Thursday, February 28, 2013

Imprisoned Pastor's Wife: Nightmare is Not Over

Christian Science Teacher Fired Over Creationism to Head to Ohio Supreme Court

By Leonardo Blair , CP Contributor
February 26, 2013|4:54 pm

A 20-year Ohio middle school science teacher who was fired in 2011 for teaching creationism in his class will have his day in the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday when his lawyers will argue that his firing was a violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and religion.

"In oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court tomorrow, February 27, The Rutherford Institute will defend the right to academic freedom of a science teacher fired for encouraging students to think critically about the school's science curriculum, particularly as it relates to evolution theories," said the Rutherford Institute in a statement released in response to questions from The Christian Post on Tuesday.

READ MORE at the Christian Post

Louie Giglio's Anti-Slavery 'End It' Movement in Social Media Blackout

Pastor Louie Giglio and supporters of the global "End It" anti-slavery campaign are participating in a day-long social media blackout today in order to raise awareness for the 27 million people living as slaves.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christians Recruited to Battle Atheists on Facebook by Evangelist Ray Comfort

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 26, 2013|7:40 am

Evangelist Ray Comfort says he's deluged with so many questions and comments from atheists on his Facebook page that he's decided to recruit Christians to join the online conversation between hundreds if not thousands of people.

His Facebook page has become a battleground for atheists to square off with Christians in an exchange of comments responding to his provocative posts. It's not uncommon for a post on his social media site to have more than 1,000 responses.
"It suddenly dawned on me how Facebook is an incredible medium for the gospel. One of my posts was seen by 1.2 million people – many of whom are non-Christians," Comfort told The Christian Post via an email exchange. "Think of what it would cost and how much work it would take to have a Billy Graham-type crusade that reached 1.2 million people. But we can reach that many at no cost and with just a click of a keyboard button."

'One Million Men Porn Free' Pastor: You Forget About God, Family When Addicted to Porn

By Melissa Barnhart , CP Contributor
February 26, 2013|8:11 am

Pornography is an unspoken word in most congregations, but this powerful addiction is permeating Christian households, and is destroying marriages and parent-child relationships.

To combat the addiction to pornography, Pastor Jay Dennis of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., created his own program, "One Million Men Porn Free," because he wasn't able to find resource materials that he could use to defeat the devastating effects the lure of pornography had on members of his church.
"I led our church initially through this program in March and April of 2010," said Dennis, who leads a congregation of 9,000 members. "I met with our men for six Wednesday evening sessions, with the last session being the commitment rally. I also met with our women for one session and our parents for one session. The women's session was called 'What Men Wish Their Wives Knew About Pornography.' The parents' session was titled 'Protecting Your Child From Sexual Brokenness.'"

CBN Provides Aid to Thousands in Cambodia

La. Authorities Force Homeless Rescue Mission to Destroy $8K of Deer Meat

Workers at a rescue mission in Louisiana were forced by state health officials to destroy roughly $8,000 worth of deer meat because state law prevents the serving of venison in homeless shelters, according Fox News.
“The Dept. of Health and Hospitals ordered the staff at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to throw 1,600 pounds of donated venison in garbage bins — and then ordered then to douse the meat with Clorox — so other animals would not eat the meat,” the Fox report notes.

N. Korea's 'hatred of Christians' puts 70,000 believers in prison

SANTA ANA, Calif. (BP) -- Persecution of Christians in North Korea shows no sign of abating under the country's new leader, Kim Jong-Un, according to a report by the worldwide ministry Open Doors.

"The fanatical regime, which rules the destitute country of 24 million people with a proverbial iron fist, has a special hatred for Christians," Jerry Dykstra of the California-based Open Doors USA noted. "North Korea is in a league of its own when it comes to persecution of Christians."

Dykstra's and other reports parallel incidents in North Korea chronicled in the U.S. State Department's religious freedom assessments.

Of an estimated 200,000 prisoners in North Korea, 70,000 of them are Christians, Open Doors reported. For the 11th consecutive year, North Korea tops Open Doors' list of the worst countries for its brutal treatment of believers.


Discipleship: Starting With Who You Know

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jailed American Pastor Writes of ‘Horrific,’ ‘Unbearable’ Conditions in Iranian Prison

( – Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini wrote of what he called “horrific” and “unbearable” conditions in the Iranian prison where he is held after being convicted in January for being a Christian.
“They are trying to put me under such horrific pressures (that are sometimes unbearable) so that they can show me that my faith is empty and not real,” Saeed wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Saeed wrote that his Iranian jailors subjected him to “psychological warfare” and that one of his guards had “attacked me” while he was singing worship songs in his cell. He also wrote that “my body does not have the strength to walk” due to the conditions of his imprisonment.


