Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Arlington church honors 80 couples married at least 50 years

ARLINGTON -- Through health problems, job changes, home relocations, financial struggles and other family crises they battled, side by side, day by day, until the years turned into decades and the decades reached a half-century or longer.
On Sunday evening, First Baptist Church of Arlington honored 80 couples who have been married a combined 4,600 years. About 20 more couples with at least 50 years of marriage were unable to attend.
The celebration, called Influence 50-plus, was organized to emphasize the value of committed matrimony to younger congregants and to share some of the couples' keys to staying married for life. The church held smaller events in 1997 and 2006.


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20,000 Churches Band Together to Invite America Back to Church

Melanie Korb 

This September, around 20,000 churches will reach out to 10 million unchurched Americans for National Back to Church Sunday.
According to a recent article in The Washington Times, having an active spiritual life is one of the best ways to be happier and live longer. The Times article reported that those who attend church regularly tend to live an average of 35 percent longer than those who do not.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Freed Pastors Story One of Faith and Determination

The story of one pastor's 21 months in jail is one of perseverance and divine intervention. CBN News has learned new information about what led to the release of an imprisoned Iraqi pastor known as Pastor Jamal. He's free now thanks in part to a bold step taken by a U.S. Ministry and a U.S. Lawmaker.
Terry Law, Founder and President of World Compassion Terry Law Ministries of Tulsa, Oklahoma spoke to CBN News about how he and a U.S. Senator, with God's help, gained this pastor's freedom.
Law said Pastor Jamal had received treatment for a brain tumor before his imprisonment, but he continued to suffer headaches in prison. That led Law to make a personal visit to northern Iraq with a letter from U.S. Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., asking for Jamal's release. The Senator had sent it prior to Law's trip but Iraqi official never saw it.

Suffering Servants

For at least a decade, the evangelical world knew of a woman who went simply by "Joni." Sixteen years after the diving accident that left her paralyzed, however, she married a high-school teacher, becoming Joni Eareckson Tada. As she faced a breast-cancer diagnosis and chronic pain on top of quadriplegia, her husband of over 30 years, Ken Tada, battled depression. Joni spoke with Sarah Pulliam Bailey, managing editor of Odyssey Networks, about the Tadas' book, Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story (Zondervan), which details how the "in sickness" part of Ken and Joni's vows has remained crucial in their marriage.
In the book, you write that "marriage only magnifies suffering." What do you mean by that?
Any marriage is going to have problems, but when you throw in a disability, it's like enlarging the problems tenfold. Disability forces problems to the surface. Suffering squeezes you like a lemon, and what comes out might be pretty bitter.
Marriage is a matter of making a sacrificial commitment. God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his own son because God wanted Abraham to see what real commitment looked like. I think that's why God tests us in marriage. Christians often imagine they have a solid marriage, but when our love is put to the test, our commitment becomes real. We're faced with the question, Am I going to love this man or woman for better or for worse? I don't know that our challenges are greater than they are for another couple. The sacrifices might be greater. But with sacrifice comes a great reward of a deepened faith and trust in each other.

Study: What Leadership Quality Is Most Important to Christians?

By Jeff Schapiro , Christian Post Reporter
April 20, 2013|11:39 am

A new study has found that Christian adults primarily believe integrity, not "passion for God," is the most important quality in a leader.

The study, conducted by Ventura, Calif.-based Barna Group, found that 64 percent of Christians believe integrity to be one of the most important leadership qualities, while other important traits include authenticity (40 percent), discipline (38 percent) and "passion for God" (31 percent). Among evangelicals, however, the percentage of those who believe passion for God is an important leadership quality is significantly higher (83 percent).


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Prayer Key to Boston's Recovery

Running shoes with messages of hope written on the rubber soles dangle from a rod-iron fence that serves as a makeshift memorial site near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. This scene at the intersection of Newbury Street and Dartmouth Street is symbolic of the perseverance many Boston residents feel as they seek to overcome last week’s tragic bombings.
Yet, as horrific images of devastation continue to circulate on the Internet and social media sites, survivors and area residents acknowledge there is a long road of recovery, both physically and emotionally. Two successive explosions left three people dead and injured nearly 200.
Experts maintain the terrorist attack has forever shaped the identity of the marathon as well as the city of Boston. In response to the tragic event, care and comfort is coming from a variety of sources.
K-9 Comfort Dogs
Furry canine helpers were in Massachusetts to bring emotional comfort to Bostonians. Chicago-based Lutheran Church Charities deployed K-9 Comfort Dogs Ruthie, Luther and Isaiah, three dogs who help survivors affected by calamity like the Boston bombings. Addie and Maggie later joined that team after helping survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December.
“When people pet the dogs it gives them a chance to relax and process what is going on,” said Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities. “Emotions were all over the place. We were there to share the mercy and compassion of Christ with people through the dogs.”


