Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Preaching in Moore: Faith That Stands Up to the Storm Read more:

Churches across Moore, Okla., have transformed into disaster relief centers this week — the area is, after all, about as Bible Belt as America gets. The city website lists over 80 churches, and nearly a third are Baptist. Church after church has turned sanctuary into donation drop-off site, and lobby into insurance filing center or food bank. This Sunday, pastors are offering another type of assistance, one intended to feed the soul: preaching.
Pastor Ted Miller of Crossroads Church has led his 1,500-member church for only one year, and this is his first time pastoring a community though a tragedy of such magnitude. While none of his immediate church members lost their lives, all have walked through the valley of the shadow of death this week. Many families had children at Plaza Towers Elementary and faced the traumatic reality of little ones missing. Thirty-two families in his congregation suffered total or significant property loss.
Miller’s main Sunday message is to remind parishioners that the tornado’s May 20 destruction was not God’s judgment. Equating natural destruction with God’s plan can be a dangerous theological path to tread — God is not mad, he says, but rather the opposite is true. God comforts people in the midst of their grief. “God is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear though the Earth should change and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” he says, quoting Psalm 46. Miller also points to the New Testament book of Romans, in which the Apostle Paul tells of the Earth’s groanings. “The earth groans, weather patterns change, they come and go with climate changes,” Miller explains. “A natural disaster and an act of God are not the same thing.”

2 years after Joplin tornado, survivor ministers in Moore

MOORE, Okla. (BP) -- Gary Hunley had seen it all before. As he surveyed the damage left behind from last Monday's EF5 tornado in Moore, Okla., he saw an all-too-familiar scene of overturned cars, metal signposts bent to the ground and houses reduced to rubble.

Almost two years to the day before the historic Moore tornado, Hunley's home was destroyed by an equally historic tornado in Joplin, Mo., which killed 158 people. Since then Hunley, the leader on his Spring River Baptist Association Disaster Relief team, has participated in numerous Southern Baptist Disaster Relief responses. Yet because of the amount of damage in Moore, the latest assignment has brought back a variety of memories.

"I understand it," Hunley said. "I saw it yesterday for the first time. It was like Joplin -- the scene, the smell, the look on people's faces. Some are trying to be uplifting and act like everything is okay. They're hiding it though; I can see it on their face. I feel so sorry for them."


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Autistic Man Has An Astonishing God-Given Gift - See the Unbelievable Thing He Does!

Autistic Man Has An Astonishing God-Given Gift - See the Unbelievable Thing He Does! from hulahan on GodTube.

Homeless Ga. Teen 'Humbled' by Experience Graduates as Valedictorian

By Nicola Menzie , Christian Post Reporter
May 22, 2013|1:16 pm

Chelesa Fearce Earns Entry to Spelman College Where She Will Enroll as Third-Year Student

 A 17-year-old student from Georgia whose family of five was homeless for most of her high school career has managed to graduate at the top of her class and earn a spot at prestigious Spelman College, where she will be enrolling as a junior in the fall.
"I just told myself to keep working, because the future will not be like this anymore," Chelesa Fearce told a local news station. "You're worried about your home life and then worried at school. Worry about being a little hungry sometimes, go hungry sometimes. You just have to deal with it. You eat what you can, when you can."

Tragedy Sparks the Church to Spring Into Action

Steve Strang 

When the monstrous tornados hit Oklahoma, the church sprang into action. That’s the reports I’m getting from some friends who live in the area and who have been helping, along with thousands of others.
One was Steven Earp, the young pastor I wrote about a week ago. I texted him to see if he was OK because I knew his Elevate Church was in Moore, Okla., where the worst devastation took place. He called back and told me he was OK and how people in his church were responding. One of his associate pastors, who also works in the sheriff’s office for Cleveland County, gave us this report.


Vermont Becomes Third State to Legalize Assisted Suicide

With Governor Peter Shumlin’s signature on a bill the state legislature approved, Vermont today becomes the third state after Oregon and Washington to legalize assisted suicide.
Shumlin signed a bill today legalizing physician-assisted suicide for patients deemed to have a “terminal condition.” The move immediately drew opposition from leading pro-life groups.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jesus House Choir 'Reaching Out' to Transform Lives, Break Stereotypes of Homelessness

By Melissa Barnhart , CP Contributor
May 14, 2013|1:39 pm
For 40 years Jesus House, a nondenominational Christian outreach organization, has been transforming the lives of those battling addiction, suffering from mental illness, or facing the perils of homelessness and poverty. More than a shelter, Jesus House is a hub of community support that transforms the lives of their residents, as well as the tens of thousands of people who depend on the work of Jesus House volunteers who seek out the needs of the community.

