Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Historic Dodger Stadium Event to Celebrate 'LIFE'

Lincoln Brewster, Justin Fatica, Eduardo Verastegui, Archbishop Jose Gomez to bring Variety, Excitement to Family Event -- LIFE Celebration Scheduled for Sunday, November 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- A major event is taking shape that could turn the most burning moral issue of our time into a catalyst for unity and transformation.
LIFEsocal, a charitable organization founded by L.A.-area students and families, is throwing a huge party for young people of all faith and ethnic backgrounds in one of the great sports venues of America - Dodger Stadium. Dubbed "go2bat4LIFE," this high-powered open air event promises to be an explosive and enjoyable musical celebration aimed at strengthening young people in their pro-life convictions.
"How can we not want to stand up and defend helpless babies?" asks Serena Lessard, a junior at St. Monica Academy in Pasadena. "Teens have so much energy, and I'm excited to see kids from all over the city come together and channel that energy into this great cause."
Students and administrators from an enormous variety of schools and churches around southern California are getting on board with the event. From North Coast Calvary in Carlsbad to JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano to St. Matthias in Downey, to Country Church in Chula Vista to Brookins Community A.M.E. and Centro Sagrada Familia Churches in Los Angeles, this event appears to have touched a nerve.
"It's our young people who are going to make a difference and change the culture," explained Carol Golbranson, co-founder of LIFEsocal. "Our teenagers know that life is beautiful, and they want to celebrate it. We've been inspired by the good work of many pro-life groups, and our hope to motivate young people to become involved in pro-life ministries of their choice."
A high-powered lineup of celebrities and church and community leaders will be appearing at the event, including Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, actor Mauricio Kuri (For Greater Glory), who is traveling up with his parents from Mexico City, Christian musical sensation Lincoln Brewster, actor Eduardo Verastegui (For Greater Glory, Bella), and many others. The popular Christian reggae band Christafari will also perform, and dynamic international evangelist Justin Fatica will deliver an intensely dramatic message about abortion and healing that the young attendees of all backgrounds will not soon forget.
Popular Baptist Pastor Walter Hoye II will emcee the event and professional athletes and other surprise guests will further inspire a crowd already enlivened by baseball-themed games, zipline, obstacle courses, carnival rides, and some of the best food trucks in L.A. A number of teenagers will share stories about their unplanned pregnancies, the choices they made, and how their lives were impacted.
"We've been having so much fun at the events our group has already sponsored," remarked Will Boles, a freshman at UCLA and founding member of LIFEsocal. "We want to continue that energy and continue spreading the word to people - especially young people, like me - that being pro-life is not only fun but normal. go2bat4LIFE at Dodger Stadium will be awesome!"
Check-in begins at 11:30am and the event will take place from 1:00-4:30 pm, beginning with an energetic one-mile walk around the perimeter of Dodger Stadium. The cost to attend the event is $10 per person; 10 & under are FREE. The carnival rides and baseball-themed games will be offered in exchange for game tickets. Game tickets will cost $1.00 each, or 30 tickets for $20.00. Proceeds from the game ticket sales will benefit local pregnancy help centers and other pro-LIFE ministries.
For more information visit the event's official website, www.go2bat4life.com, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/LIFEsocal, or call LIFEsocal at            (626) 755-7323      . An exciting call-to-action, go2bat4LIFE is a big vision and a reason to rejoice. REGISTER ONLINE NOW at go2bat4life.com/event-registration. LIFEsocal encourages churches and faith organizations to bring their entire memberships.
Christian Newswire

Religious Freedom Rallies to Sweep America from Coast to Coast October 20

Citizens Refuse to Be Mislead Joe Biden's Falsehoods about the HHS Mandate
CHICAGO, Oct. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- During last week's debate, Vice President Joe Biden denied that the Obama administration's HHS Mandate will require religious employers to provide contraceptives through their health plans -- an outright falsehood that was quickly denounced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been fighting the Mandate since it was announced earlier this year. Organizers of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, being held at sites across the country on Saturday, October 20, say Biden's remarks show just how urgently this kind of grassroots opposition to the HHS Mandate is needed. 

These "Stand Up for Religious Freedom" rallies will take place in over 140 cities coast to coast, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. The nationwide campaign is being sponsored by the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition. A complete list of rally locations is available at StandUpRally.com. 

Tens of thousands of citizens are expected to take part in these peaceful, non-partisan demonstrations at local federal buildings, court houses, Congressional offices, city parks, and churches, and include religious and community leaders. In March and June of this year, over 300 Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies took place, drawing over 125,000 participants. 

The HHS Mandate was implemented in August under a provision of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that empowers the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to mandate that certain preventive services be provided free of copays in employer health plans. Under the HHS Mandate, all employers, even religious institutions, are now required to offer free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. 

