Monday, December 31, 2012

How Worship Transforms You by Shane Idleman

Incredible Story About a Girl with Half a Brain and Still Able to Function

When Cameron Mott was three years old, she contracted a rare and deadly brain disorder; Rasmussen's Encephalitis. The disease was eating away at her brain and she was plagued by fits. Her parents were desperate and opted for the only available cure, a radical high-risk operation to remove the diseased half of her brain.

Urbana 2012: Social Media Engagement Future of Christian Conferences?

ST. LOUIS – How do you make sure 16,000 students attending a five-day missions conference have the best opportunity to engage in what God has planned for them? You "overlay" the event with social media, more specifically with Twitter, says Adam Jeske, who is leading a 14-member social media team during Urbana '12.

While perhaps breaking new ground with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial Student Missions Conference held through New Year's Eve, Jeske and his "squad," as they like to be called, do more than tweet announcements or post photos on Facebook or Instagram. They engage in real-time dialogue about matters of faith. Additionally, groups of similar interest and focus can connect with each other by simply following specific Twitter feeds. The conference hashtag (#u12) is just the beginning.
"We want to be a conduit for participants to connect with one another, with the program content, and with exhibitors more than they've ever been able to before," said Jeske, who is InterVarsity's director of New Media. "Social media overlays all of the conference programming. For example, if I'm interested in church planting in India, they can tweet to that affect hashtag U12 conference (#u12), hashtag India (#India), and hashtag church planting (#churchplanting) and you can connect with people around areas of interest and areas of calling at a much more focused level than has ever been possible before."
Jeske leads the team primarily from two long tables side-by-side inside one of the conference rooms adjacent to the arena where Urbana is being held. A poster card at one end reads:
"May the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, and the tweets of our fingers be glorifying in your sight, O Lord."
With laptops and smart phones in hand, members of the social media team listen as he imparts strategy and commands on such things as areas of the conference that need to be broadcast via Twitter.

One Million Red Ribbons for Life Launched in Philippines

Pro-life advocates in the Philippines are tying red ribbons all across the country in a show of opposition to the anti-life Reproductive Health (RH) Bill recently passed by Congress, and signed into lawon December 21.

“The RH bill may have passed both houses but the fight for truth and life continues,” said a post on the Pro-Life Philippines Foundation’s website. “We invite each and every pro-lifer to participate in Pro Life’s 1 Million Red Ribbon Campaign. This calls for tying red ribbons every where we can in order to promote awareness on this fight against the RH bill as well as to rally our troops and to remind our our valiant soldiers that our war against the anti-life forces is not yet over – not by a long shot!”


Urbana 12 participants 'Join-In' an historic event

USA (MNN) ― More than 16,000 young people did something historic. They put their hands and feet together to make a tangible difference in the lives of the poor and hurting in Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Volunteers who work with AIDS victims in Swaziland and other African countries will receive Caregiver Kits assembled by 16,000 attendees at Urbana 12. Urbana 12 is InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial Student Missions Conference, which is being held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri, December 27-31, 2012.
The kits include medical and hygiene items for the compassionate care of AIDS victims in a part of the world that has borne the brunt of what has been called the largest humanitarian crisis of all time, and where access to basic health care is greatly limited. "The Caregiver Kits provide practical materials which bring dignity and comfort to those living with AIDS," said Steve Haas, Vice President of World Vision, which is partnering with InterVarsity on this project.
Over the past year, World Vision saw 40,000 kits assembled. During this one Saturday night at Urbana 12, another 32,000 kits will be added to that total. Each Urbana attendee will pack two kits and enclose notes of encouragement and blessing for the kit recipient.


Students at Urbana Assemble 32,000 AIDS Caregiver Kits Ready for African Countries

ST. LOUIS — An emotionally charged evening at Urbana 12 that included the appearance of Shortie Khumalo, an AIDS victim caregiver from Swaziland, concluded with students in attendance assembling 32,000 caregiver kits ready to be shipped to Africa in about two hours.

The 16,000 youth at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial student missions conference were given a chance Saturday evening to write a short letter of encouragement to a caregiver before joining others on the Edwards Jones Dome floor. Once there, students filled a World Vision bag with items such as latex gloves, soap, and water purifying tablets.
"We wanted to provide the opportunity for the Urbana delegates to make a tangible effort that would shift their perspective to identifying with those in the margins of our world," said Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Urbana's program director. Toyama-Szeto called the event "historic."
"In planning for this event, we were searching for the intersection between proclaiming the Gospel and demonstrating the Gospel. A gospel that is just proclaimed is only half the Gospel. And a gospel that is just demonstrated is only half a gospel," she said.
Volunteers who work with AIDS victims in Swaziland and other African countries will receive the caregiver kits. The kits include medical and hygiene items for the compassionate care of AIDS victims in a part of the world that has borne the brunt of what has been called the largest humanitarian crisis of all time, and where access to basic health care is greatly limited, say Urbana organizers.
"The caregiver kits provide practical materials which bring dignity and comfort to those living with AIDS," said Steve Haas, vice president of World Vision, which is partnering with InterVarsity on the project.

Close Ad Why We Celebrate New Years

The celebration of the end of one year and the beginning of another is the perfect time to focus on the very real need all Christians have to leave the past behind and press on to the future.

Christian Post Looks Back at 2012

The last 12 months were full of sorrow, shock, and fierce debates that seemed to have left the nation more divided. From battles for religious freedom both at home and abroad to questions about evil and justice, the year 2012 has forced the Christian community to examine the direction of the world and to also reflect on their own impact.

The Christian Post looked back at 2012 and highlighted some of the most significant moments below (in no particular order).

