The Friday Fax

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This is the final Friday Fax!
As announced in June, the Friday Fax is being replaced by two other publications: Joel News and the Friday Fax 2. Both require an annual subscription or donation. Joel News is the most similar to the current Friday Fax, so everyone subscribed to the Friday Fax will automatically receive a free trial subscription to Joel News starting in January 2006. The Friday Fax 2 is more prophetically-oriented, and is available from the Friday Fax 2 web site.
I, Steven Bufton, am not involved in either publication; if you have any questions or comments about the new publications, please consult the web sites for further information. The e-mail address fridayfax@bufton.net will be closed at the end of January.

I would like to thank everyone who has written to me with encouragement, questions, corrections and thanks during the almost eleven years I have been translating and distributing the Friday Fax. Thanks particularly to the (very) few who donated money, most of which was passed on to support church planters.

Regards, and many blessings,

Steven Bufton
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 30. 2005 at 11:25 in General
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Crucified giving changes the world
Two main themes are currently determining the future of Christianity: firstly, the rediscovery of the original nature and organic structure of Church, and secondly, the rediscovery of New Testament financial principles. When much of Christianity follows money instead of the Lord, what is the effect on the original aim and mission of the Church? Could it be that its operating system – its financial principles – is damaged?

« Everything you’ve heard about work and money in the church is wrong! » That was the background of a 2005 book by Dr. Thomas Giudici and Wolfgang Simson, examining materialistic ‘Mammon-addiction’ in both individuals’ lives and the Church (in German, « Der Preis des Geldes », http://www.preisdesgeldes.net). Constructive criticism isn’t enough, though, so the book also suggests alternative financial models. One of those models is « apostolic finances », principles for work and finances which support the mission of the Church, not its self-centred or even pleasure-seeking status quo.

Around the world in the course of the past decade, well over 100,000 churches have been planted according to an entirely new model, as described in the two most recent issues of the Friday Fax 2: house churches and regional apostolic networks. Baptist researcher Dr. Jim Slack has shown that all current and past effective long-term missionary models are house church movements – or at least were in their initial phases.

In 2001, following two years of research in India funded by American Christian foundations, Dr. David Barrett discovered that investing in multiplicative organic house church movements has the highest RoI (Return on Investment). Traditional churches, with their astronomical running costs, can never win so many people to Christ and disciple them at such low cost.

What did it cost to start these 100,000 churches? Churches with no building or parking lot, no paid pastor or youth leader, no overhead projector? Totalling the costs for all the travel required, seminars, training, research projects, equipping of the few key people and multipliers, plus emergency welfare assistance, we arrive at no more than US$ 30 million per year, or around US$ 300 million over the past decade.
In comparison: traditional Christianity, with its countless programmes, mountains of paper, training, permanent evangelistic events, church buildings and maintenance costs, salaries of church employees and budgets for welfare and mission, cost an incredible US$ 286 billion per year, according to Dr. David Barrett, or US$ 2,860 billion over the decade. US$ 300 million is one ten thousandth of that sum! What would happen if Christians changed their giving habits over the next ten years, so that instead of 0.01%, 10% of Christian finances were invested in strategic multiplicative church planting movements? It would lead to a missionary explosion of incredible proportions.

In order for that to happen, we believe that a ‘financial salvation’ or ‘financial repentance’ is necessary. We call it ‘crucified giving’. The cross is not logical, uncrucified giving is: it demands hard facts, reasons to expect a return on investment, a business plan and visible, rapid results. The cross is hidden, uncrucified giving finances the shiningly obvious. The cross is weak, uncrucified giving finances the strong. Crucified giving knows that we are strong when we are weak, and recognises that desert experiences are often the most important times for God’s plans. Crucified giving is glad when a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies because it knows God’s promises; uncrucified giving wants a depot full of combine harvesters. Crucified giving recognises that Jesus knows what the money is for better than we do, and submits to his principles.