"I was stunned when I heard Vice President Biden claim that religious institutions like Catholic Charities don't have to provide contraceptive coverage in their health plans," said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and one of the co-directors of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies. "I don't know whether the vice president was outright lying or if he really doesn't understand the HHS Mandate, but the fact is that employers are being forced to violate their consciences -- and the doctrines of their faith -- by providing contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans. At Saturday's rallies, we will be calling on the American people to vote for candidates committed to overturning the HHS Mandate and restoring religious liberty in America." 

"Inexpensive contraception is already widely available in this country," said Monica Miller, executive director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and also a co-director of the October 20 event. "There was no need to force religious employers to provide it in their health plans -- but apparently the Obama administration does see a need to deny that's what's happening. They know that Americans cherish their religious freedoms, and Biden's false statements in last week's debate show they're worried how this controversy will impact the election. They should be." 

Rally organizers are available for media interviews, nationally or in specific markets. To make arrangements, contact Tom Ciesielka at TC Public Relations,            312-422-1333       or tc@tcpr.net. 

Contact Monica M. Miller:             248-444-9096      , mmmillerlife@gmail.com 

Contact Eric J. Scheidler:             773-251-8792      , eric@prolifeaction.org 

About Citizens for a Pro-Life Society
Citizens for a Pro-Life Society is an activist organization, founded on Catholic principles of morality and social justice, dedicated to advocacy of the sanctity of human life, especially protection of the right to life of unborn children. They organize public demonstrations, educational programs, literature distribution, and conferences, and offer mothers in crisis pregnancy material and spiritual aid. For more information, go to www.prolifesociety.com. 

About the Pro-Life Action League
The Pro-Life Action League was founded by Joe Scheidler in 1980 with the aim of saving babies from abortion through direct action. Not content to await a political or judicial solution to abortion, the League seeks to stop the killing of unborn children right now through all available peaceful means, including public protest, sidewalk counseling, education, youth outreach, and national leadership. Learn more at ProLifeAction.org.
Christian Newswire

40,000 Church Leaders Expected to Attend The Nines Online Event

DALLAS, Oct. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Over 40,000 pastors and church leaders from around the world are expected to attend The Nines conference sponsored by Dallas-based Leadership Network on October 25-26, 2012. This free online event is one of the largest online gatherings of church leaders in the world. 

With today's fast-changing church and cultural environment, pastors and church leaders are forced to deal with some very difficult issues that are many times hard to discuss with colleagues and peers. These "too hot to handle" subjects are the theme of this year's event. 

Over one hundred great communicators will each have five minutes to deal with these topics in a concise and biblical manner. Some of this year's topics include "Elder Boards from Hell," "How the Church Should Deal with Homosexuality," "How to Deal with a Rogue Staff Member," and "How to Deal with Senior Leadership Transitions." Speakers at this year's event include Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle; Pastor Craig Groeschel from LifeChurch.tv; author and speaker Francis Chan; and Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. 

"Leadership Network is excited to support the local church and assist churches with implementing their ideas to have a greater impact in their community," said Todd Rhoades, Producer of The Nines. "The Nines allows church leaders all over the world to gain new insight that can help them greatly enhance their ministries and outreach programs." 

This year's conference will also feature live segments from Manchester, UK, where Leadership Network is launching new programs to assist churches across Europe with their ministry programs. 

Registration is now available by visiting www.thenines.tv. There is no cost to register. Since the event is totally online, a computer, tablet, or smart phone is all that is needed to attend this event. A complete list of speakers and topics can be seen at www.thenines.tv. 

Leadership Network is a non-profit organization that helps churches move "from ideas to implementation to impact." You can find out more about them atwww.leadnet.org.
Christian Newswire

American Leprosy Missions Partners with the IXIST Tour to Rid the World of Leprosy

NASHVILLE, Oct. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- American Leprosy Missions and the IXIST Tour are honored to announce a partnership for the upcoming 2013 tour. The tour hopes to recruit attendees to serve as a channel of Christ's love to persons affected by leprosy and related diseases, helping them to be healed in body and spirit, and restored to lives of dignity and hope. 

Founded by missionaries in 1906, American Leprosy Missions (www.leprosy.org) is a global organization dedicated to serving Christ by healing people and communities devastated by leprosy. American Leprosy Missions is the oldest and largest non-profit organization in the U.S. working to cure and care for people with leprosy and Buruli ulcer. 

Every two minutes, someone is diagnosed with leprosy. Often believed to have been eradicated, leprosy, also known as Hansen's Disease, still occurs in more than 100 countries worldwide. The good news is that leprosy is curable! 

Leprosy Statistics:
  • 130 countries reported cases of leprosy in 2011.

  • 3 to 4 million people have disabilities as a result of leprosy.