Students find healing, comfort at Urbana 12

USA (MNN) ― Do you know what gendercide is?
According to a definition on All Girls Allowed (AGA), it's "the systematic extermination of a particular gender," and it has slaughtered millions of baby girls in China and parts of India. Chinese data shows that 13 million abortions are performed every year, resulting in an average of 35,000 abortions per day.
Gendercide has roots in America, too.
Statistics from the Center for Disease Control reveal that 1 in 5 U.S. women were raped at some point in their lives. Between 2004 and 2006, an estimated 105,187 females and 6,526 males aged 10-24 received medical care as a result of nonfatal injuries sustained from a sexual assault.
A key leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement, Chai Ling fought again for freedom by founding All Girls Allowed (AGA), a group seeking to rescue girls and women from the effects of gendercide. In recent days, she brought the reality home to students at Urbana 12.
"We felt God brought us a very unique message, that is, expose, rescue, and healing," Ling says, "particularly [to] address the gendercide, taking place in China under the one-child policy and also in society at large."
Ling says she and the AGA team came to Urbana 12 to bring the horrors of gendercide to light and facilitate healing through Jesus Christ. AGA counselors and ministry teams were available to speak with students after the session ended.
"God has beautiful testimonies of resurrection and healing in every single one of our lives," Ling says. "My hope and desire and prayer for Urbana is to see God's healing power continue to flow into every heart that needs to be healed."


Culture 2012: Year in Review

It was a monumental year on many fronts -- ranging from President Barack Obama's reelection, the unexpected death of well-known artist Thomas Kincaid, Superstorm Sandy's wrath in the Northeast, and the unforgettable massacre in Newton, Connecticut.

Death of Thomas Kincade
Shockwaves circulated across the country in April regarding the sudden death of the artist known as the "Painter of Light." Upon Thomas Kinkade's death from an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium, fans discovered a life filled with darkness and a journey littered with grief and brokenness.
Regardless of the shadowy elements of the painter's life, Mel Bilbo, owner of the Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery in Branson, Missouri, said the store was deluged with shoppers.
"It's a sad time for many people," he told OneNewsNow, "but at the same time, they're reflecting on how instrumental he was in making art something for … a lot of people. He touched the heartstrings of so many."


Hobby Lobby to defy Obamacare mandate

Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned company that provides hobby, arts and crafts supplies to tens of millions of customers across America, will defy the Obamacare mandate that health insurance for its employees cover “abortion-inducing drugs.”
The confirmation is from a statement released by an attorney, Kyle Duncan, who said in a website statement that, “The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

JMC LIVE 12 29 12 New Years Special

Topics Discussed On JMC LIVE

Top 10 Christian Tweets of 2012

Many In Fear and demand Stronger Gun Laws after Connecticut Shooting, But How should Christians react?

Joshua 10:25
And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

Hebrews 13:6
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani Jailed Again
He again spends Christmas behind bars

Voice Of The Martyrs Magazine for December 2012
Criminal Or Hero
An Update on Pastor Shi Weihan
Read article from magazine

New Years
He makes all things new
Revelation 21:4-5

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 10 Christian Tweets of 2012

Social networks have become perhaps one of the most convenient ways for the public to follow the latest news on their favorite athletes, recording artists and Christian ministers. They have also become a source of inspiration for many, as some of the most popular tweets featured on Twitter are often from Christians in the public sphere who are very vocal about their faith. See which Christians had some of the most popular tweets in 2012.

Urbana 2012: David Platt Warns That Christians Have 'Reduced Jesus to Puny Savior'

ST. LOUIS – Author and pastor David Platt gave an impassioned plea to thousands of mostly college-age students to commit their lives to Jesus Christ regardless of the cost to their lives while preaching during Urbana 2012, a triennial student missions conference. Platt warned that many Christians have reduced the eternal significance of Jesus.

"Jesus is the alpha and the omega. He is the beginning and the end. He is the first and the last. He is the final amen … Christ our Creator, our deliverer, our everlasting father, He is God," said Platt from the stage inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis before an estimated 16,000. "Jesus is the very word of God made flesh … Jesus is all of these things and [yet] we have reduced Him to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for us to accept Him into our hearts."

Platt, who is the lead pastor at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., made the point that people (believers and nonbelievers) need Jesus more than they realize.

"Your heart is beating at this moment because Jesus is giving it rhythm and if He were to stop, so would you," he said. "For far too long and in far too many ways we have minimized the majesty of Jesus in the church and we have deluded what it means to be His disciple in the world."

Earlier in the day, during an Urbana press conference, Platt said that he wanted to convey to his audience that "Jesus is worthy of our trust."

He explained, "He's worthy of our plans and dreams. He's worthy of our affections. When we see His worth for who He really is then we will eagerly, willingly and gladly give our lives, even lose them if necessary to make His glory known to the ends of the earth."

TX rep. introduces 'Merry Christmas Bill'

Though it didn't affect this year's events, a Texas state legislator is introducing a measure he hopes will protect teachers and school administrators who want to refer to Christmas as Christmas.

Texas state Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R) says he has discovered that the teachers and administrators at his son's school are afraid of mentioning Christmas or Hanukkah during the holidays.

"The district chooses to call the break a 'holiday break' or a 'holiday party,' then the teachers kind of follow the lead, and they do the same thing when, in fact, they should have the freedom and liberty to express these religious winter celebrations form Hanukkah, to Christmas, to you name it," Bohac contends.

So, he is introducing what he calls the "Merry Christmas Bill" to ensure that teachers and school administrators can freely express Christmas and other holiday wishes without fear.


Prayer List: Need for Missionaries

In Matthew chapter 9 we read that Jesus had compassion for the crowds of people that were coming to him to be healed and to hear him preach. Then Jesus told his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." - Matthew 9:37-38

During the next few days the Holy Spirit may convict numerous college students attending the Urbana Student Missions Conference to becomes missionaries or church planters. These students could play a role in harvesting a large number of souls


Top 100 Christian Movies on CFDb for 2012!

hese are the Top 100 Most Looked at Films on CFDb for the Year 2012!
The Number after the Movie Title are the Page Views according to Google Analytics.
100 – Joyful Noise – 1190
 99 – Doonby – 1191
 98 – Dragons in our Midst – 1196
 97 – There Be Dragons – 1205
 96 – A Thousand Tomorrows – 1223
 95 – The Frontier Boys – 1226
 94 – Anna’s Choice – 1229
 93 – Machine Gun Preacher – 1230
 91 – Elephant Sighs – 1238
 90 – Trade of Innocents – 1241
 89 – My Last Day Without You – 1282
 88 – A Beautiful Soul – 1284
 87 – Saint Rita (Rita da Cascia) – 1288
 86 – Belle and the Beast – 1298
 85 – The Letter Writer – 1303
 84 – Running Inside Out – 1303
 82 – Genesis – 1318
 81 – Lukewarm – 1349
 80 – Thee Blind Saints – 1368

Open Doors Founder Brother Andrew to Speak at Church Event

DC Area Program Will Highlight Information About Persecuted Christians around the World
SANTA ANA, Calif., Dec. 27, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- In Algeria, a pastor was threatened by four men and was told they would burn down his church. Another continent away in India, a pastor and two other Christians were attacked and kidnapped by Hindu extremists. They were later set free. In Nigeria, more than 800 people -- mostly Christians -- have been killed by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram this year, including 12 on Christmas eve.