Messianic Financial Principles Think Tank
Dr. Thomas Giudici and Wolfgang Simson are organizing a 1-day think tank in the Basel region, Switzerland, on Monday, 20th March 2006. If you were already thinking about this subject, and are involved in working out New Testament, Messianic and practicable principles of giving as a donor, recipient or missions-oriented thinker, you are invited to take part. Places are limited; please detail why you should take part in a short e-mail to wolfsimson@compuserve.com. The results will be included in a new publication entitled « Messianic Financial Principles » and become part of a strategy to dramatically change Christians’ giving habits. What part will you play?
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 30. 2005 at 11:24 in Finance
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India: « If you kill me, I will be with Jesus »
« If you kill me, I’ll be with Jesus, » Fakar told his torturers. In Spring of 2004, Fakar had been given a green booklet explaining the Gospel using statements in the Koran about Jesus (Isa). Convinced, he was baptised, along with his wife and three daughters, and could not stop speaking of his new faith. After a few months, the local Islamic leaders warned and threatened him. One day, a dozen men attacked and beat him. He died of his injuries. Our partners have started almost 50 house churches among Muslims in Kashmir, India, and the new believers helped others following the recent earthquake in the region. They provide people with a roof over their heads and warm clothing, and make sure they also feel the warmth of God’s love.
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 23. 2005 at 12:20 in India
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India: dreams in Kashmir
Raju, a devout Muslim, had a dream in which two corpses were lying in the street. According to Islamic tradition, the dead must be buried immediately. Raju buried the first, but the second one spoke to him, saying « I am not dead. I have eternal life, and you can have it too. Go to your friend. He has a black book. Page x tells you how to find eternal life. »
The following day, Raju visited his friend, who was a secret follower of Isa. His friend opened his « black book » (the Bible), and Raju found eternal life, just as he had seen in his dream. He has now started 30 house churches!
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 23. 2005 at 12:17 in India
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Caucasus: Marina’s repentance
Marina was married to a Wahabi warrior who aimed to exterminate all Christians. Every day, Marina prayed that Allah would exterminate them. Marina’s husband was killed in battle, and her life worsened. Her parents-in-law took her son away from her and chased her away. Then she heard the Gospel, and Isa appeared to her several times. She was baptised about one year ago, and attended the first church planting school in Sochi in May of 2005. Encouraged, she returned to Chechnya to get her son. During our visit a few weeks ago, she told us that he also likes to worship Isa Masiach, the saviour of the world. Marina’s mother suffered from Tuberculosis, and would not listen to the Gospel, so Marina prayed and fasted for her. Isa appeared to her mother, saying « You are healed. » She was completely healed, opened her heart to Jesus, and was baptised a few weeks ago.
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 23. 2005 at 12:16 in Caucasus
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Caucasus: God in Dagestan
Some years ago, H.P. Nüesch, leader of Campus für Christus (Campus Crusade for Christ) in Switzerland, gave an evangelistic sermon in northern Russia. Victor, an oil worker, was touched. He visited his sister Sina, who was married to an Muslim businessman in Dagestan; she was saved, and told her husband Arthur about the Gospel. Arthur was also saved, and planted the first national church in an Islamic people group in the Caucasus. That church grew to around 300 members, and has since planted churches in ten other places in Dagestan. Arthur told the Gospel to Juri, another businessman who was going to commit suicide. Juri’s family was heavily involved in the Occult. When Juri opened his heart to Jesus, demons attacked and killed him, but after prayer in Isa’s name, « he returned to life. » He was sent out to North Ossetia-Alania, and has so far planted churches in two villages. I’m amazed by this ‘genealogy’: Hanspeter Nüesch – Victor – Sina – Arthur – Juri – churches in North Ossetia-Alania. That’s almost a biblical list!
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 23. 2005 at 12:13 in Dagestan
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Bangladesh: « Hey brother, want a ride? »
On a hot day in 1983, Tom, a missionary on his way home in a rickshaw, saw a young man on the side of the road, and asked him if he wanted a ride. The young man, Abdul, had been through a tough time, including being locked in his room, solitary confinement, beatings, death threats and suicide attempts, because he had questioned the Koran. He went home with Tom, who gave him a Bible. When he returned home, Abdul read the entire New Testament in one night. John 3:17 astonished him, because it told him that God does not damn people but save them. That very night, he opened his heart to this God! One week later, he had read the entire Bible. His salvation was the start of the most dynamic present-day evangelistic movement in an Islamic nation, currently numbering hundreds of thousands of Muslims now following Isa, and around 10,000 who are baptised each month. That’s a millennium event!
Source: Kingdom Ministries, Switzerland. KM is a team which aims to help start church-planting movements.
Posted by Friday Fax on Friday, December 23. 2005 at 12:09 in Bangladesh, CPM
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(Page 1 of 12, totaling 80 entries) next page »

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