Changes in Missions: Taking the Gospel to Each Ethnic Group

By Dr. Jerry Rankin
I can recall world maps distributed by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention posted on bulletin boards in churches. Countries were colored red where missionaries were serving, leaving the impression that that country was now being evangelized because there was a missionary presence. There was a display at mission headquarters that highlighted new fields entered each year.
Following World War II there was a vast expansion of new countries and nations colored on the map, but vast areas of the world were still white. Missionaries were restricted to countries that were open to a Christian witness, so that left many others untouched in the communist block of Eastern Europe and those predominantly Muslim. In order to reach the whole world, creative access strategies have emerged that are bringing down those barriers, but that is another topic.
Missionaries of my generation realized deploying a handful of personnel to a new nation was far from evangelizing populations numbering in the millions. But that carried the conviction that once the gospel was planted, believers and churches would eventually multiply to touch the whole country.


Friday, February 22, 2013

NY Pastor: All Creative People Struggle With 3 Things

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 17, 2013|9:57 am

There are three things that all creative people struggle with, says Pastor Sam Luce, who is the Utica Campus Pastor of Redeemer Church in Utica, N.Y.

Luce, who was the children's pastor for the past 14 years at Redeemer before becoming a campus pastor, wrote recently in his blog that his church began a Creative Community Night.
"It's a time where the creatives in our church can join in community and grow in relationship and in their various gifts," he writes. "The format is basically small groups based around relationship and skill development, followed by a creative service where we worship and receive from the Word, lastly we work on creating a flow for the weekend service."

World Vision: Teens More Aware of Causes Such as '30-Hr Famine' Through Social Media

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 19, 2013|5:29 am

The hunger relief organization World Vision begins its annual 30 Hour Famine (30HF) youth-orientated program to raise funds and awareness this weekend. The Christian-based group plans to leverage the source where most young people get their information nowadays – social media.

"When it comes to where teens are getting the majority of their information, they are on the peer-to-peer platforms so much that they are hearing about social justice and causes through Facebook and through Twitter much more than they are hearing from other sources, even their parents," Leah Swindon, national director of World Vision's 30HF, told The Christian Post.

China's Plan to Eradicate House Churches Sees Dramatic Increase in Persecution

February 19, 2013|12:07 pm

China's Christians felt a noticeable rise in persecution in 2012 as the Communist government began the first of a three-phase plan to eradicate unregistered house churches, a new report says.

Cases of persecution of Christians rose by about 42 percent last year compared with 2011, according to the report by human rights group China Aid. With the number of persecuted Christians rising by roughly 14 percent and detentions by nearly 12 percent, overall persecution was about 13 percent worse than in 2011 – though China Aid termed its statistics just "the tip of the iceberg."

'Bachelor' Star Defends Decision to Remain Celibate

By Jim Denison , Christian Post Columnist
February 21, 2013|5:25 am

Sean Lowe, star of ABC's The Bachelor, is making headlines this morning. The Dallas native has taken a vocal stance as a "born-again virgin" – he had sex while in college, but has now chosen to remain celibate until he is married.

His decision has drawn enormous criticism. For instance, former Bachelorette Jillian Harris asks, "How can you really know if you have met the person if you don't have sex with them?" She continues: "What happens if he doesn't meet the right person – he just won't have sex until he does? This is crazy, as it's a huge part of a healthy relationship."

Pastor Saeed Abedini Being Pressured to Deny Christ in Iranian Jail

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
February 22, 2013|9:58 am

Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American pastor serving an 8-year sentence in Tehran, Iran, is being pressured into converting back to Islam, but he has said that that will never happen.

"After all of these pressures, after all of the nails they have pressed against my hands and feet, they are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ," Abedini wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who is representing his wife and two children back in America.
The pastor, however, has said that "they will never get this from me," and expressed his gratitude to the over 260,000 people who have signed a petition calling for his release.

'Left Behind' M'Left Behind' Movie Poster Revealed; Tim LaHaye Weighs in on Script

If seeing is believing then the teaser poster released by Stoney Lake Entertainment for its "Left Behind" movie reboot should settle once and for all any doubts about actor Nicolas Cage taking on a role in the film based on the 16-part Christian book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
The movie poster, shared with The Christian Post by Stoney Lake Entertainment, the newly-founded production company behind the film, shows Cage dressed in a ragged suit and torn tie. Behind Cage, in the distance stands a downed passenger plane, its nose buried in debris and flames. Farther back is a cityscape, overshadowed by dark clouds and billows of smoke. It's difficult to tell for sure, but the poster shows Cage either standing on sand, or walking on water.