There have been numerous incidents of Christians facing persecution around the world this year. Many Christians in the West who are not persecuted wonder how these believers maintain their faith under such circumstances.

Open Doors USA, International Mission Board (IMB) and B&H Publishing Group will host a special one-night event featuring a rare United States appearance by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors and one of the heroes of the faith. He and others will talk about what Christianity is like in restricted countries such as Somalia, North Korea and Iran. Open Doors is an international Christian ministry which has been supporting and strengthening persecuted Christians for almost 58 years.

The program will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at Riverdale Baptist Church, 1177 Largo Rd., Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. For more information call 301-249-7001 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            301-249-7001      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

"Millions who claim to follow Christ live under daily persecution throughout the world," says Open Doors USA Interim CEO/President Steve Ridgway. "These precious ones are our family and we as Christians are not complete or whole or healthy without knowing them and without knowing their stories. On January 8 we will have an opportunity to take a step toward being whole by hearing their stories."

Brother Andrew is the author of the worldwide best-selling autobiography God's Smuggler. He has been traveling on behalf of suffering Christians since 1955. He has visited an estimated 128 nations.

Other guest speakers are Nik Ripken, author of the soon-to-be released (Jan. 1, 2013) book The Insanity of God (B&H 2013) and Ron Boyd-MacMillan, chief strategy officer for Open Doors. They will celebrate the faith of persecuted Christians from around the world through sharing their stories and prayers in hopes of encouraging listeners to join the celebration and support their brothers and sisters living under persecution.

The event will highlight the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List, which highlights the top 50 countries where Christians face the worst persecution. For more information on The Insanity of God, go to

An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            888-524-2535      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) or go to

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            616-915-4117      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and email or Emily Fuentes at 949-413-6721 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            949-413-6721      end_of_the_skype_highlighting and

Christian Newswire

Friday, December 28, 2012

Planting Churches in America's 'Celebrity Pastor' Culture

Many Americans clamor for celebrities....not only in Hollywood, but even in churches. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for churches today. The challenge in our "celebrity pastor" culture is to joyfully embrace the need to send out more and more disciples to plant new churches. The opportunity is actually identical to the challenge. It is the incredible privilege to turn attenders and members into church planters.

Why church planting? Because it is God's method for reaching the lost and making disciples....and it is God's method for taking your discipleship to the next level. There is a tremendous amount of spiritual warfare that goes on with church planting. Satan hates to see Spirit-filled believers plant new congregations, and so he works very hard to discourage, distract, and divide any group of disciples who pursue this task to the glory of God.
All Christians encounter some spiritual resistance when attending worship services and participating in a small group....but when a group of believers are sent out to start a new church, watch out! They better be "prayed up," and geared up for the long haul. It will be unlike anything they have encountered in their Christian life, and it will stretch their faith like never before.
It is one thing to go on a week-long mission trip to another country. That will certainly test your faith a bit. But if you step out as part of a church plant, it is a whole new dimension of spiritual activity. It's like the difference between babysitting a child for a compared to adopting a child for a lifetime. One is good....the other is "off the charts" good. Church planting is the most vital work in God's kingdom, and it is straight out of the New Testament. But it is not for the faint of heart....and not for anyone who feels like he must attend a megachurch in order to have his needs met....or a church of any particular size for that matter.
A church plant is not driven by a consumer mentality of "what's in it for me and my family?" It is about frontline mission work for Christ....and that is in direct opposition to the spiritual forces of darkness in our world. There will be little applause....and plenty of trials....but boy can it accomplish God's purposes on earth if the Holy Spirit sends you and a group of believers to do it.
There are quite a few lay elders in churches today who are capable of planting a new church. Some of them have pastoral gifts of preaching and teaching which are rarely used in their "big church." These guys need to spread their wings and fly. Church planting provides a much broader focus than attending elders' meetings to make decisions for hundreds or thousands of people. Church planting is not really about who gets to make the decisions....but more about New Testament pastoral ministry with the believers. It is significantly different from the role that many lay elders seem to have today. Church planting is mainly about prayer and the ministry of the Word....and personal relationships between the shepherds and the sheep.

Urbana Missions Conference: 16,000 Students Urged to Listen to God's Calling

ST. LOUIS – An estimated 16,000 Christian youth attended opening night of Urbana 2012, a triennial student missions conference, at Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis Thursday. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship organizers, who are hosting the event, hope that students will come to a decision about serving God locally or globally.

"Surrender your plans and allow God to surprise you. God's invitation may be unexpected," Tom Lin, who is the Urbana conference director and InterVarsity's vice president, said from the stage. "You and I are called to share God's Kingdom news not just for our campuses, not just for our cities, but also for the ends of the earth – the unfamiliar places, the unfamiliar cultures, and for unfamiliar friends.
"I encourage you to hear God's voice this week. I encourage you to give yourself to areas of God's mission that are unfamiliar to you," Lin added.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national ministry based in Madison, Wis., is keeping a rather low profile during the event, while hosting more than 250 exhibitors during the 5-day event. The fellowship has almost 900 chapters active at 576 U.S. colleges, from Ivy Leagues to community colleges.
Organizers say that conferences such as Urbana are more important than ever. A recent study done in Canada about young adults and the church showed that among 2,000 adults surveyed, all having some connection to the church as children, many no longer claimed any connection to faith.
Statistics from the study, called "Hemorrhaging Faith," show that only one in three young adults who attended church as a child still do so today. Out of those who are no longer in church, 50 percent no longer identify as Christian.