Early in the morning, before the sun peeks over the horizon, Jesus House volunteers in Oklahoma City, Okla., are fast at work preparing 100,000 meals a year to feed the homeless. Many provide aid to homebound senior citizens by repairing pipes, mowing lawns, building fences, and providing grocery baskets and bottled water, along with prayers for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christian Persecution is Motivating Muslims 'To Know Christ'

By Janet Parshall , Special to CP
May 13, 2013|10:17 am

With all of the unrest being reported in countries like Egypt, Syria and Libya, perhaps the real untold story is the record number of Christians leaving the Muslim world.

According to Open Doors USA, at least 100 million Christians in 65 countries suffer persecution. For example, as the situation in Syria continues to intensify, it is very easy to forget the plight of Syrian Christians who are fleeing the country.
In his new book, Crucified Again, Raymond Ibrahim writes that Christians in that country are being targeted for kidnapping, plundering and beheadings. He reports that regions and towns that were once populated with Christians are now emptied.


Calif. OKs bill allowing boys in girls' restrooms

Posted on May 10, 2013 | by Erin Roach 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP) -- A bill that would allow boys who say they identify as girls to use the girls' restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa, passed the California Assembly Thursday (May 9) and now heads to the state Senate.

AB 1266, which passed largely on a party-line vote of 45-24, has been touted by supporters as "eliminating obstacles facing transgender people," but opponents have warned it "mandates San Francisco values on all California schools."

Under the bill, a student will be "permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions," consistent with "his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records."


Doctor Found Guilty of Murder in Philadelphia Abortion Trial

Dave Warner/Reuters 

A Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty on Monday of murdering three babies during late-term abortions at a clinic serving low-income women.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, who ran the now-shuttered Women's Medical Society Clinic, faces the possibility of the death penalty in the case that focused on whether the infants were born alive and then killed.
He was accused of delivering live babies during late-term abortions and then deliberately severing their spinal cords.


When Churches Become Like Country Clubs

Carol Pipes/LifeWay 

Nine out of 10 churches in America are declining or growing at a pace slower than the rate of their communities. Churches limp along as members drift out the proverbial back door. So what can church leaders do to stop the exodus? Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources and best-selling author, sees this as a symptom of an underlying problem in most churches.
Rainer suggests American congregations are weak and in decline because church members have lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be part of the body of Christ. People join churches expecting to be served, fed and cared for, he says.


A Year Later, Ron Luce Looks Back on Daughter's Deadly Plane Crash

Ron Luce 

One year ago, the lives of five families went into chaos. The people who loved, raised and cherished Austin Anderson, Stephen Luth, Garrett Coble, Luke Sheets and my own Hannah were shaken to the very core when we learned that the five of them had been in a plane crash in Kansas.
After discovering that Hannah was the sole survivor and that the four other men who loved God had perished, life for me began to get more complex. Through all the months of Hannah’s recovery—the operations and physical therapy and adjusting to her new world—the question that persists and is still not answered is “Why?”


How a Small Texas Church Birthed Historic Capitol Hill Prayer Event

Dan Cummins 

Three years ago, my church in Bullard, Texas, was very concerned regarding the spiritual and political direction in which we saw America heading. One Wednesday evening, a handful of our members gathered to pray for America. I remember praying a very simple prayer aloud: “Lord, open to us a door to the nation, that somehow we can make a difference.”
Little did any of us realize that night how God would literally answer that simple metaphorical prayer. He opened to a little country church in East Texas the actual door to the Capitol of the United States of America and its most sacred room, the National Statuary Hall.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

28 Nations Pray for USA

Historic Response to 72 Hours of Prayer and Fasting for USA
UNANDERRA, Australia, May 7, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- A world-wide call to pray and fast for the USA went out from Australia and New Zealand on 25 April 2013 from the team at Australia's National Day of Prayer and Fasting. The video Call to Prayer can be seen at

The Australian team felt led by God to bridge the US National Day of Repentance on 30 April 2013 and the US National Day of Prayer on 2 May 2013 with a worldwide call for 72 hours of prayer and fasting for the USA. This was humbly and gratefully received by American prayer leaders during a teleconference on 24 April 2013.

David Rowsome, one of the Australian organizers, said, "As we look back we stand amazed at what the Lord has done. The response from around the world to this prayer call surprised us all.

"Jonathan Edwards, the mighty American revivalist of the First Great Awakening and widely acknowledged as America's greatest theologian, wrote in 1740, 'When God has something very great to accomplish for His church, it is His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of His people.'