Stranded Cruise Passengers Turn to Faith

Carnival cruise ship Triumph might have fallen short of its name when a fire left the vessel lifeless in the Gulf of Mexico, but many passengers indeed triumphed over the foul conditions that ensued, thanks in part to an impromptu Bible study that brought them closer to each other and closer to God.
Joseph and Cecilia Alvarez were among the 400-plus passengers and crew who began the cruise on Feb. 7, with plans to return Monday, Feb. 11. But early that Sunday morning, Joseph smelled smoke from the couple’s room on the first floor.


Longest Married Couple for 2013 Honored at Ceremony by Worldwide Marriage Encounter

FAIRFIELD, Conn., Feb. 14, 2013/Christian Newswire/ -- John and Ann Betar, the national winners of the 2013 Longest Married Couple Project, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), were honored here this past weekend. The Betars are married over 80 years. 

Photo: L to R -- John & Ann Betar, 2013 WWME Longest Married Couple national winners, honored by Diane & Dick Baumbach, coordinators of LMC project, at granddaughters' home in Fairfield, CT this past weekend. 

"It was truly a wonderful experience to spend time with John & Ann this past weekend as we honored them for their long marriage," said Dick & Diane Baumbach, coordinators of the WWME Longest Married Couple Project, who noted that hundreds of nominations were received for this year's project. 

The Baumbachs presented the couple with three framed certificates, one from WWME, a second -- U.S. Congressional Recognition and third -- an Official Statement from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy honoring the Betars. Honors and personal gifts were to be presented by WWME U.S. Ecclesial Team, Ron & Judy Pekny and Fr. Rocky Grimard, but due to Storm Nemo -- the blizzard of 2013 -- and flight cancellations, they were not able to attend. 

The Peknys plan to have the gifts delivered to the Betars within the next few weeks. 

The Betars were married Nov. 25, 1932. John has been quoted as saying, "some people said it would never last. We showed them." The national winners have five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. 

The Connecticut couple achieved the honor of being the Longest Married Couple based on nominations submitted to Worldwide Marriage Encounter beginning in October of last year. The nomination project ended on January 10th. "We realize there could be couples married longer, but we did not receive their nominations from friends or family during the nominating period," the Baumbachs said. 

Worldwide Marriage Encounter created the project to highlight marriage in America and to show young couples that marriage really can go the distance. 

Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 44 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at facilities where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages. 

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online, go, or you can call 1-800-795-LOVE (English) and 1-800-599-AMOR (Spanish), or contact the WWME Office at (909) 863-9963.
Christian Newswire

Josh Turner: Overcoming Challenges To Fulfill His Calling

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Launches 'The Ultimate Mission'

New Curriculum to Help Children Grow in Their Faith, Reach Their Friends
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 21, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has launched their latest initiative aimed at helping children grow in their faith and share their beliefs with their friends and family. The Ultimate Mission, a 12-session Bible study developed for ages 6-10, was announced this week at the annual Children's Pastors Conference in San Diego, Calif. 

The Ultimate Mission introduces students to characters Jacob and Jordan, missionary kids who take the children through three books (each book containing four lessons) on the topics of God's Great Gift, Walking with God, and Sharing God's Gift. Through the study, the students will get an understanding of sin and redemption from a biblical perspective, learn from the examples of people who walked with God, and ultimately become equipped to share the Gospel of Jesus with others. 

"We're looking at basic discipleship. What does it look like to walk with God in a way that I might be asked about my relationship with Jesus Christ, and then will I be ready to give an answer?" said Chad Miller, BGEA's director of Children's & Youth Evangelism Training, who launched The Ultimate Mission at a product review with peers and children's pastors. 

"It's clear that 6-10 year olds -- unlike previous generations -- are being asked, and sometimes even harassed, about their faith, and we're ready to come alongside the churches to let these students know that they're not alone," Miller said. "We want to equip them to take a stand and give an answer whenever someone asks them about the hope they have." 

In addition to the curriculum materials, a website has been built to support both the students and the teachers. encourages kids and parents with additional Gospel presentations, follow-up materials and the specially-tailored children's version of "Steps to Peace with God." The teacher's resource area will offer additional tools to aid teachers in presenting the curriculum, including handouts and other materials that are developed as the content emerges and evolves. 

The Ultimate Mission will be available for pre-order at on March 1, and will ship by March 31. The curriculum is available for $69.95, which includes a teacher's guide, books for five students, and a package of "Steps to Peace with God" tracts specially designed to help children share their faith with their friends. Books for additional students are available for $9.99 per student. 