18,000 students attend Urbana 12

USA (MNN) ― The sound of 18,000 cheering students helped kick off InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana 12. While the cheering crowd was a culmination of years of planning, Urbana 12 faced problems. Spiritual warfare? Maybe.
The largest student missions conference in the world had a MAJOR glitch. Urbana 12's communications director Bethany Horvath says, "Our registration and check-in on site require using Due to high capacity there, and due to people outside of St. Louis and outside on-site Urbana using the Web site, our servers just couldn't take it anymore."
While Urbana officials discovered the problem quickly, it took most of the overnight to fix it.


Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2012

The Christian Post rounded up its 10 most popular stories based on views from our readers this past year. Here's a look back at CP's most viewed stories of 2012.

Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani Jailed Again

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

RASHT, IRAN (ANS) -- It was a bad Christmas for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, the Church of Iran pastor who, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), has been returned to jail on an earlier charge.
In September, a court acquitted Pastor Nadarkhani of apostasy, but sentenced him to three years for evangelizing Muslims. Since he had already spent close to three years in Lakan Prison in Rasht, the pastor was released after posting bail.
However, CSW sources now report that Pastor Nadarkhani has now been returned to jail on the orders of the director of Lakan Prison, who claimed he had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah.
In November, Pastor Nadarkhani was a special guest at CSW’s National Conference in London, England, where he thanked all who had prayed and petitioned for him during his initial incarceration.
Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive told the ASSIST News Service: “We are disappointed to hear Pastor Nadarkhani has been returned to prison in such an irregular manner. The timing is insensitive and especially sad for his wife and sons, who must have been looking forward to celebrating Christmas with him for the first time in three years.
“We hope that Pastor Nadarkhani will be released without delay once this alleged sentence has been fully served. We are also asking for prayers for the pastor's safety, and for his family at this difficult time.”


CBS report: Christian population in Israel growing

CBS statistical breakdown: 158,000 live in country, 80% are Arab; sector boasts highest rate of high school graduates.

With thousands of Christians across Israel celebrating Christmas on Tuesday, a statistical breakdown of the Christian population by the Central Bureau of Statistics found that there are currently 158,000 Christians living in the country, representing 2 percent of the total population.

According to the report, approximately 80% of Christians in Israel are Arabs with the remainder mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who came to the country under the Law of Return, which provides for Israeli citizenship if a person has a Jewish grandparent.

Most Christian Arabs live in the northern Israel, and the cities with the largest Christian populations are Nazareth, with 22,400; Haifa with 14,400; Jerusalem with 11,700; and Shfaram with 9,400.
The Christian population is also growing, albeit at a slower rate than all other sectors.

Christian population growth stands at 1.3%, compared to 1.8% for Jews and 2.5% for Muslims.


Christian celebrate Christmas in ancient Bethlehem church marking Jesus' birthplace

Pilgrims celebrate Christmas Day Mass in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born, candles illuminating the sacred site and joyous prayer filling its halls.
Worshippers lined up Tuesday inside the fourth-century Church of the Nativity complex, waiting to see the grotto that is Jesus' traditional birthplace.

Church on cutting edge of technology

When Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene holds Sunday services, people around the world can watch.
Capturing and broadcasting its sermons with six cameras and thousands of dollars' worth of cutting-edge equipment, the technology-friendly church streams services online, as well as through Internet-connected Roku boxes, which many customers use to stream Netflix movies on TV.
Churchgoers can pick up a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the service after it's over, and can go to the church's website ( to watch broadcasts.
Under the direction of Pastor Craig Coulter, Worship Pastor Larry Vinyard has led the church's transformation into a technological dynamo.
"We use four to six cameras per service, and we try to capture the crowd response from time to time," Vinyard said.
"We try to video in such a way that those watching feel they are part of the congregation and not just a person at home on a computer watching a sermon or small group on stage performing. I'm not sure how successful we are with this, but it is definitely one of our goals."
Vinyard said the efforts are all about spreading the church's message to as many people as possible.
"It adds another way people can access our services if they're not able to come," Vinyard said. "We have an older lady who's a shut-in, and we set up Internet at her house. Now she streams with us Sunday mornings."


Saudi Police Storm Home and Arrest 41 People for…’Plotting to Celebrate Christmas’

The next time you complain about having to get together with your “crazy” family for Christmas, remember this story.
Forty-one apparent Christians and two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims were recently arrested in Saudi Arabia after authorities busted a party by a reported Asian diplomat. Their crime? “Plotting to celebrate Christmas,” reports the outlet Al-Akhbar.
The outlet has more:
The guests were said to have been referred to the “respective authorities.” It is unclear whether or not they have been released since.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Story Told in Israeli Language

World’s second-oldest Bible fragment posted online

Cambridge digitized a 2,000-year-old fragment of the Bible containing the Ten Commandments, part of the Shema prayer.

Nash Papyrus.  
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The University of Cambridge posted online thousands of pages from fragile religious manuscripts earlier this month.

One of the documents scanned and uploaded to the Cambridge Digital Library is the Nash Papyrus, a 2,000-year-old fragment containing the Ten Commandments and part of the Shema prayer discovered in Egypt in the late 19th century.


Church service cut short ... for service to others

FULLERTON – Brianna Fain stood over a bowl of dried vegetables Sunday morning, ready to package bags of food to be sent off across the world to those in need in Vietnam.
The 11-year-old, blue-eyed blonde donned a red hairnet and quickly opened small plastic bags, handed them off to her mom, Carrie Fain, 51, who held one open for her, scooped some dried vegetables and placed them in the bag. Brianna's sister, Jennifer Fain, 13, was in charge of placing the soy protein. Their dad, Glen Fain, 58, then filled the bag with rice.

