WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - October 2, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Whistleblower Reaches Agreement to Testify, will Appear ‘Very Soon’
The whistleblower who filed an anonymous complaint about President Donald Trump asking Ukraine to investigate a political rival has reached an agreement to testify before Congress, Rep. Adam Schiff announced Sunday. Talking with ABC News' "This Week," Schiff, the Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said the whistleblower would testify "very soon" and the only thing standing in the way was getting security clearances for the attorneys representing the whistleblower so they could attend the testimony. The whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, revealed deep concern that Trump “used the power of his office” to solicit Ukraine’s help to discredit one of his main political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden. The complaint went on to detail efforts by senior White House officials to later "lock down" access to all records of the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump urged his counterpart to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The whistleblower's concerns were the tipping point for House Democrats, who formally launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump after months of investigating the administration and conduct of the president. Schiff did not outline a date for testimony and the whistleblower's attorneys said in a statement that they continue to work with the House and Senate about finalizing logistics, adding no date has been set. read more
Did you read the transcript that started this? Individuals on both the right and the left are making their case for and against impeachment. And while both sides stress points, Americans simply stress. A new study found that 38 percent of Americans say politics are stressing them out. One in 4 have lost a friend and 1 in 5 have lost sleep. While we can’t control Washington, we can control our reaction to Washington. We can pick up a stone and join the partisan crowd, or we can seek to imitate Jesus and pursue the truth (John 8). Together, we should faithfully pray for our nation, our leaders, and for the truth to win out in these proceedings. In Matthew 12:25 Jesus warned, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
We must pray for partisan motives to be set aside and for a spirit of unity to remain intact in our country, despite political differences. Pray for truth and justice to be upheld and for the Constitution to be adhered to, not just by the President and Congress, but by every governmental department involved.
Take a few minutes to read Dr. Jim Denison’s article The Latest on Impeachment: Two Biblical Imperatives to understand what an impeachment process looks like and how we can specifically pray for these acrimonious times.
Abortion Now Legal in Australia’s Most-Populous State, Lawmakers Overturn 119 Year Ban
Lawmakers in New South Wales, Australia, voted to overturn a 119-year-old law criminalizing abortion, drawing criticism from pro-life advocates. After more than two weeks of debate, the New South Wales parliament voted to pass the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019. The bill decriminalizes abortion and makes terminations available to women up to 22 weeks into their pregnancy without having to prove their mental or physical health will be impacted if they continue the pregnancy, the BBC reports. After 22 weeks, pregnant women seeking an abortion will need two specialist medical practitioners to sign off on the procedure. The bill overturned a 119-year-old law that made it a criminal offense to obtain or administer an abortion. Previously, abortions were only legal in Australia’s most populous state if a doctor deemed there was "serious risk" to a woman's physical or mental health if she carried her baby to term. “Unlawful abortion" was previously listed in the Crimes Act and carried a possible penalty of 10 years in prison for a woman who administered her own abortion. The bill's passage means that abortion is now decriminalized everywhere in Australia, apart from the state of South Australia, where abortions are legal for some medical reasons. read more
The west has pushed to make abortions easy and accessible across the world, and today, abortions have never been easier to obtain. Abortion is only completely illegal in about 17 nations around the globe. New South Wales in Australia is only the latest to permit abortion removing the protection for life inside the womb. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently spoke about abortion bans stating, “These bans violate the Constitution. They ignore basic morality. They imperil the health and well-being of countless women. And they showcase a radical Republican agenda that will stop at nothing to take away a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health, her body, and the timing and size of her family.” Her statement, abortion bans “ignore basic morality,” made headlines. As people who believe God is the creator and giver of life (Psalm 139), we know that the most fundamental privilege is the right to life and to terminate a life “ignores basic morality.” There is nothing more important.
Pray for the women in Australia who can now legally choose death for their unborn babies. Pray that they would choose life. And pray for the Christian Church in Australia to rise up and help meet the financial, emotional, and spiritual needs of women who are considering abortion.
Have you heard the argument, “there will always be women who choose abortion, therefore, it is best to make abortion legal so that it is ‘safe.’” Live Action tackles this common question. Take a few minutes to make sure you know how to respond to this argument.