"We believe this is what we have just witnessed in this world-wide call to prayer. Many media outlets and prayer networks, including several global ones, very quickly took up this call. Confirmed reports from 28 countries around the world have been received and we believe there could very well be many more. We will not know the full response this side of eternity. But God does!"

Australia, France, Myanmar, Samoa, Cameroon, Ghana, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Spain, Cook Islands, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, England, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam

David Rowsome continued, "A strategic prayer partner was the International House of Prayer Kansas City At short notice they responded with a special focus on America in the times of intercession for three days. The live global web-streaming from the 24/7 Prayer Room captured the heart of the call to prayer. In the atmosphere of continuous worship we saw the faces of many nations as they offered urgent, fervent and heartfelt prayers for the awakening and revival of America.

"Many ministries around the world linked hands. An intercessor from Ireland responded to the call with these words -- 'Yes, God's global army awakes, moves by His Spirit and will glorify His precious Son!' Clearly, God's end-time army is taking its place, preparing for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as promised in Acts 2:17-21. The US National Day of Prayer reached a new and exciting level reporting it as 'the single, largest mobilized effort to prayer in the history of our nation with more than 42,000 events.' We can only believe that God has indeed used 'the extraordinary prayers of His people' around the world to bless America!"

For more information: Ps Matt Prater - 61 433 192 267 Dr Graham McLennan - 61 427 003 549

Warwick Marsh - 61 418 225 212 David Rowsome - 61 734 220 969

New Zealand enquiries: Warren Lyons - 64 272 624 295

Christian Newswire

The Mission Field Brought to Your Living Room

HOPATCONG, N.J., May 8, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- What if you could travel to five continents and visit 60 missionaries as each one told you the story of how God is transforming lives where they serve? What if you had a front row seat in these 60 locations so you could see with your own eyes the utter need these people face every day? What if you could look into the eyes of desperate people and feel their pain -- and sense their hopelessness?

Missionary photojournalist, Brad Guice, enables you to do just that through the pages of his new book, THE CALL TO MISSIONS. Guice, an award-winning photographer whose work has appeared in major publications including NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, has spent 19 years on the mission field, between commercial assignments, shooting the images that appear in THE CALL TO MISSIONS. He invested another eight years gathering the missionary testimonies.

Brad shares how God incredibly opened the door for him to go to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador to visit the Auca Indians (the tribe that killed five missionaries a generation ago): "I bumped into a man on the streets of New Orleans where I had gone to do relief work after Katrina. He mentioned to me that he was a missionary. I told him I was working on a book about the mission field and had just received the testimony from Elizabeth Elliot, wife of one of the murdered missionaries in Ecuador. He told me, 'I am one of only a few people who has access to that tribe.' He agreed to take me to visit the Aucas, and his story also appears in my book." Brad has many more stories as amazing as this one, which he shares whenever he speaks to audiences.

Brad is transitioning into a pastoral role at a satellite congregation of Times Square Church, founded by David Wilkerson, author of the best-selling book, THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE. Before he went to be with the Lord, David said of Brad and this book, "Each of Brad's photos issues a powerful missionary call. I believe as you peruse these pages you'll find yourself moved.... It is a modern-day look at the Great Commission as told by missionaries themselves."

THE CALL TO MISSIONS, LIVING THE BOOK OF ACTS, by Brad Guice, 256 pages, full-color hardcover, $29.99,,, ISBN: 978-158169-379-9, Published by Evergreen Press (2013), Distributed by Ingram/Spring Arbor and

Christian Newswire

This 86 Year-Old Gymnast Has AMAZING Skills and Strength!

This 86 Year-Old Gymnast Has AMAZING Skills and Strength! from alegator21 on GodTube.

10 Signs of Hope for a Declining Church

By Chuck Lawless , CP Guest Contributor
May 8, 2013|1:53 pm

The question didn't surprise me, but I wasn't ready with an answer. I was a young church consultant, and the church's leadership team had several questions. The one for which I had no answer at the time was, "What characteristics have you seen in churches that seemed to be dying, but that experienced growth after a consultation?" After many more years of consulting, here is my answer today.

1. The leader is preaching the Bible. Numerical growth can occur without preaching the Word, but genuine personal and congregational transformation doesn't happen apart from the Word. The struggling churches I've seen experience healthy change have been led by leaders who preach the Word. They don't compromise on this task, knowing that the Word still changes lives.