Religious Attendance Can Lower Risk of Depression

Depression was the third-most frequent disease in the world in 2004, and will be the most common disease globally by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Now there's good news: A new study has found that regular attendance at religious services offers "significant protection" against this terrible disease.
The April edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry carries the report: Incidence of clinical depression was 22 percent lower among those who attended religious services at least monthly, compared with those who never attended. While researchers did not differentiate between faiths, about 80 percent of worshippers in the study would have been from Christian denominations.


8th Grader Allegedly Arrested for NRA Shirt at School

'The Bible' Movie: Producer Rob Burnett Eyeing Fall Release For Miniseries Adaptation

Anyone who prefers their Old Testament a little larger, Obama-esque Satan and all, can ready themselves for a big-screen adaptation of the History Channel's runaway hit miniseries "The Bible."
The 10-hour series, which concluded March 31, will be transformed into a three-hour movie, executive producer Mark Burnett told The Hollywood Reporter during NBCUniversal's summer press event on Monday.
"We're cutting a movie version right now, a three-hour version of Jesus, and [we have] many, many offers from theaters globally," Burnett reportedly said, adding that the movie adaptation will largely focus on the resurrection story.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

From the Streets to the Pinnacle of Academia: Once Homeless, He Now has a Ph.D

Shelter founder tells his story in new book 'A Sheltered Life.'
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., April 18, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The man who founded and runs New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter was once homeless himself.

However, in 2006, Joy Junction Founder and CEO Jeremy Reynalds completed an earned doctorate in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles.

The British-born Reynalds shares his fascinating story in his newest book, "A Sheltered Life."

It tells that how after coming to America from Britain at age 20 (where he had lived a very "sheltered" life), Reynalds became homeless through unfortunate circumstances, then went on to found one of one of the Southwest's largest homeless shelters.

Reynalds reminds readers that even relatively affluent people can sometimes be just a few steps away from homelessness, and that everyone needs to have compassion on all homeless people regardless of their status.

"Homelessness is a tragedy," Reynalds said. "Most times when driving through downtown Albuquerque, I see a parade of people pushing shopping carts or toting what looks like backbreaking backpacks. Each of us is responsible to do whatever we can to help the needy."

In addition to Reynalds' story, "A Sheltered Life" also tells the stories of a number of individuals assisted by Joy Junction.

With no government funding, Joy Junction shelters as many as 300 people each night, and with meals served on its mobile feeding unit "The Lifeline of Hope," serves more than 16,000 meals a month.

To learn more about Joy Junction go to www.joyjunction.org

"A Sheltered Life" is available at major online retailers, including Barnes and Noble at www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sheltered-life-jeremy-reynalds/1115109261?ean=9781449790202&itm=1&usri=9781449790202

It is also available at www.givingtons.com/search?q=reynalds&submit

Givington's is a new online retailer with a simple premise. Its website reads, "Offer the products you are already going to buy at the price you would pay across the web and give to the cause of YOUR CHOICE with every purchase. Up to 50 percent of the profit from each sale goes to a non-profit cause you choose."

Christian Newswire

Police Officer Sings I Can Only Imagine at Funeral of Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

Police Officer Sings I Can Only Imagine at Funeral of Officer Killed in the Line of Duty from untilweflyaway on GodTube.

Simon Cowell Made Fun of This Gospel Singer And Then Was Blown Away

Simon Cowell Made Fun of This Gospel Singer And Then Was Blown Away from believe836 on GodTube

Boston Churches Respond to Boston Marathon Bombing

BOSTON, April 16, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Churches in Boston are responding to provide support for victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing through a website called BostonMarathonSamaritans.org. The website is set up as a partnership of TechMission, the Emmanuel Gospel Center and the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston who partner with hundreds of churches in the Boston area.

The goal of the site is to enable Boston's church community to connect with and offer help to victims. The site enables people to people to post availability of housing, meal delivery and other needs. One professional counselor has already offered to donate free trauma counseling.

Andrew Sears, Executive Director of TechMission, explained his motivation for setting up the site: "As a father of two young boys, I went to bed crying last night about the pain that the Richard family and others must be feeling. In the morning I cried again as I was reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan helping someone who had been beaten up and left for dead, and I thought 'That is what Christians should be doing right now.' So within a few hours, we had a website up and partnerships with church networks across Boston to help the victims."