  • Nearly 250,000 new cases are diagnosed every year, and many more go undetected.

  • Approximately 10% of all new cases are in children.

  • 17 countries in Africa, Asia and South America accounted for 95% of all new cases of leprosy in 2011.
With unparalleled expertise, American Leprosy Missions' world-renowned experts, including award-winning doctors and consultants to the World Health Organization (WHO), focus on empowerment: re-weaving marginalized people into their community, healing them physically, and restoring dignity and hope. 

IXIST is more than a concert tour. It is a ministry campaign dedicated to helping people share their testimony. Each night, one local market testimonial will be chosen and posted from an ongoing international YouTube campaign, created to inspire others to share their story and consider the work that God is doing through their lives. 

Coming in Winter 2013, the IXIST TOUR will kick off in late February, routing across the U.S. through March and then on to Africa, where the tour will travel to six countries. The tour will include IXIST Media Sessions featuring on-site interviews at each location; afternoon IXIST In-Stores in select cities, and, of course, the IXIST Concert each night. The tour features the Xist Music roster of leading Urban Christian artists & their ministries, anchored by the Billboard and SoundScan best-selling artists The Ambassador and Sean Simmonds. Supporting artists for the tour include Yaves, D-MAUB, UK based artist Jahaziel, and Nate "NF" Feuerstein. 

Three of the faith-based market's leading companies have joined together to for IXIST Tour: urban music label Xist Music, the formidable artist & booking agency Elite Talent Agency, and top Christian media & events group, FrontGate Media. The tour comes as Christian hip-hop and urban music is exploding, evidenced most recently by a Billboard charting milestone: TobyMac's "Eye On It" debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.Christian Newswire

Pastor plans to run in Columbus Marathon to raise money for church repairs

LANCASTER -- Keeping Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church up and running can be a struggle say church leaders.
"We are always looking for help to keep it running," said Allen Chapel pastor Evan Saunders. "Right now we need windows repaired and replaced and new siding on the church."

Since running it falls to Saunders, he has decided to take it to the next step, or at least the next 26.2 miles in the Columbus Marathon.

"Its a way to raise money for the restoration and maintenance of the church," Saunders said.
It started as an idea from Saunders' wife, Susan.

"He had just completed a 5K race for the Circle of Friends," Susan said.
They were trying to come up with ideas and found out that he could run for the church in the upcoming Columbus Marathon, on Oct. 21.

"They kind of volunteered me," said Saunders. "There's a big difference between a 5K race and at 26.2 Marathon. I'll be lucky to complete it. But any money raised will go directly into the church repairs."

Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 221 E. Walnut St., was one of the first black churches in Fairfield County and has been in operation since 1869. It stands prominently on the hill between South Pearl Street and High Street across from South School.

The original church was started in 1814 when a settler named Emmanuel Carpenter donated land between Pearl Avenue and High Street to a group of black Baptists. They built a log cabin church in center of what now is Walnut Street.


Eight Terrible Church Visits

When I led a church consultation company, one of the more common facets of my consultation was an on-site visit to a worship service. The person I hired to conduct the visit could know nothing about the church. Ideally this "mystery guest" would be an unchurched person, so that he or she could give an honest assessment from the perspective of someone who knows little about churches.

I requested that the mystery guest evaluate different areas of the visit, but I was always most interested in the overall score. They submitted a score of one to seven. The lowest score meant that the visit was terrible, and they would not return under any circumstances. I recently retrieved some of these "one" reports. Inevitably there was one event that took place that made the visit so bad. Let me share eight of those events in eight different terrible church visits.

 1. "I was asked to introduce myself in the worship service. There were probably 150 or so present, so all the members knew I was a guest. I had no choice but to speak up and tell them something about me. I felt so uncomfortable standing up and speaking to everyone present."

2. "I had to walk fifty yards in the rain. There was no guest parking. No one offered me an umbrella. Apparently the members got there early so they could get the best parking spaces in the inclement weather."

3. "The preschool area was dirty and not secure. I took my two-year old with me, but I would not leave her in the church's preschool area. You could tell they didn't care about the cleanliness and the safety needs of little children. So I took my child to the worship service. That proved to be another headache."

4. "Everyone talked in code. I had no idea what the preacher and the members were talking about. What in the heck is a WMU? What is a time of intercessory prayer? I figured out the responsive reading thing when I saw people reading from their hymnals."


10 Things First-Time Church Visitors Don't Want to Hear

A pastor in charge of community building and small groups feels it's so important for churches to make a good impression on first-time church visitors from the moment they walk onto a church campus that he's come up with a list of 10 statements that just might do the opposite and turn churchgoers away.Pastor Ben Reed of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Tennessee told The Christian Post that a church can run people off if its greeters and the rest of the congregation are not careful about the words they use.