‘Fastest-Growing Church’ has No Buildings, No Central Leadership, and is Mostly Led by Women
For the last few years, researchers have credited the underground church in Iran as the fastest-growing Christian church in the world. It has unique characteristics that defy comparison with churches in America and Europe, and in the opinion of some who know it well, the church in the West could learn by studying it. “The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth,” according to “Sheep Among Wolves,” the outstanding two-hour documentary about the revival that has taken place inside Iran. “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.” The documentary was produced by Frontier Alliance International (FAI), which supports disciple-making teams targeting the “unreached” and “unengaged” within the 10/40 Window. There is a mass exodus leaving Islam for Christianity within Iran, according to FAI. read more
As tensions intensify with Iran, the Spirit of God is at work in Iran. Open Doors lists Iran as the 9th most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. However, God defeated death, and His followers do not fear man. In Iran, a country of 83 million, an estimated 300,000 practice Christianity. Some put that number at one million. Mahmoud Alavi, the intelligence minister, was giving a speech in front of several Shia Muslim clerics when he announced: “Christianity is spreading.” He said that these converts “are ordinary people whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things.” Iran’s penal code prescribes the “death sentence for proselytizing and attempts by non-Muslims to convert Muslims.” But you cannot silence that which you love even in the face of death. This summer, Iranian security services raided the homes of eight Iranian converts to Christianity. Since 2010, approximately 550 Christians have been arrested because of their religious beliefs and activities. Here in the U.S, we may be losing the culture war, but God is on the move around the world. He started a good work and will see it to completion – even in places like the U.S and Iran (2 Timothy 3:12, Matthew 16:13-20, Philippians 1:6).
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Iran who are faithfully sharing the Gospel and walking with Jesus. Pray for their protection and continued courage. And pray that we would become more like them in our boldness and willingness to risk and sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel (Mark 8:35).
Are you ready to share the Gospel? 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” We encourage you to take a few minutes to be refreshed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Sharing Your Faith 101 Tips. You can watch the documentary referenced above, “Sheep Among Wolves” here.
China’s Xi: ‘No Force Can Stop the Chinese People and the Chinese Nation’
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule that no force could sway China’s development. The anniversary parade, which included 100,000 performers and 15,000 soldiers, was among the largest in modern Chinese history. “There is no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation,” Xi said in Mandarin, according to an official translation broadcast through state media. “No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead.” Xi concluded his speech, which lasted for less than 10 minutes, saying, “Long live the great Communist Party of China. And long live the great Chinese People!” read more
As thousands of protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands clamored to hear from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Known as Mao 2.0, Pres. Xi showed off new weapons and reminded audiences of his Chinese Dream. He has a “Mandate of Heaven,” allowing him to rule in such a way that serves the public good and furthers the happiness of the citizens. The Chinese Dream seeks to make the country a global power by 2050. A part of this dream is the One Belt and One Road initiative, a massive trade and infrastructure project that aims to link China, both physically and financially, to over 70 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. Thus far, China has invested at least $900 billion. However, this Mandate of Heaven seems less than divine for some. The State Department estimates that China has detained between 800,000 to two million Uighur Muslims in political re-education camps since April 2017. Chinese officials are closing churches, burning Christian buildings, and even rewriting Scripture. But despite their efforts, God’s church cannot be thwarted. Upwards of 100,000 come to saving faith each week. According to the research of Fenggang Yang, author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival Under Communist Rule, the number of believers in the People’s Republic of China will rise to 160 million by 2025 and 247 million by 2030 (2 Corinthians 4:16, Philippians 1:6). Unfortunately for Pres. Xi, there is a force that can stop the Chinese nation. The President may have a “Mandate of Heaven” but we have access to our Father in heaven.
Pray today for the protection of religious minorities living under extreme persecution in China and pray for those in Hong Kong as they fight to maintain some of their freedoms under China’s Communist rule.
Read about China’s sickening practice of harvesting organs from thousands of persecuted people, a practice recently exposed at the United Nations in a new report released by the independent non-profit human rights charity China Tribunal. We must stay informed on what’s happening in China so that we know what to fervently pray for.
Don't forget to grab your copy of Unplanned, the inspiring and eye-opening true story of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and her journey of transformation. Get your copy here.
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