praying for pastor Bike and believers in China.
Here is the final report I emailed out yesterday, wanted to include it here for the record:
I arrived back in Fort Mill on Wednesday morning at 1:30 AM from our trip to Iceland. It was one of the most remarkable ministry trips I have been a part of: the simplicity of this mission blended with an intense effort in many respects to find God granting accomplishment on the other side.
Our flight out of Charlotte was delayed and caused us to get to Iceland a day later than planned. I have learned to watch for God's leading and testing that often occurs before breakthrough. What often appears to be an inconvenience or delay can be God's way of releasing you into a measure of authority, a qualifying to handle greater power and influence than He could entrust to you before. Or not.
We arrived at 6:30AM Friday and hit the ground running, with our scheduled time to begin worship and prayer at 9AM. Sam had arrived the day before from Seattle as scheduled. We spent the most of the next 2.5 days in worship and prayer. There were some evening sessions where I taught on the house of prayer, we had easily 150 people in those times during our gathering. They went beyond my initial plan and arranged the whole weekend of night and day worship and prayer with teams from various churches on the platform leading worship. The first night I taught on the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, as He is the foundation of our lives as Christians. The Lord told me He was going to release a 'wound of love' to some who were present and so I released that by the leading of Holy Spirit. Then we ended with an extended time with the whole gathering moving around the building to pray for others. I could feel love moving into the gathering in a remarkable way, like a light fluid that seemed to fill the room as the saints were blessing each other, releasing gifting into fruitfulness.
At the last moment, on Saturday night, the Lord directed me to give a message on humility. I related how at our first harp and bowl prayer meeting in Charlotte in October of 2002 we started by asking the Lord to give to His house of prayer in Charlotte the humility that He finds attractive. I reflected on the life of Moses as a example of a person prepared for "success", the rigorous way God stamped upon Moses mind and heart that while God was with him, it was the Lord at work to lead and deliver and bring His people to Himself. I prophesied that a harvest is indeed pending in the nation, they needed to prepare for the exhausting demands of the lost coming to the church in bigger numbers. That the way forward to this release was the wineskin called "night and day prayer", which also was the way towards a church prepared for Jesus' return.
It was an outrageous privilege to come alongside these believers and fast and pray and press in to God for breakthroughs. They received a taste of what is coming, and they savored Jesus among them, crucified and risen for them. The time together will prove to be a significant step forward in building a prayer community that will burn hot in worship and prayer.
I can only thank you for your prayer and for those who helped us financially. It was significant to make the trip in friendship, believing in what God is saying to them and about them. It was meaningful when we could say we went without being paid or requiring some kind of compensation for the trip (though they did take an offering for us at one point that helped to meet some unexpected expenses). A laborer is worthy of their wages, to be sure, but at times we are simply to give without requiring personal benefit.
Tim and Sam were remarkable in their willingness to be poured out in worship and prayer during our days there. The extended hours took a toll, yet they did not groan or complain or even hesitate to carry weight during the weekend and beyond. They were marvelous companions, to be sure, to whom I am grateful.
I have no present plans to be back in Iceland but I still have a keen sense the Lord is telling me to "not neglect your friendships in Iceland". Pray for me, please, that I might fulfill all of God's will in this matter in coming months and years.
I checked my notes to be sure I got the following details right: Back on January 14 I had an encounter with the Lord where He told me that in 12 days there would be an event which marked the path towards the ending of this age. He would pull a linchpin that would start a reaction towards the Last Day church rising in overcoming love. I had no clue what it meant. The day before this date, my wife and I were en route back from the Atlanta IHOP leadership conference with Kirk and Dee Bennett and I discussed this with them in the car while heading back to Fort Mill. The next day the government in Icelandcollapsed. Today there is an election under way there to determine their leadership through the recovery of the economic devastation they have experienced. It remains to be seen if they will surrender their sovereignty to the European Union through this appointment, and if the government will garner more assets and greater control over the nation.
Despite this, the Lord is building a house of prayer in Iceland. Its role in intercession in coming months and years will be important. Its expression of worship will be a blessing to the Body of Christ worldwide. I see a church emerging there that will be purified by both the shakings and spiritual opposition, the life of Jesus breaking out in power and strength through His people. He will make us joyful in His house of prayer, (Isa. 56:7).
He who is in us is greater than He who is in the world. And this not by a measurable margin. So to this end, lets pray that the Church of Jesus Christ in Iceland may be filled "with all the fullness of God," (Eph. 3:19).