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.