Note to Media: Download additional materials -- including a high-resolution version of The Ultimate Mission logo -- at 

About the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available, including: large-scale festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; The Billy Graham Library; The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, located outside of Asheville, N.C.;, an Internet evangelism project reaching thousands of people for Christ online; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. For more information, please visit Get news updates on Twitter
Christian Newswire

ongue Cancer Survivor Sings With Half His Tongue and NAILS His Audition!

Tongue Cancer Survivor Sings With Half His Tongue and NAILS His Audition! from alegator21 on GodTube.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

GameChanger Summit Calls on Leaders to Stand in the Gap for the Fatherless

By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
February 13, 2013|5:46 am
The GameChanger Coaches Leadership Summit, scheduled to take place in Dallas next week, will draw together dynamic speakers and leaders from the world of sports to encourage attendees to stand in the gap to help impact "a fatherless generation."
Influential figures like Tim Tebow, Joe Ehrmann, Gabrielle Douglas, Glenn Beck, Nick Vujicic and Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church are among more than a dozen speakers lined up for the Feb. 18 event organized by the Texas High School Coaches Education Foundation (THSCEF).
Although the GameChanger summit is tailored for coaches, anyone in leadership and athletics is invited to attend.
D.W. Rutledge, executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association and board member of the THSCEF, explained to The Christian Post that the theme of "Impacting a Fatherless Generation" was chosen because organizers feel that much of today's social issues "can be traced back to fatherless homes."

Valentine's Day: Interview With 'The Single Woman' on Embracing Relationship Status

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 14, 2013|7:56 am

Mandy Hale, who is affectionately known as "The Single Woman," chatted with The Christian Post on the eve of Valentine's Day about using singlehood as an advantage during the holiday traditionally celebrated in romantic ways by couples. Hale is one of several speakers featured at a Christian-based event for single women in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday hosted by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Hale suggests that singles having a hard time with the celebration of romance on this day can cherish other types of love in their life, including relationships with parents, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
For singles, the holiday should not be "this horrible day that you need to 'cope with' or 'survive,'" she writes in her interview with CP via email.

Jaci Velasquez and True Love Waits

Ahmadinejad denies Christianity and Judaism exist

By Michael Ireland

TEHRAN, IRAN  -- Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is well-known for his denial of The Holocaust.

Now, in a speech during the Women and Islamic Awakening Summit held in Milad Tower in Tehran, Ahmadinjead has claimed that God has never sent any religion into the world called Christianity or Judaism, “But He appointed the prophet of Islam, Mohammad, as the prophet for all mankind, from Buddhists to Christians and Jews.” 

According to Mohabat News, , Iranian domestic media has reported that during his speech Ahmadinejad addressed the necessity of edification of the world and awakening of people and said, "All the great prophets have come to edify the world."


Report: Woman Drank Herself To Death With 2-Gallon-A-Day Coca-Cola Habit

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Medical examiners determined that a woman passed away due to complications caused by her extreme addiction to drinking Coca-Cola.
The woman, 30-year-old Natasha Harris of Invercargill in New Zealand, was said to have consumed an estimated 2.2 gallons of the soda per day, the Discovery Channel’s news website is reporting.


To stay healthy, make marriage happy

U. MISSOURI (US) — Couples who are happily married are both mentally and physically healthier than their widowed or divorced peers, research shows.

The study finds that in all stages of marriage, positive or negative relationships affect health.
Married people are less likely to develop chronic conditions than people who are widowed or divorced—and aging people with failing health could particularly benefit from improving their marriage.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mainstream Christian Music

Church members worship after devastating fire

The first song the Childress Memorial Church of God in Christ sang together as a congregation Sunday, less than two days after a fire left its church a charred shell, was indicative of its spirit — hopeful.
“Over my circumstance, given me another chance, you reign,” they sang, hands raised and heads held high.
The congregation was displaced from their building at 901 North Pine St. to the Convention Center after a fire destroyed the church and almost everything in it. The Bible passages, songs and sermon Sunday encouraged church members to press on, even though their home of nearly 50 years is gone.
“Yes, we've gone through a tragedy, but Childress is not over,” said Bishop Samuel Edward Iglehart. “I just got news all the way from heaven that God says he's still with us. He still has our back.”

Leaving Lesbianism

God-honoring faith and government seemed to have parted ways. Whenever a law contradicts God’s law, as believers we need to stand on His truth. This won’t make Christians popular, but Jesus already warned us about popularity contests. He also told us to love one another and leave changing hearts up to him.