"I think that we forget a lot of times that the worship experience starts in the parking lot, not when we pastors step on the stage," Reed said. "We can put so much effort and time into crafting just that perfect worship service and it doesn't matter if we miss out" by the church's guest services giving the wrong impressions, he explained.

"If we don't really think critically about how we are going to minister to the first-time guest then we are going to miss it," he said.

One of the items on his "10 Statements Church Visitors Never Want to Hear" list is "What's your address? I didn't catch it on the first 6 forms I had you fill out."

"The Gospel is the greatest message in the history of the world, but it doesn't have a chance if the moment somebody walks in the door and if somehow, someway we convince them to fill out a visitors form and then later in the service we ask them to fill out another one, and when they pick up their kids we ask them to fill out another one," Reed said. "They just might throw up their hands and say, 'I don't care what your gospel is, forget it.'"

Billion Dollar Challenge Set for Launch During dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium

National Initiative Website Goes Live on October 19th -- With Sun Life Financial as First Corporate Sponsor
SOMERSET, N.J., Oct. 16, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. today announced that The Billion Dollar Challenge website will be launched during the opening night of the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium on October 19th, 2012 at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG), located at 771 Somerset Street, Somerset, NJ. 

The Billion Dollar Challenge is a national initiative whose goal is to lead families to pay down one billion dollars in consumer debt. The Challenge emerged out of the dfree® financial strategy, which was first introduced to a nationwide audience in the special airing of CNN's documentary Almighty Debt and featured its author, Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Senior Pastor of FBCLG. 

"According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, American consumers are carrying $11.44 trillion of debt not including mortgages. Although this debt is actually decreasing, high levels of consumer debt still plague the country; furthermore it is a threat to family stability, mental health and financial security. Millions of people are drowning in debt and looking for relief," said Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Senior Pastor of FBCLG, and an independent director of Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. "The Billion Dollar Challenge is being offered as a motivational strategy and online tool to create a new culture of personal financial responsibility," he added. 

As part of the two-year anniversary celebration of the CNN special feature, "Almighty Debt," the new website for The Billion Dollar Challenge will be unveiled during a Friday night presentation at the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium -- a free, two day event that will celebrate the progress that many churches and groups from across the United States have made helping their members attain financial security. 

Dr. Soaries will also recognize Sun Life Financial, a provider of employee benefits, which was the first partner and sponsor for dfree®. Sun Life Financial has supported the expansion of the dfree® strategy to reduce financial stress in the workplace. 

"Sun Life is honored to partner with dfree® to show how leveraging employee benefits opportunities can help U.S. workers maintain a sustainable path toward financial security and help meet The Billion Dollar Challenge to reduce consumer debt ," said Wes Thompson, president of Sun Life Financial, USA. 

The Billion Dollar Challenge contributors and sponsors include:
  • Sun Life Financial, first corporate sponsor of The Billion Dollar Challenge;

  • Black Enterprise, national media partner for The Billion Dollar Challenge

  • HomeFree -- USA;

  • New Jersey Black Issues Conference;

  • Hill Harper, award-winning actor and author;

  • Tisha Campbell-Martin, actress;

  • Cappie Pondexter, WNBA All-Star & CEO OF 4 Season of Style Management; and

  • Dr. Randel Pinkett, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, and Winner of NBC's "The Apprentice."
"By joining The Billion Dollar Challenge, not only is a person taking a concrete step towards their own personal financial freedom, but they're joining with thousands of people around the country moving towards the achievement of our Billion Dollar Challenge," noted Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. "This tool is unique in that regard -- there is nothing elsewhere like it." 

Established in 2005, dfree® is a national economic empowerment movement involving individuals, churches, student groups, community organizations and credit unions. With a grassroots approach that mobilizes people to use existing resources for managing and using money, the dfree® strategy is delivered through education, celebration and support. 

For more information about The Billion Dollar Challenge, visitwww.billiondollarpaydown.com. 

About the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium:
October 2012 marks the two-year anniversary of the screening of CNN's Almighty Debt: Black in America documentary which featured First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Rev. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., and dfree®. This symposium has been created to show the progress that we've made since the screening of to highlight the churches, organizations and individuals who have chosen to join the dfree® movement and most importantly, to give those who haven't heard about dfree® an opportunity to learn how it can help them to achieve FINANCIAL FREEDOM & ECONOMIC EXCELLENCE! 

About First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens:
Founded in 1937, First Baptist of Lincoln Gardens is a vibrant community-focused, multi-cultural and historical African-American church rooted in Baptist doctrine and is located in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, NJ. The church's motto is "Faith in Action." First Baptist bears witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ for spiritual, educational, economic and community transformation. In October 2010 CNN featured First Baptist in the two-hour documentary "Almighty Debt." For more information on the church and its ministries, visit www.fbcsomerset.com.
Christian Newswire