The Thaw

Christianity is being frozen out of the American public square. It is time for a THAW! This is a call to teens across America to "join us" at Reach America to bring Christ back to America!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

ED STETZER: Love Your Neighbor-- Even the Muslim Ones, An Expanded Version of My Column in USAToday


For many Americans, their knowledge of Muslims is what they see on television news rather than what they know from experience. Yet, forming a view of any group based solely on what one sees on the news is a bad idea.
When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, many Americans were quick to assume it was the work of Muslim extremists, even before it was confirmed. The connection of terrorism to radicalized Islam is no secret. Yet, far too many take it further, leading me to ask, why do some people assume that all, most, or even many Muslims must be terrorists?
In addition, I wondered why so much hate is directed at Muslims today-- the vast majority of whom are peaceful people and, when living here, love their country.
Simply put, too many people make decisions about a group based on what they see on television news--and that's a bad place to make sweeping conclusions.
But this connection happens more than with terrorism and Muslims.


'Soul Surfer' Bethany Hamilton to wed

Published 07 May 2013  |  Susie Turner

Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack but inspired people around the world by holding onto her faith in God and fulfilling her dream of becoming a pro-surfer.
Her amazing story was told in the hit movie, Soul Surfer, which starred AnnaSophia Robb.
Now this Soul Surfer has found her soul mate and she couldn't be happier.
"One year ago today, I met an amazing man, now we will spend the rest of our lives together and I'm soo excited! I love you Adam!" she posted on her Facebook page.


Friday, May 3, 2013

15 Countries Cited for Religious Freedom Violations

The Bible's Most Popular Verse

By Greg Laurie , Christian Post Contributor
May 3, 2013|10:15 am

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."
- Matthew 7:1-2

There was a time when probably the best-known Bible verse would have been John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." It seemed as though everyone either knew this verse or knew a little bit about it.
But that is no longer the favorite verse of most people, especially nonbelievers. In fact, I believe the nonbeliever's favorite verse is Matthew 7:1. I don't think they know the actual reference, but they love to quote it: "Judge not, that you be not judged."


Phil Cooke: It's Time to Rethink 'Missions'

Phil Cooke

“Studying NFL football is like preparing for war on the playing field. Sometimes that war requires you to study your opponent.”sports journalist Jay Bee, Bleacher Report
The most successful military generals and athletes ruthlessly study the strategy and tactics of their adversaries. In a similar way, effective pastors and ministry leaders have always studied the enemy. The Bible is very clear about evil, and there’s no question the enemy will stop at nothing to destroy God’s people. But in my experience, the vast majority of pastors and leaders aren’t recognizing a new but remarkably effective tool in the enemy’s arsenal: distraction. 
Today’s digital culture has brought great convenience. Who doesn’t love their iPhone, Android or iPad? The ability to connect instantly with thousands of people through social media has proven to be a powerful way to share Christianity with the culture.
But along with convenience comes something far more sinister than we realize: distraction.


Teen Performs Her Recently Passed Mother's Favorite Song - With a Surprise Twist!

Teen Performs Her Recently Passed Mother's Favorite Song - With a Surprise Twist! from joylights on GodTube.

National Back to Church Sunday September 15, 2013­ -- 20,000 Churches Inviting 10 Million Americans

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 29, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- Want to be happier and live longer? Who doesn't? According to a recent article in the Washington Times, having an active spiritual life is one of the best ways to accomplish this. The Times article reported that those who attend church regularly tend to live an average of 35% longer than those who do not.

A Barna survey also shows that people who participate in faith-based communities are more optimistic, less stressed, and believe they are making a positive difference in the world. Yet, the number of Americans who identify as "unchurched" or "dechurched" has steadily increased over the past decade. Is there a way for people of faith to turn things around?

Enter National Back to Church Sunday, the single largest annual community outreach in the nation.

This year the goal is to have 20,000 churches actively involved in National Back to Church Sunday. Imagine, churches of varying backgrounds, worship styles, and spirituality, reaching 10 million people with an invitation to come back to church.

Since its inception in the fall of 2009 the number of churches participating in National Back to Church Sunday has increased exponentially. In 2010 the number doubled from 3,800 to 7,600. In 2012, that number skyrocketed to over 13,100 churches inviting approximately 7.5 million friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers to attend church.

"Inviting America back to church is not an insurmountable task," says Eric Abel, Director of Marketing at Outreach, Inc. According to Thom Rainer's book, The Unchurched Next Door, "82% of people will come to church if they are invited by a trusted relative or friend. The numbers are similar for those who are counted among the 'de-churched' -- people who used to attend church regularly, but for one reason or another, have stopped going."

