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.