One of the main goals of the site is to help churches provide the long-term care needed for the families that were victimized by the Boston Marathon Bombing.

TechMission is a Christian nonprofit organization that runs ChristianVolunteering.org as well as a national AmeriCorps program. For more information, visit www.techmission.org, www.BostonMarathonSamaritans.org and www.ChristianVolunteering.org.

Christian Newswire

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Faith Leaders Reflect on Margaret Thatcher's Legacy

How Social Media Helped Boston Emergency Efforts

The Most Inspirational Stories Out of Boston

Acts of Heroism Follow Boston Marathon Bombings

North Korea: How to Pray for Kim Jong-Un and Nameless Christians

By Jan Vermeer , CP Guest Contributor
April 17, 2013|1:31 pm

After researching North Korea for many years and talking to North Koreans and North Korea watchers, I've noticed that the North Korean government has two mouths. One speaks to the outside world; the other to their own people. There are remarkable differences in what they say. For example, while the North Korean government keeps issuing threats to the international community, the North Korean population is now being motivated for the farming campaign. Apparently the war drills are over.

Also, the regime repeatedly tells the people the economic problems will soon be over, but the leaders never deliver. The North Korean people are disappointed again and again. In fact, because North Korea has not lived up to its promises in the past 20 years, the love for "Big Brother" has extinguished. A large majority of the North Korean adults don't believe in the lies anymore.


10 Ways to Pray for Boston Marathon Bombing Tragedy

By Ron Hutchcraft , CP Guest Contributor
April 17, 2013|2:30 pm

Virtually every official or news anchor who reports on the Boston Marathon tragedy asks us to pray. Scripture asks, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Then it answers with this incredibly reassuring reality: "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne" (Psalm 11:3-4). Prayer allows us to go to that Throne from which the galaxies are governed and focus all the resources of a loving God on the people and pain of Boston. As we focus on what the Bible reveals of who God is, we will know how to pray powerfully, effectively and decisively.

Ten Ways to Pray...
• God of all comfort and all peace, pour out that comfort and peace on the wounded, the grieving and all our anxious hearts (2 Corinthians 1:3).
• God who heals us, bring healing to every victim.
"I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26).


Tweeting the Gospel: Internet Evangelism Day is April 21

This Sunday April 21st is Internet Evangelism Day and April is Digital Outreach Month. One of the ways you may participate is by sharing the Gospel on Twitter and Facebook.
When the Acts 29 Network held the Gospel Tweeting Contest in 2009, participants attempted to explain the gospel in 140 characters or less.
The 95 entries showed how the Gospel could be shared with just a few words.
Here are some of the entries:
22. Jesus lived the life we couldn't live and died the death we should have died. Anyone who repents and believes in Jesus will be saved
39. God created, man corrupted, Christ redeems, reigns, and will come again.
51. God made man perfect, but man failed God and sinned. So God sent his Son to die for those sins and pay the debt we could never pay.
62. Jesus Saves Sinners. He takes our sin and we get His righteousness. We are now to follow Him and teach others what He teaches us.
82. Knowing our need, God became a man, seeking to die and rise again to save us from ourselves and give us new life to His glory.


21 Ways to Share the Gospel

By Greg Stier , Christian Post Guest Columnist
April 16, 2013|9:38 am

1. Take someone to church with you, go to lunch afterward and ask them how they felt about the sermon (then dive in!)
2. Write someone a letter that gently segues to the gospel. Ask them what they thought about the letter later.
3. Invite neighbors to your home Bible study and love them into the kingdom.
4. Give someone a Life in 6 Words book and follow it up with a conversation.
5. Give someone a Life Book and follow it up with a conversation.



CBS Ends Blackout on Gosnell Trial, Spotlights How 'Firestorm' Went 'Viral'; ABC, NBC Still Out to Lunch

Hobby Lobby Raises Full-Time Minimum Wage to $14

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a privately held retail chain with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 45 states, announced Monday a minimum-wage increase to $14 per hour for full-time hourly employees of Hobby Lobby and its affiliate, Hemispheres, effective immediately. The company also announced a minimum wage increase for all part-time employees to $9.50 per hour.
This is the fifth year in a row that the company has raised wages for full-time hourly employees, who earned a minimum of $13 per hour in 2012. It's the fourth year in a row for the company to increase the minimum wage for its part-time hourly employees, up from a minimum of $9 in 2012.