To help churches succeed in this effort, National Back to Church Sunday has provided an interactive website with free resources. There is a National Back to Church 2013 Church Kit which offers a step-by-step approach to prepare for National Back to Church Sunday. One of the highlights of the kit is the viral video, Pastor Rap. These tools are designed to encourage church members to invite their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to come back to church. (Visit for more details.)

In the fall of 2012, a National Back to Church Sunday survey showed that participating churches experienced a 38% increase in average church attendance, and 97% of pastors that responded to the survey said they would participate again in 2013.

"Enabling people to extend a simple invitation to family, friends, and coworkers has had a huge impact not only on our attendance, but on the sense of hope in our congregation. And being a smaller church, hope is sometimes in short supply when it comes to attendance. We will definitely be participating again next year. This was a great experience for us, and has really sparked our evangelism efforts." -- Redeemer Lutheran Church

To schedule an interview with Eric Abel, vice president of marketing at Outreach, Inc., contact Kim Flynn at 719-955-9600 or

National Back to Church Sunday, is the single largest annual community outreach in the nation, sharing the simple message and mission of inviting everyone in America back to church. The campaign empowers churches and church members with the tools they need to welcome their neighbors, friends and loved ones back to church while providing the unchurched an easy way to find a welcoming church in their community.

Christian Newswire

Voices of Faith RE: Social Media on the Mission Field: Blessing or Curse?

LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) with Jones Day partner, Michael Carvin, serving as lead counsel has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against the National Education Association (NEA) on behalf of Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) and its California members. NEA is the largest teachers union in the nation. CEAI is asking the courts to stop the NEA and its local and state affiliates from forcing educators who choose not to join the union to pay fees in their support.

"The NEA and its affiliates support issues that many of our members do not want to invest in such as abortion and same-sex marriage and the union opposes other issues many of our members support such as school choice and other forms of school reform," said CEAI Executive Director Finn Laursen.

In California teachers can opt out of the union, but are still required to pay union fees unless their objection is religious. As such they must go through the cumbersome process to become a religious objector in which case fees must be surrendered to a charity approved by the union. CEAI is simply asking the courts to free its members from being forced to contribute financially to support a union agenda they do not agree with or to be compelled by the union to financially support a charity.

"Forcing our members to financially support a union they choose not to belong to for the opportunity to practice their profession seems contrary to the principles our forefathers penned into our Constitution. We are not questioning teachers' rights to form or join unions, the rights of unions to collective bargain, or the practice of unions promoting liberal agendas, political issues, or candidates. We are simply asking that teachers be set free from being forced to financially support the union and its activities," explained Laursen.

Finn Laursen is the Executive Director of CEAI, est. 1953.

Christian Newswire

Little Boy Bullied His Entire Life Gets a Chance to Shine on National Television

Little Boy Bullied His Entire Life Gets a Chance to Shine on National Television from alegator21 on GodTube.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Theme for largest National Day of Prayer on record: 'Pray for America'

USA (NDOP/MNN) ― The United States of America is rooted in Christianity.
And yet, says the National Day of Prayer (NDOP) Task Force, atheists and anti-religion lobbyists are constantly attacking the United States' Judeo-Christian foundation.
Today, on the National Day of Prayer, millions are uniting in direct opposition to these attacks. According to the NDOP Task Force, today's event will be the largest prayer day on record. Individuals are being asked to pray, petition, and be a voice of reason.
To learn more about the National Day of Prayer or to find an event in your community, click here. 


Modern hymn writers revive lost art of Christian music

Study: Evangelicals More 'Christ-like' Than Other Christians

By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
May 1, 2013|8:25 am

Among various Christian groups in the United States, evangelicals were found to be the most "Christ-like," according to the findings of a recently released study on Christians.

Overseen by the Barna Group, the results, released Tuesday, showed that 23 percent of evangelical respondents exhibited both Christ-like actions and attitudes. The 23 percent number puts evangelicals above the other categories, which included "Practicing Protestant" (16 percent), "All Christians" (14 percent), "Practicing Catholic" (14 percent), "Non Evangelical Born Again Christians" (13 percent), and "Notional" (13 percent).


The History of Christianity in 25 Objects: Wycliffe's Pulpit

by Tim Challies

John Wycliffe’s body had been buried outside St. Mary’s Church for more than forty years when his grave was disturbed. Upon the orders of Pope Martin V, his remains were exhumed, his bones burned and the ashes scattered on the river Swift. This act of desecration was deemed fitting for one who had been posthumously condemned as a heretic. But, as Donald Roberts says so eloquently, it was by no means the end of his legacy for, “As history has revealed, Wycliffe's bones were much more easily dispersed than his teachings, for out of a sea of controversy and angry disputation rose his greatest contribution—the English Bible.”