During my lonely freshman year of college I met Jan. She had a way of finding the humor in just about everything. We shared thoughts about life and our distant future, wondering where our lofty goals would take us. Gradually she revealed to me that she was a lesbian. Our friendship was never about sexual orientation—it was about two young women on a small campus who didn’t have a clue what the future held.
On a whim one evening, we went to a Christian crusade held at a campus across town. A dynamic speaker told us that Jesus wanted us just the way we were, but loved us so much he didn’t want us to stay that way. Jan went forward and wanted Jesus—not really knowing how He could change someone like her.

This isn’t one of those stories where a confused soul sees the errors of her way, seeks God’s forgiveness and discovers that she wasn’t really a lesbian after all. For the next decade Jan struggled with her personal identity and the identity she knew she had in Christ. The two weren’t the same.


Quarter of a Million Military BibleSticks Deployed

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2013
Contact: Bill Lohr (505) 881-3321

Quarter of a Million Military BibleSticks Deployed

Albuquerque, N.M. – Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) initiated their military outreach about five years ago at the request of a handful of active duty Marines and chaplains serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Needing a deployment-friendly version of the ministry’s standard BibleStick, military members advised FCBH engineers of the needed specs and the result was the creation of the Military BibleStick.  Today, Faith Comes By Hearing is honored to announce they have shipped – free of charge – more than 250,000 units to chaplains serving every branch of the military for distribution to troops in pre-deployment briefings, counseling sessions, Bible studies, weekly chapels and upon direct request of service members.
More than 1,200 chaplains have participated in the project, with regular requests for more BibleSticks coming in every week.  The small, portable, digital audio devices are so popular that the ministry is currently working to fill a backlog of requests for over 20,000 additional units.
FCBH raises funds for this project from a number of sources, which includes individual donors and on-air campaigns with Christian radio and TV stations.  However, the single largest funding source has come from churches across the country that have partnered to generously support America’s troops with God’s Word in audio.  More than 7,000 churches – across 120 denominations – have presented this project to their congregations, with many participating a second and third time.
The ministry’s church outreach currently is to raise funds for 12,000 additional BibleSticks by Easter in recognition of our troops twelfth year of deployment since 9/11. 
“We continue to be amazed at both the number of requests from chaplains and the outpouring of support from grateful citizens wanting to do their part to provide our military heroes with the kind of peace and spiritual guidance that only comes from the pure Word of God,” states Troy Carl.
Carl is a vice-president at Faith Comes By Hearing and oversees the Military BibleStick project.  He also has a personal perspective as the father of a West Point graduate who recently spent two years deployed.
“It’s very encouraging to see so many hard-working people financially supporting this outreach,” says Carl.  “But more importantly, these are strong, patriotic Americans who get on their knees every day and pray for our sons and daughters who are in harm’s way.”
The package a soldier receives includes the BibleStick, ear buds, and a triple-A battery.  There is also a pre-paid postcard they can return and the ministry will send Audio Bibles on MP3 discs to their spouse and children back home. 
# # #

Dr. Benjamin Carson's Amazing Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast with Obama

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lecrae, Matt Redman among 2013 Grammy Winners

Reagan Symposium Tackles Once-Taboo Topics

VBB and VOM combine connections to 'sneak' Bibles into enemy territory

International (MNN) ― Ministries are teaming up to bring God's Word into a Muslim-dominated country with a history of persecuting Christians.
If it sounds dangerous, that's because it is.
"Pastors and evangelists are killed regularly in this country. Christians are persecuted. Sometimes Christian girls are forced to marry Muslim men," says Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders (VBB).
He doesn't disclose the nation's name because terrorist acts are a daily occurrence, and religious persecution is rampant. Christ-followers comprise only about 2% of the population in this country, or roughly 3 million people.


10 Reflections on a Decade of Church Consulting

By Chuck Lawless
I love the local church. It’s God’s church, despite its flaws. For ten years, I’ve had the privilege of consulting with churches seeking to grow. Here are my reflections of those years – one reflection for each year.
If you’re a pastor in a struggling church, be sure to read to the end.  I think you’ll find hope there.
  1. Churches often wait too long to address decline. Some churches don’t do regular checkups, and thus they have no means of knowing they’re sick. Others recognize the symptoms but choose to ignore them. By the time they admit decline, the pattern is so entrenched that reversing the trend is not easy.
  2. Statistics really are helpful. I realize that numbers can become an idol—and that we must fight against—but numbers do tell us something. Most often, they tell us to ask more “why” questions. Why has the church declined in attendance for five years? Why did the church reach 50 people last year, but attendance grew by only fifteen? Why has worship attendance in the second service plateaued?