Friday, April 12, 2013

‘Ex-Muslim’ preaches the Gospel

When Hazem Farraj was 15, he became a Christian. But as a Palestinian Muslim living in east Jerusalem, he couldn’t tell anyone, especially his father.

“For almost three years I was an underground believer,” Farraj told The Media Line during a visit to Jerusalem. “I would go to the local mosque and to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and pray Islamically, but in my heart I was praying to Jesus.”

Today Farraj, 27, is very public. He lives in California and hosts Reflections, a Christian TV show in English and Arabic. He is grateful for everything in his life, he says, but he has also made sacrifices for his faith.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Christian Counselor: Depression Demands Living by Faith, Not by Sight

By Melissa Barnhart , CP Contributor
April 11, 2013|12:01 pm

Edward Welch, a licensed neuropsychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation in Philadelphia, Pa., provides counseling that is based on Scripture to help patients who are suffering from depression.

For people who've never suffered from depression, Welch describes it as being a chronic physical pain and an eternal presence that seems as though it's never going to change.
Welch told The Christian Post that the experience of depression is the absence of all things that are good. "Think of all of the blessings from the Lord: weather, rain, food and fellowship," he said. "The absence of anything good would be hell; and people use metaphors for hell to describe depression."


American Family Association Condemns Army Presentation Labeling Evangelicals, Catholics as 'Extremist'

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
April 11, 2013|12:15 pm

The American Family Association, a conservative nonprofit, has responded to the U.S. Army labeling evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as "extremist," by saying that the issue all comes down to views on homosexuality.

"This categorization is incorrect and unfounded. We do not hate any person or group of people; we love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth about the consequences of homosexual behavior," Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, said in a statement.


Pastor Saeed Abedini Given Ultimatum: 'Deny Christ or Face Longer Prison Time'

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
April 11, 2013|12:45 pm

Iranian authorities have posed U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini with an ultimatum to deny Christ, or spend more time in prison.

"Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your 8 year sentence is finished," the authorities said, according to a letter by Abedini  that was recently obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice.


3 Christian Responses to Mental Illness; Which One Is Most Biblical?

By Frank Viola , CP Guest Contributor
April 11, 2013|6:15 am

This post is a P.S. to my article on Monday entitled Rick Warren's Horrific Tragedy & The Sickening Response of Some "Christians", which has become my most viewed blog post since I started the blog in 2008.

Throughout my years of being involved in various and sundry Christian movements and denominations, it seems that Christians understand mental disorders in one of three chief ways:
1. Mental illness is demonic in origin. So the antidote is to cast out the demons that are causing it.
2. Mental illness is psychobabble. There's no such thing as a "mental disorder." All so-called mental illnesses are just sinful behaviors. So the antidote is for person to repent and get right with God.
3. Mental illness is a physiological disorder. The brain is a physical organ just like the heart, the thyroid, the joints, etc. Thus if someone has panic attacks or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or chronic depression or ADHD, they have a chemical imbalance in the brain, not dissimilar to a hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure or arthritis.
I cut my teeth on a movement that promoted #1. I've met many people who believed #2. But I believe #3 is often the case.
Yet it's not so simple.
The problem, I feel, is that confusion over this issue seems to be rooted in the fact we don't properly understand the integration of body, soul, and spirit.

READ MORE AT Frank Viola CP Blog 

A life saved through a song

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kurt Warner: 'It's Never Too Late to Realize Your Dream'

Christian Leaders Appalled at Hurtful Responses to Rick Warren's Family Tragedy

By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
April 10, 2013|9:00 am

Well-known Pastor Rick Warren's personal tragedy of losing his son Matthew as the result of suicide last Friday has not only garnered sympathy and condolences from around the world, but also online vitriol from his detractors. Perhaps most disturbing to Warren and many in the Christian community is that some of the attacks have come from people professing to be Christians, as well.

Warren posted through Facebook and Twitter: "Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest. Your notes sustained us."

Read More at the Christian Post

Church helps apartment fire victims

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Persecuted: Christians in a World of Trouble

David Platt's Secret Church Gathering to Discuss 'Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World'

By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
March 28, 2013|10:13 am
Bestselling author and Christian minister David Platt will be teaching on the end times in the upcoming Secret Church meeting that expects to virtually gather anywhere from 50,000-60,000 Christians in over 50 countries in a six-hour simulcast scheduled for Good Friday, March 29.
The theme of the upcoming Secret Church global gathering is "Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World," and will have Platt speak to the confusion, fear and hope among Christians and non-Christians who may be unsure of what the Bible says about the afterlife. The Birmingham, Ala., preacher argues, however, that what is most important is what the Bible's eschatology, or end-times teaching, says about the Christian's life and purpose in the here and now.