And repeat.
The family took part in First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton's Eve before the Eve project, a challenge by senior pastor Mike Erre to his congregation to leave the church and physically spread Jesus' work into the community.
"If you think the church stops when you walk out the door, you're mistaken," he told his congregation Sunday during the 8 a.m. service. "What you do now is just as legitimate as what you did the last half-hour sitting here."
When Brianna learned from her parents a couple of weeks ago that Sunday's church service would be cut short and that she would be spending several hours packaging food for those in need across the world, she was ready to make it happen.
"I wanted to do this because when people eat this, they'll know that people care about them," she said.
About 1,500 to 1,700 people signed up for activities the church had organized, including packaging food to send to Vietnam through the Stop Hunger Now organization, buying groceries for a widow or a single mom who lives on their street and delivering it, buying a cup of coffee for a Salvation Army bell ringer or handing out gifts to the homeless in Walmart parking lots. Some went caroling at assisted-living senior communities. Some stayed to pray.
Erre said he decided make this Sunday about serving others because it's the epitome of the Christmas story.
"The Christmas story is fundamentally about God becoming flesh and taking on a human form," he said. "We can talk about how much God is good, but if the church is not embodying those concepts in the flesh, then no one is going to be interested in hearing our talk."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

JMC LIVE Christmas Show 2012

JMC LIVE 2012 Christmas Special

Miranda performs
"The First Noel" and "Carol of the Bells" on Piano
Sings "Breath Of Heaven"

Jeremy and Miranda Perform
"How Many Kings"

Jeremy Performs
Sings "Go Tell It On The Mountain" on Guitar With Miranda playing drums
"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" and "Angels We Have Heard On High" On the Clarinet

Jeremy Reads The Story Of Christmas and shares a special Message

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nativity Lighting at Rhode Island Statehouse Celebrates Christmas and the Birth of Jesus

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today, Friday, December 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm, Catholics, Christians, and faithful will hold a Nativity lighting in the main rotunda at the Rhode Island Statehouse to celebrate that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ.

"December 21st is the darkest day of the year and we want to shine light into it, the light of the world - Jesus Christ!" said Christopher Young. He and Kara Russo Young organized the lighting.

In addition to the Nativity lighting, which is next to the menorah and the Christmas tree, participants will sing Christmas carols. All those who wish to share in a beautiful celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, are invited to attend.

  • What: Nativity Lighting

  • When: Friday, December 21, 2012, at 4 p.m.

  • Where: Rhode Island Statehouse, Main Rotunda, 82 Smith Street, Providence
The Youngs used Luke 2:9-11 from the Bible as inspiration for the lighting: "The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'"

"So long as these Christmas religious displays and ceremonies are privately sponsored, funded, and held in traditional public forums, they are constitutionally protected," said Thomas Brejcha, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society.

The Thomas More Society assisted the Youngs with legal counsel and offers legal help to any individuals or citizen groups interested in putting up similar Nativity Scenes -- privately sponsored and funded -- in any traditional public forum in their own towns, villages, or hamlets. The Society can be reached at 312-782-1680,

Christian Newswire

Traditions of Christmas: The 12 Days of Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

Woman Buried in Avalanche Survives By Digging Herself Out

Oldest Recording of Family at Christmas Discovered

Church Bells Ring Nationwide for Newtown Shooting Victims

Church bells are tolling across the U.S. this morning in remembrance of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last Friday, with religious leaders calling on people to pause and reflect on the tragedy.
"Bells in churches historically have a variety of functions. They are announcements, they are a call to prayer, they are a memorial and they are a call to action," the Rev. Richard Burnett, rector at Trinity Episcopal Church Downtown in Columbus, Ohio, told The Columbus Dispatch. "I think all of those things at one level or another can speak to people in our community a week after the tragedy of the massacre."

When 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday morning, he had already killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby home. He then proceeded to shoot down 20 children, the school's principal an five other employees before turning the gun on himself, in the deadliest school shooting America has experienced since the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.

"We are standing in solidarity with those who weep and grieve," the Rev. Virginia Lohmann Bauman of St. John's Evangelical Protestant Church added. "Our bells also ring because the resurrection is real for us and death is not the end. We do believe in eternal life, and these children are in heaven with God and with Jesus."

Newtown first responders carry heavy burdens

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) - While the people of Newtown do their best to cope with loss and preserve the memories of their loved ones, another class of residents is also finding it difficult to move on: the emergency responders who saw firsthand the terrible aftermath of last week's school shooting.

Firefighter Peter Barresi was driving through Newtown on Friday when police cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring raced toward his oldest son's elementary school. After he was sent to Sandy Hook school himself, he saw things that will stay with him forever.

With anguished parents searching for their children, he prepared to receive the wounded, but a paramedic came back empty-handed, underscoring the totality of the massacre. Barresi, whose own son escaped unharmed, later discovered that among the 26 dead were children who played baseball with his son and had come to his house for birthday parties.
"For some of us, it's fairly difficult," said Barresi, of the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. "Fortunately most of us did not go in."


Translations needed to complete Digital Bible Library

International (MNN) ― Yesterday , we told you how ministries and donors were working together to launch a game-changing Scripture repository called The Digital Bible Library.

Today, we'll spotlight Wycliffe Bible Translators USA and the key role they're playing in making God's Word available to every tribe and in every tongue.

"Rendering the Scriptures so that people can have access to them: that's a really good thing. But what we're really interested in is creating the opportunity for those Scriptures to impact people's lives," says Wycliffe President Bob Creson.

Philanthropist and businessman Mart Green, founder of Mardel Christian and Educational Supply and whose family owns Hobby Lobby, has long held the vision of ministries and donors working side-by-side on a project that will eradicate what he calls "Bible poverty."

"Prior to the formation of Every Tribe Every Nation (ETEN), Bible ministries were often working in silos. While they were making important progress in their individual efforts, it was clear that an opportunity existed for greater collaboration to more rapidly advance their individual efforts," Green explained in a press release.
"The goal of ETEN is to mobilize the necessary leadership and financial resources across our alliance partners so that by 2033, every tribe and every nation in the world has access to God's Word in their heart language."


The Queen James Bible and ‘Homophobic’ Interpretations

In case you haven’t heard the news, there is a new edition of the King James Bible that rewrites eight key verses that speak against homosexual practice. It’s called the Queen James Bible (I kid you not), and the editors state that, “We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.”

Yes, you can now practice homosexuality and read your Bible without feeling condemned, although you still have to deal with the hundreds of verses affirming only heterosexual marriage and family (including one of the Ten Commandments that says, “Honor your father and mother” rather than, “Honor your father and father”).


Hospital staff marvels at ‘miracle’ mother

CROWN POINT | Stacy Martinez recently received a new gift of life that staff members at Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point are calling a miracle.

Martinez, 25, of Cedar Lake, had just undergone a Cesarean section, giving birth to twin girls, when she suddenly became unresponsive. Her heart had stopped. It was surmised she had suffered an amniotic embolism, which left her chances of survival at about 40 percent, at best.