How Can Short-Term Missions Best Advance God's Mission?

Author Brian Howell says we should start with a robust reconciliation theology.

It's a relatively common sight at the airport: the conclusion of a short-term mission trip. A dozen suburban teenagers wearing matching yellow T-shirts talk about two weeks of manual labor at an orphanage and share iPhone photos of their trip to the jungle. Wheaton College anthropologist Brian M. Howell has puzzled over this phenomenon. Is it about service, tourism, personal pilgrimage, or something else completely? Are short-term missions even missions at all? Freelance writer Jeff Haanen spoke with Howell, author of Short-term Mission: An Ethnography of Christian Travel Narrative and Experience (IVP Academic), about how Christians justify short-term mission trips, the problem with these stories, and how churches can do short-term missions better.
As an anthropologist, why write a book on short-term missions?
When I started teaching in the 1990s, I asked students about their cross-cultural experiences. Some hadn't done anything, or some maybe had taken a cruise. But when I came to Wheaton College and asked the same questions, I would get stories about northern Ghana, Mongolia, the Czech Republic—places people don't normally go on vacation. Short-term missions had exploded, and all these students had gone on short-term mission trips.

ACLU Seeks Removal of Ohio School's Jesus Portrait

By DAN SEWELL Associated Press

A portrait of Jesus that hangs prominently in an entranceway at a rural Ohio public school is in violation of the U.S. Constitution and should be removed, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday says.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the large portrait at Jackson Middle School unconstitutionally promotes religion. The two groups seek a court order requiring the school to remove the portrait and prohibiting its re-hanging or any substantially similar display in the future.


Granddaughters of Westboro Baptist Church founder quit church, apologize for ‘hurt’

For all of her adult life and much of her childhood, Megan Phelps-Roper picketed funerals, condemned gays, and said she earnestly believed that most Americans were destined for hell.
But on Wednesday, the 27-year-old granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps publicly said goodbye to all that.
“We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people,” Megan and her sister Grace wrote in a statement announcing their split from the church. “Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren’t so, and regret that hurt.”
The Westboro Baptist Church may be the most controversial religious group in the country. By some accounts, it’s not a religious group at all -- the Southern Poverty Law Center has called it “the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” and a White House petition urging the government to label it as such earned more than 330,000 signatures in January.


Friday, February 8, 2013

23rd Annual Worldwide Weekend of Prayer for the Addicted

CLEARWATER, Fla., Feb. 6, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The weekend of April 6 - 7, 2013 has been designated as the 23rd Annual "Just Pray NO!" to drugs Worldwide Weekend of Prayer and Fasting. Since April 7th, 1991 "Just Pray NO!" has united millions of Christians from 150 nations and territories around the world in intercessory prayer on behalf of the addicted and their families.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

Not only is substance abuse America's number one health problem, the devastation of alcoholism and other drug addiction has impacted families and communities worldwide. Substance abuse has been directly linked to violence and sexual immorality and is a major source of income for organized crime and terrorist activities.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Make a formal commitment to join with believers in Christ from around the globe this coming April. Put on the full armor of God and fervently pray in spirit and in truth. We are seeking to enlist millions of prayer warriors from around the world to join us in battle!

We are not only praying for the release of those bound by substance abuse but also for people to be delivered from pornography, gambling, obesity and smoking.

We are seeking individuals and groups which are willing to commit to pray weekly on behalf of the addicted and their families, and then join with multitudes of other committed Christians from around the world in prayer and fasting during the weekend of April 6 - 7, 2013.

If you believe that God is calling you to intercede for the addicted please contact us.

To find help for addiction through prayer and Christian ministries log on to our web site: To learn how groups can participate in our annual prayer event, click on "Information on the Annual Worldwide Weekend of Prayer" or email:

View our "Pray No to Drug Overdose Video" and share this link with your friends:

For a personal interview with "Just Pray NO!" Founder and Author Steven L. Sherman, in the U.S.A. call: (727) 647-6467 or email:

Christian Newswire

Open Doors USA Launches New 5-5-5 Challenge

Campaign Promotes Prayer and Support for Christians Suffering in World Watch List Countries
SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Open Doors USA has launched a campaign to pray and support persecuted Christians called the "5-5-5 Challenge."

Each year Open Doors releases the World Watch List, a ranking of the top 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea has held the No. 1 spot for 11 years in a row. Other countries following North Korea on the 2013 list are Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Maldives, Mali, Iran, Yemen and Eritrea.