32,000 Christians at the National Day of Prayer and Worship Commit to Helping Reach Children with the Gospel

By Peter Wooding
Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service
LONDON, ENGLAND  -- Over 32,000 Christians who gathered at the National Day of Prayer and Worship (NDOP) at Wembley Stadium on September 29, representing a combination of different church denominations, other church affiliations and independent churches, committed themselves to work with Samaritan's Purse and with churches overseas, to reach children across the globe with the Gospel.

32,000 Christians at the National Day of Prayer and Worship Commit to Helping Reach Children with the Gospel

Born for this: autistic child becomes missionary to Japan

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 | by Maria Elena Baseler

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay (BP) -- Steven Kunkel's nickname appears at the top of his Facebook page:


Sugoi (pronounced sue-GOY) means "awesome" in Japanese.

"Sugoi is my catchphrase," Steven explains, "so sometimes my friends call me 'Sugoisteve.'"

But from Steven's perspective, the "sugoi" part isn't about him. It's about God.

"I always want to give God the glory for what He has done in my life," he says.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Saudi Arabia declares destruction of all churches in region

Saudi Arabia (MNN) ― Earlier this month news reports surfaced out of Saudi Arabia that raised the red flag for Christians.

Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says, "The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia--the top Islamic official in the country of Saudi Arabia--has declared that it is "necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.'" Nettleton goes on to note that the report hasn't surfaced anywhere except on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site, which was then picked up by The Atlantic.


'One State Under God' License Plate a Growing Success in Texas

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
March 28, 2013|5:45 pm

A Christian-themed specialized plate in Texas approved in 2011 has sold hundreds of copies, resulting in about $60,000 for the state's General Revenue Fund.

The Calvary Hill license plate created by a charity group called Glory Gang has sold over 560 plates, generating money for both the Texas government and the nonprofit.
The plate, which features the phrase "One State Under God," is distributed by My Plates, a Texas-based company that was given a contract by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to create and sell specialized plates.

Mississippi Aims to Become America's First Abortion-Free State

By Leonardo Blair , CP Contributor
March 28, 2013|5:54 pm

Mississippi, America's poorest, fattest and most religious state, is aiming to set yet another record in U.S. history – to become the nation's first abortion-free state.

And the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America says his organization is working hard to make it happen.
In a press statement on Thursday, Benham noted that Mississippi currently has a strong desire to become the first abortion-free state in America and "authorities" were moving to shut down the state's only abortion center in Jackson run by Planned Parenthood. Details of the move are expected to be revealed at a press conference in Hattiesburg on Friday evening.
"Mississippians have done everything possible to eliminate the horror of abortion from their state. From the Governor, through the Congress, to the Health Department, the electorate has sounded a clear trumpet call to end abortion in the state of Mississippi," noted Benham in the statement.
The church in Mississippi, he said, had answered the call to rid the state of abortion by keeping tabs on the activities of Planned Parenthood which has benefitted from significant federal funding to keep operating in the state.

Secretary of State John Kerry Wants to See Saeed Freed

USA (MNN) ― After weeks of pressure, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling for the release of an Iranian-American minister from a Tehran prison: a welcome step for advocates who had accused the State Department of being "AWOL" on the case.
"I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs," Kerry said in a prepared statement.
He continued, "I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire."


Sex as Spiritual Warfare: Texas Pastor Says God's Purposes for Marriage Attacked by Satan

By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
March 29, 2013|12:42 pm
Pastor Blake Wilson is known for his Bible-based curriculum on sex, having shared his message on godly intimacy for years with NBA teams and churches across the country. The Houston, Texas, pastor of Crossover Bible Fellowship recently spoke with The Christian Post about his upcoming "Sex and the Gospel" conference  and why he believes Satan is just as interested in the bedroom as God.
According to Wilson, whose nondenominational church is home to 700-800 members and has a strong youth presence, most people are unaware that sexuality is really an issue of warfare. As he explained, the devil knows that God's primary purpose for marriage is procreation, to "raise up godly offspring." He believes Satan is shown to have been attacking the purpose of marriage since the biblical account in Genesis 3 that tells of a serpent successfully tempting Adam and Eve to disobey God. As a result, said Wilson, man has been living by his own sexual agenda instead of by God's biblical blueprint, with disastrous results.