A handful of Obstetrics Unit nursing staff members are among a larger group of nurses and physicians being credited for helping Martinez beat the odds, although they refuse to accept kudos, instead crediting “a higher power” and prayer for an outcome that “was very much a miracle.”


Christmas Food for Arab Christian Families in Israel

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Providing Holiday Assistance to 650 Needy Arab Families
JERUSALEM, Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is providing Christmas food vouchers to 650 needy Arab Christian families in Israel this week. Families will receive food for Christmas celebrations in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Shrar'am, Akko, Isfiya, and 15 other communities.

While The Fellowship aids needy families in all of Israel's sectors on an ongoing basis, it conducts additional special projects before the major religious holidays. Aid is given to Jewish families before the High Holy Days and Passover; to Muslim families before Ramadan; to Druze families before the Feast of the Sacrifice; and to Christian families before Christmas.

"During a period in which poverty in Israel is worsening, we continue to look out for those needing immediate assistance," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and CEO of The Fellowship. "In order to give hope and to assure a future for the country, we must strengthen and guarantee the welfare of the needy wherever they are. I hope that our contribution will help these families celebrate the holiday in dignity."

During 2012 The Fellowship donated more than $1.6 million projects in 60 Arab areas. The total cost of this special Christmas project is $59,000. The aid to needy families includes help with basic needs such as food, medicine, and transportation to medical appointments. The Fellowship also operates treatment centers for children and youth at risk in a number of Arab areas, and helps widows and single-mothers without an education to become self-sufficient in several Bedouin communities.

In recent years, the total amount of Fellowship contributions to the Arab sector has exceeded $16.8 million, including aid to the needy, aid to the elderly, care for children and youth-at-risk, prevention of drug use, and aid during times of emergency and tragedy.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews began in 1983 as an effort to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews. Today it is also a prominent force for helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide. The Fellowship is the world's largest channel of Christian support for Israel and the charity distributing the most aid in Israel annually. Led by its founder and CEO Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $110 million per year -- the large majority from Christians -- to assist Israel and the Jewish people through extensive aid programs. The Fellowship has raised more than $800 million for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto, and Seoul.

Christian Newswire

Santa Monica Live Nativity Flash Mob: Interviews with Pastor Steve Snook and Artistic Director Shawn King

Faith Organizations Launch National Campaign Called, 'Leave a Christmas Place Setting for Pastor Saeed'

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor Saeed Abedini is a Iranian born U. S. citizen who is being held in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.

The Washington, D.C. based Christian Defense Coalition and Faith and Action are asking Christians all across America to set an empty place setting for Pastor Saeed at their Christmas dinners.

The place setting will challenge the faith community to pray for Pastor Saeed and also to remember the thousands of Christians who are in prison and separated from their families at Christmas because they are being persecuted for their faith.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, states,

    "While Americans sit down with their families and friends to celebrate the joy of Christmas, there are thousands of Christians around the world who are imprisoned and persecuted for their faith like Pastor Abedini.

    "'Leave a Christmas Place Setting for Pastor Saeed,' will serve as clear witness to pray and remember all those who are are imprisoned and being brutalized around the world because of their Christian faith.

    "The empty place setting is a powerful graphic that fathers will not be with their children this Christmas. Mothers will be separated from their families and children will be apart from their brothers and sisters.

    "It is critical during this Special Season of the year, that the American church stands in solidarity with their brothers and sisters around who are being brutalized, tortured and imprisoned because of their faithful witness for Christ.

    "We must never forget their sacrifice and we must always remember their suffering."
Rev. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action, adds;
    "Remembering our imprisoned brothers and sisters, and all persecuted and oppressed Christians worldwide, is in keeping with the whole Christmas story. Jesus and his parents would flee persecution and become refugees. They went into hiding.

    "Jesus would later suffer imprisonment, torture, and death because of his obedience to God. Nothing could be more fitting for Christmas than to set a place for Pastor Saeed. Let us always remember."
For more information or interviews
call: Rev. Patrick Mahoney 540.538.4741

Christian Newswire

Thursday, December 20, 2012

University church planter aims to be accessible at Oregon State

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP) -- Church planting was not in Josh Howeth's plans. While his seminary peers were eager to jump into church planting, Howeth looked to a future serving and revitalizing existing churches. Only a couple of years into serving as worship and family pastor at Grant Avenue Baptist Church in Corvallis, Ore., those plans changed.

"Our leadership at Grant Avenue desired to reach the students on the Oregon State campus," Howeth said during a North American Mission Board commissioning service in conjunction with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina's 182nd annual meeting in November.

Church planting was "an area of ministry that just hadn't clicked yet" when some of Grant Avenue's leaders approached him with the vision to plant a church on the campus.

Initially resistant to the idea, Howeth and his wife Elizabeth committed to praying about the opportunity and, within the year, their hearts were changed.

"What started as the burden of our church and our convention for these college students slowly became the burden of our hearts too," Howeth said.


Texas Town Removes Christmas Banners

By Todd Starnes
The utility company in New Braunfels, Texas removed two giant ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ banners after they received complaints about the nature of the signs.

The banners are owned by the Knights of Columbus and were installed by New Braunfels Utilities several weeks ago. But a spokesperson for the company said it was a mistake and the signs have since been removed.

“Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the message, NBU is a municipal utility and cannot lawfully display a religious message,” said Gretchen Reuwer, the utility’s communications manager.
She said their policy does not allow any signs or banners promoting a specific religious message.
“While one message may be strong supported by many in the community, the next message may prove to be just as strongly offensive.”


Five Reasons Why Church Freedom Matters to You

It is a great irony that churches are being treated as public nuisances today in America. Anti-Christian groups have been working diligently to secularize America and erase its religious heritage. These groups have pressured government and courts to intrude into the affairs of churches.

Churches are being discriminated against by local governments. Pastors are even being censored.
It was not always this way. From the beginning, our Founding Fathers established our country on religious freedom. They believed religious freedom was so important they enshrined it in the U.S. Constitution.
Throughout our nation’s history, churches have been recognized as a great benefit to society and pastors have had the freedom to openly declare the truth about matters of moral and religious conviction.

Consider this one example of anti-Christian discrimination. In New York City, the school board has been trying for nearly two decades to block Bronx Household of Faith from meeting in an empty public school building during non-school hours. Other groups, however, are welcome to rent the same facilities.