The 5-5-5 Challenge is a three part campaign. The first part is a challenge to set aside five minutes (or more) a week to pray for the country of the week on the World Watch List website. While some of the countries on the list are frequently in the news, such as North Korea and Syria, there are some that are rarely noticed. Those include such countries as Maldives and Eritrea. This portion of the challenge was created so Christians in every country on the World Watch List are covered with prayer.

The second part of the challenge is to share the challenge with five friends on various social networks and to encourage them to get involved in the 5-5-5 Challenge. The final part of the challenge is to give $5 a month (or more) to support persecuted Christians around the world.

Here is how the campaign works:
  • Users sign up on the website at

  • Each week they will receive an email with the featured country from the World Watch List

  • Users click through the email to visit the detail page of the website where they can pray (write a comment) and share the page on social media

  • On social media, Open Doors focuses on the featured country during the week, sending people back to the detail page of the World Watch List website

  • There is also a place on the website to give $5 or more.
Open Doors USA Interim President/CEO Steve Ridgway states: "People love a challenge and Open Doors USA is offering a very unique challenge. We are asking you to pray, communicate and give. The first is a challenge of time, the second involves informing others about our persecuted brothers and sisters and the third is a sacrifice of your resources. Will you join us? Will you dare to engage and step into the lives of faithful Christians who live in hostile places? Will you risk by being one with them?"

The World Watch List website offers numerous resources for the 5-5-5 Challenge for both individuals and churches. Some of the resources include sermons, bulletin inserts, infographics, pictures, videos and testimonies. All of the resources can be downloaded at

For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles and Christian literature, training Christian leaders, facilitating social/economic projects and uniting believers in the West in prayer for Christians, who are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at

(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Open Doors USA Media Relations Director Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email

Christian Newswire

Thursday, February 7, 2013

National College Ministry Warns 'Bang With Friends' via Facebook Evilest App Ever

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 7, 2013|9:37 am

A national school campus ministry group is warning college students and other young people about a new social media app that facilitates sexual encounters between Facebook friends who are anonymously interested in having sex. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA is calling "Bang With Friends" the evilest app ever.

"InterVarsity cares about college students and about living out biblical truth – this app is not healthy for students or consistent with Christian ethics," Adam Jeske, the organization's associate director of communications, told The Christian Post via email. "Don't go anywhere near this app! And that's not just for college students, but advice I give to myself and to my friends – what real good can come from something that explicitly exists to help us secretly connect and have sex?"

God’s Word: Who’s on fire about it - and who’s not?

he results are in. After surveying and analyzing the 96 most populous cities in America, The Barna Group unleashed which ones are the most Bible-minded and the ones that have the least regard for things biblical.
The trend? As might be expected, cities in the South typically tended to be hotter for the Bible, while the New England region tended to be the coldest.
Commissioned by the American Bible Society, the Barna study's results reflect societal Bible trends, such as residents' weekly Bible reading, their view of the accuracy of the Bible and the way they engage, accept and esteem Scripture.


True Love Waits returns to where it began 20 years ago

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 | by Sharayah Colter

NASHVILLE (BP) -- True Love Waits morphed from a nameless concept in coffee break conversations into a movement that, beginning in February 1993, steadily spread to teenagers across the country.

That month, 53 youth at Tulip Grove Baptist Church committed themselves to sexual abstinence before marriage.

In the 20 years since, millions of teenagers have followed suit, bringing abstinence to the national conversation and strengthening innumerable marriages before they ever began.

The grassroots movement calling teenagers to make commitments of purity celebrated its local-church anniversary with a True Love Waits-themed Disciple Now weekend Feb. 1-3 at the Nashville-area church where the first group of Tulip Grove students made a True Love Waits pledge.


Matt Moore, the World Does Not Define Us

by Dan Navin
An Offensive Faith
Matt Moore is a Christian blogger who openly acknowledges his struggle with same sex attraction. He has written extensively of a past spent pursuing sex with other men, drinking, and drugs. He became convinced of the sinfulness of his lifestyle in 2010 and became a follower of Christ. Matt has blogged extensively about Christianity and the sinfulness of practicing homosexuality. You can learn more of Matt by visiting his blog at He also appears on The Christian Post.
On February 5th, news articles began appearing which told of Matt’s picture and profile on an app called Grindr. According to its website, this app allows users to locate nearby “gay, bi, and curious guys for dating or friends”. One of the prominent uses of Grindr is to facilitate “hook ups” by listing users in order of their proximity to each other.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pastor Apologizes For Writing 'I Give God 10%' On Receipt

 The St. Louis pastor who caused a stir after writing "I Give God 10% why do you get 18" on her receipt, instead of leaving a tip, has apologized for writing the note.