This is a church that has fed the poor and needy, assisted in rehabilitating drug addicts and gang members, helped rebuild marriages and families, and generally provided services of great value free of charge to the community.

It seems like the government, embarrassed at its inability to solve the community’s problems, is lashing out at the one institution – the Church – that is actually doing something about them.


TobyMac Caps Off Career Year with Performance on ABC's Annual Christmas Day Parade

Five-time GRAMMY® winner TobyMac is capping off his whirlwind year with a performance on ABC’s 29th annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade. The newly GRAMMY® nominated artist will perform his Christmas song “Christmas This Year” while being featured along with performers including GRAMMY® Award-winning trio Lady Antebellum, international superstars Backstreet Boys, soulful pop songstress Colbie Caillat, CMA Award winner Brad Paisley and American Idol Season 11 champion Phillip Phillips. Hosts Nick Cannon and Mario Lopez, along with co-host Maria Menounos, will lead the two-hour telecast, which is scheduled to air on ABC on Christmas Day beginning at 9:00 AM CST (check local listings).

Latin Chamber Hands Out Bags Of Holiday Cheer

LITTLE HAVANA (CBSMiami) – Some people were in line for hours or even days, but no matter how long they waited, as long as they had a voucher, they received bags of holiday cheer Wednesday from the Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday was the Chambers’ annual holiday food basket giveaway in Little Havana. Just like previous years, hundreds of people camped out outside the CAMACOL building, located at 1401 West Flagler Street, in order to be some of the first to receive the free food.


NY Church Sponsoring Charity to Return Violent Video Games, Toys

A New York State church has opted to help raise funds for victims of shootings like the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut by having parents return violent video games and toys.

All Saints Church, a Roman Catholic parish in Syracuse, began the charity with the hope of curbing the influence of violent entertainment upon American children.

Father Fred Daley, priest at All Saints, told local media that he hoped that if parents began to return violent toys and stopped buying them, then companies would eventually stop selling them.

"We live in a nation that's seeped in violence and the reality is we teach our children violence with toys we give them and the television programs we show them," said Daley to WSYR News Channel 9.
"This is just one way that all of us can do something to move in a new direction. Instead of the status quo, business as usual, it doesn't have to be this way."

Kathy Meus, director of Faith Formation at All Saints, told The Christian Post that the idea for the charity came during a discussion about the Newtown tragedy between the masses held on Sunday.

New Bible Translation Outsells 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in Norway

A Norwegian translation of the Bible has dominated the Scandinavian country's list of top 15 best-selling books of the year, beating out competition like Fifty Shades of Grey and Justin Bieber's autobiography.

"The hottest read in Norway this year is packed with polygamy, prostitutes – even corporal punishment. But this isn't Fifty Shades of Grey; instead, Norwegians have been rushing to pick up copies of the Bible," the Guardian reports in a colorful introduction.

Published last October, the Norwegian Bible has been in the top 15 best sellers for 54 out of the last 56 weeks, with over 157,000 copies sold.

"It's always a very touchy issue, doing a new translation of the Bible," said Dag Smemo, project manager for publisher the Norwegian Bible Society. "People say they like it the way it is. But we had a very thorough procedure, involving authors and poets, secular people and believers, and discussing the whole translation word by word, so there is not only a good translation of the Greek and Hebrew but also a very good flow of the Norwegian language."

"People are saying that it's very good, and we are seeing this from both conservative groups and more secular groups. It's definitely not only Christians buying it. It's atheists too – people are saying the Bible is important for us, for our culture, and for the nation," Smemo added.

While previous translations of the Bible in Norwegian exist, Smemo said that the strength of the new translation is what has drawn readers in, both believers and the non-religious. Biblical scholars worked with Hebrew and Greek experts to translate the original text, which was perfected by A Death in the Family author Karl Ove Knausgaard. The project manager noted that the sales had far exceeded the Bible Society's expectations. Initial projections predicted the sales would be between 25,000-75,000, but 157,000 copies surpassed all hopes.

JMC Live Interviews: Kathi Macias Author of An Unexpected Christmas Hero

JMC Live Interviews: Kathi Macias Author of An Unexpected Christmas Hero

Help Willard get home! Click here!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JMC Live Shine Morrison Interview

JMC Live interviews recording artist Shine Morrison

2012 Top 10 List of Most Impactful Christian Charities Released By

Contact: Tim Barker, ROI Ministry Inc., 678-264-7587
ATLANTA, Dec. 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- When it comes to end-of-year charitable giving, the number one questions a donor usually ask is:  Where can my donation make the greatest impact in the lives of others?  To answer this, challenged exhaustive research, strategic givers and the largest Christian foundations in the world. After a reviewing nearly 1,000 causes, the donor advocacy group has produced a list of the 10 most impactful Christian charities with outcomes such as:
  • Water to extreme poor per month - .5¢ ea
  • Feed children and orphans per month - $2.30 ea
  • Discipleship - Person guided through reading the New Testament - $1.75 ea
  • New decision for Christ -  nearly half continue to regular church attendance  - $3 ea
  • Web based evangelism to closed nations, per decision - .65¢ ea
Typically, a non-profit's 990 forms are reviewed by donors to ascertain program verse overhead expense, however the biblical approach also requires evaluating "good lasting fruit" from gifts. Many of the Christian charities in the survey also responded with physical needs met per dollar, amount per meal, clean water, etc. Others emphasized the spiritual part of a person, as "this had to be included, because people are the only thing that last forever." This meant many trips to ministries and to the "ends of the earth" to see "fruit" and checks and balances used to track this. teams also tested the findings against what Jesus taught about giving. He "came to preach the good news to the poor" and his litmus test for followers is what we do for the "least of these." In finding these and defining how to be a good "neighbor," Jesus provided the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The beaten, left for dead, lacking clothes person that the religious leaders avoided in this Parable, is where ministries with the greatest fruit per dollar achieved overall. The most impactful Christian charities serve the "least of these" billion people at the "ends of the earth" who are currently only receiving 1/3 of one percent of all Christian giving today.

  1. You - Individuals have ability to increase giving impact substantially
  2. Jesus Film Harvest Partners
  3. Compassion International
  4. Legacy World Mission
  5. 410 Bridge
  6. Faith Comes By Hearing
  7. Global Media Outreach
  8. Gospel for Asia
  9. International Leadership Institute
  10. Equip
ROI Ministry has also partnered with the National Christina Foundation (NCF) to develop a website to give anonymously to the Top 10 Christian charities at

ROI Ministry, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization of market place believers and Christian leaders who desire to make the greatest Kingdom impact possible with their God-given resources. The organization does not charge fees and receives no compensation from ministries highlighted. One hundred percent of all giving goes to the ministry's specific program that achieves the greatest impact per dollar.  More information can be found at

Related links:
2012 Top 10 Most Impactful Christian Charities infographic --

Asperger's American Heritage Girl Serves Veterans

Contact: Jody Token, 513-771-2025
CINCINNATI, Ohio, Dec. 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- "Autistic people who struggle with speech and talking to people ... they don't talk to strangers and they certainly don't get up in front of the city council and present anything."
But that's exactly what 17 year-old Lydia Bishop did. And in front of more than one hundred people, Lydia presented her idea for a Veterans Day parade to honor her grandfather and other Veterans.

The city council approved her request. The Lake Dallas, Texas community enjoyed its first Veterans Day parade this fall.
Lydia was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome as a young girl, but has learned to overcome her fears in a faith-based extracurricular program called American Heritage Girls (AHG). With an emphasis on Christian values and family involvement, Lydia participates in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences.
AHG troop TX0191 leader, Ellen Samek described Lydia as a quiet girl when she joined AHG. "Three years ... she has come from not talking to anybody, to now making presentations. And that's what AHG has been and made a difference in her life and in ours," says Samek.

Lydia is earning her Stars and Stripes Award, the highest award earned in the AHG program. Lydia's story of overcoming autism and honoring Veterans has inspired girls in the AHG program.
AHG has experienced a 68 percent growth rate in new troops, according to the AHG membership department, and a 59 percent growth in overall membership in 2012.

"Families are seeking a confidence-building activity for their daughters," says Patti Garibay AHG founder and executive director. "AHG continues to resonate with families because it helps girls realize their God-given potential to become women of integrity."
Watch Lydia's inspiring story on YouTube's AHGchannel
American Heritage Girls is a faith-based character development program for all girls 5 - 18 years of age. AHG is dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. Founded in 1995 in Cincinnati, Ohio, AHG has grown from ten troops and 100 members to more than 22,000 members across four countries and 48 U.S. states. With emphasis on Christian values and family involvement, girls participate in badge programs, service projects, leadership opportunities and outdoor experiences.

Newly-completed Chechen Bible presented at peace conference

Chechnya (MNN) ― Chechnya has been at war for much of the last century.

It's a region familiar with the machinery of conflict, dating all the way back to the 15th century with an attempted invasion of the Ottoman Turks. The landlocked country is nestled in the Northern Caucasus and boasts fertile farmland as well as efficient transportation routes to neighboring countries, making it a prize to the nation that conquers it.

It was struggle inflamed by intense nationalism and ethnic hatred, and one that cycled again and again, quelling hopes of a new generation that would know peace. To that end, Bible translators began work on the message of peace, completing the first Scripture portions in 1986, and finishing others as recently as 2007.

Once those were completed, a New Testament was produced in 2007, and that lay the groundwork for the rest of the Bible being translated into Chechen. After a generation of faithful work, Wycliffe Associates reports that the Institute for Bible Translation (IBT) released a translation of the whole Bible in the Chechen language two months ago.

The Bible was presented at the Second Peacemaking conference, organized by the Public Chamber of the Chechen Republic, two Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, and local government.


The video game - desensitization link ... was it a factor?

An expert on the influence of violent video games believes such alleged "entertainment" may have played a role in last Friday's massacre of children and adults at a Connecticut school.

Adam Lanza killed 20 kindergartners at Sandy Hook Elementary School and six adults last week in Newtown, then turned his gun on himself. He was thought to have been a fan of warfare video games.
Al Menconi, a Southern California-based family advocate who lectures on the influence of media, believes there is significant relationship between violent gaming and aggressive behavior.

"When did you ever think that the most popular game is killing people?" he asks. "You can't point at video gaming and say video gaming made my child pull that trigger -- no, you can't ... and I'm not saying that.

"But I can say this, and research has backed me up: it has desensitized a whole generation of young people."

Menconi points to research that reveals a direct physiological occurrence during a first-person shooter game and the gamer.

"There's a little thrill that goes with the fact of killing -- and in fact, it hits the same mental synapse of the child as actual killing," he explains. "And after it is done over and over and over and over and over, that little rush needs a bigger rush. It's kind of like drugs."


Social media reverberates with Newtown tragedy comment

NASHVILLE (BP) -- As news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School spread Friday (Dec. 14), Southern Baptists active on social media began to offer their thoughts on the tragedy as well as their prayers for the people of Newtown, Ct., and messages of hope for all those impacted.

Immediately after news broke, many were left with questions about why such a place was targeted. Alvin Reid (@AlvinReid), a professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted, "Early report that 27 have been killed at an elementary school in CT. Reports unconfirmed, but an elementary school?"

Later, Reid and the North American Mission Board (@NAMB_SBC) sent out a prayer request for Bryan Sims (@SBC_pastor), who leads Southbury Baptist Church just north of Newtown.

Bryant Wright (@BryantWright), former SBC president and pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, tweeted that he was "sickened by another mass murder of children. So angry at the evil one for using empty misguided souls for such evil. Sad, praying 4 parents."

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's president, R. Albert Mohler Jr. (@AlbertMohler) expressed his immediate thoughts on Twitter. "It has happened again. Connecticut. Agony. Death. Children. Grief. Guns. Unfathomable. Horror. Evil. Murder. Heartbreak. Grace? Pray."

For Richard Ross (@richardaross), professor of student ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the murder of children demonstrated the need for cultural change. "They took canaries to old mines," Ross tweeted. "Toxic gas would kill little lungs and give adults time to escape. Children suffer most from toxic culture."

Terry Dorsett (@TerryDorsett), a NAMB church planting catalyst in Connecticut, reported what was happening in the area. "Prayer meetings are being held at several places around Newtown, CT, tonight. Proof that deep down inside, our nation still believes."