Pastor Alois Bell told The Smoking Gun that she was embarrassed about the whole brouhaha. The note was "a lapse in judgment that has been blown out of proportion," Bell told the blog, adding that she left a smaller tip in cash on the table.

Read More at Huffington Post

Forgiveness Gives a Second Chance

National Marriage Week Tackles Poverty, Christian Divorce Rate, and Intimacy Problem

By Leonardo Blair , CP Contributor
February 6, 2013|4:55 am

Take your pick. Whether you are looking for ideas for a date night, Valentine's Day or a bigger solution to preserving your marriage this year, National Marriage Week USA, celebrated on February 7-14 annually, will help you find much more than a rose and a box of chocolate for your troubles.

Touting the financial, health and social benefits of marriage in a video at, executive director of the organization Sheila Weber noted that married adults lead longer lives, have greater personal happiness, and better health. "…Marriage is really the unsung anti-poverty program because single motherhood is the greatest source of impoverishment for both women and children," said Weber in the video.

Monday, February 4, 2013

AMAZING VIDEO: Malala Yousufzai, Teen Girl Shot in Head by Taliban, Speaks on Video for First Time

Malala Yousufzai amazed doctors in her recovery after being shot in the head last year by the Taliban for speaking out for the rights of girls to get an education. The 15-year-old has undergone a series of surgeries and walked a painful path to recovery, but in brand new video, the brave young female speaks out about her cause and the state of her health.
“Today, you can see that I’m alive. I can see you, I can see everyone,” Malala said in the message, spoken in clear English. “And I’m getting better day by day.”


Spokane church holds Super Bowl party for homeless

Author: Kylee Cruz, KXLY4 Reporter,
Published On: Feb 03 2013 06:52:51 PM PST  Updated On: Feb 04 2013 11:05:17 AM PST 
SPOKANE, Wash. - As millions of people watched the Super Bowl at home, one Spokane church helped to make the game extra special for those in the community who don't have place to watch the game.
On Sunday afternoon, First Covenant Church in downtown Spokane held a special Super Bowl party for the homeless.
"It's a good chance to come and get off the streets for a few hours you know to watch a ball game," Becky Harvey said.


How One Woman's Birthday Kindness Sparked a Movement

Gina Meeks 

On the surface, The Birthday Project doesn’t look like a typical ministry, nor does its founder describe it as one. But Robyn Bomar says God has used it to reach people who may not have ordinarily given it a chance.
“It’s not one of those things that says Jesus all over it, but it absolutely has Jesus all over it,” says Bomar, who sparked this growing movement almost three years ago. “I’ve seen a lot of people’s lives touched through it, and I really believe it is absolutely divinely appointed.”

Slain nurse's family forgives her murderer

Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

God Made a Farmer

Friday, February 1, 2013

University of Michigan Kicks Christian Club Off Campus

The University of Michigan is accused of kicking an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter off campus because the group requires its leaders to be Christians -- an apparent violation of the university's nondiscrimination policy, reports Todd Starnes.


Children Are Watching

VA study finds more veterans committing suicide

Every day about 22 veterans in the United States kill themselves, a rate that is about 20 percent higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2007 estimate, according to a two-year study by a VA researcher.
The VA study indicates that more than two-thirds of the veterans who commit suicide are 50 or older, suggesting that the increase in veterans’ suicides is not primarily driven by those returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


My Perspective on Bullying

By Nick Vujicic , Special to CP
February 1, 2013|7:10 am

Throughout my life I've seen that bullying is real and part of the dark side of human nature. Bullying has been with us as long as sin has existed.

Jesus Himself was a victim of constant bullying from His enemies. When the high priest questioned Jesus before His crucifixion, a temple official slapped Jesus in the face for daring to speak the truth. Jesus did not back down from these religious persecutors. Instead, He demanded to know why the official had lashed out.

Christian Group Launches Social Media Campaign Against Sex Trade During Super Bowl

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
February 1, 2013|6:47 am

A Christian advocacy group against the commercial sex trade and human trafficking has launched a social media campaign to coincide with the millions of people who will be interacting online during this Sunday's Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Gallup: 61% of Small Business ‘Worried’ Over Healthcare Costs -- 30% Not Hiring, Fear Going Out of Business

“At the bottom of the list, but still at a surprisingly high level, 30% of owners say they are not hiring because they are worried they may no longer be in business in 12 months,” according to Gallup’s index summary. “This is up from 24% who had the same worry in January 2012.”