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Lifeway Study: Almost a Quarter of American Families Have Turned to Church Food Pantries for Help

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 4:10pm
A September Lifeway Research survey reveals that nearly a quarter of Americans have received food from a church-run food pantry. Minorities and churchgoers commonly benefit from church pantries, according to the survey.
Categories: Christian Post

Hunting accident leaves two hurt

WGRC News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 4:01pm

Authorities think two people were accidentally shot in a hunting incident in Schuylkill County. WNEP says police say it happened near Tamaqua Area High school. Two people were accidentally shot with a hunting rifle in a wooded area off of Green Street. Two people were apparently flown to hospitals in the Lehigh Valley, but no word on how badly they were hurt.

Categories: Local News

Latest job numbers

WGRC News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 2:29pm

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits jumped last week, pushing total applications above 300,000 for the first time in nearly three months. Weekly applications rose 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 313,000, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s the highest level since the first week of September. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 6,250 to 294,000. The increase is unlikely to raise concerns about the broader health of the job market.

Categories: Local News

Franklin Graham Shares Childhood Memories With Pastor Greg Laurie at Operation Christmas Child Dedication Service

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 10:28am
Franklin Graham reminisced about his Christmas traditions growing up with evangelist Billy Graham and Ruth Graham for parents, and shared how Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes make Christmas equally special for children around the world during an interview with pastor Greg Laurie at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, Sunday.
Categories: Christian Post

Clothed With Power

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 10:10am
The power of the Holy Spirit is the dynamic, supernatural control and authority of almighty God. It is the strength by which we are enabled to serve. Tragically, too many of God's people attempt to carry out supernatural work in their own human strength.
Categories: Christian Post

Pastor James MacDonald on Ferguson Shooting: Christians Appear to Take Sides Without Nuanced Analysis

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 7:42am
Pastors nationwide continued to dialogue and voice strong opinions about the issues surrounding the St. Louis grand jury decision announced Monday evening not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent demonstrations.
Categories: Christian Post

Kingdom Expansion: Part Three

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Screenshot taken from BSFB.org)

Bangladesh (MNN) -- We've been talking about God's Kingdom expansion in Bangladesh. Today we'll continue that discussion to learn about how the Living Water Center will impact student outreach on college campuses. Peter Mazumder grew up in a Christian home but accepted Christ later in life. He soon began working for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He says when he arrived to do ministry in Bangladesh in 1986, there were nine chapters of InterVarsity on campuses in Bangladesh. He spent many days of the month traveling to different cities where universities were located. He says, "By the grace of God now, 76 chapters are functioning, with 1500 students are having regular weekly Bible Studies." Kingdom Expansion: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Sharing the Gospel looks a bit different than it does in the United States. Nobody has been able to see that better than Mazumder. Asian Access is partnering with InterVarsity to fulfill a need that has burdened his heart. Mazumder explains, "Bangladesh is a Muslim country, but we are free to propagate the Gospel all over the country. So as a Muslim country, we are not able to sit in the University Campuses, but we call this 'friendship evangelism.'" This is a different way of engaging the student population, by having discussions about Jesus with friends and peers rather than having a presence as an organization on campus. "Through that dialogue we share the Gospel, and it's really going well. We reach them one-by-one like students reaching the students through friendship evangelism," Mazumder says. The Living Water Center will serve many purposes (read more here). One of these will be to provide a place for leadership or ministry training for students and a place for them to hold InterVarsity meetings. Mazumder continues, "This Living Water Center will be for the students' training and all different kinds of conferences for InterVarsity. At the same time, it will be available for different churches." Churches will also be able to meet here for Bible school and discipleship training. You can give to Asian Access, who is partnering with InterVarsity, to help this project to completion.

InterVarsity works internationally to train students to engage their peers with the message of Jesus and to become effective leaders beyond college.

Pray that the Living Water Center would be a great resource to expand God's Kingdom in Bangladesh.
Categories: Mission Network News

Bhutanese pastor waits

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo Courtesy Open Doors USA)

Bhutan (ODM) -- Editor’s Note: This story was written by Open Doors USA about the appeal trial of a Bhutanese pastor. Bhutanese pastor Tandin Wangyal presented his 25-minute defense against the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) before the Samtse Court on October 20, 2014. He is accused of violating Section 105 of the Bhutan's Communications, Information, and Media Act of 2006 (presenting a film to the public without permission) and Section 70 of the Civil Society Organizations Act (illegally soliciting public funds). "Most honorable judge, our supreme Scripture, the Bible, clearly says in 1 Timothy 2:2 that we are to pray for our rulers, kings, and authorities," said Tandin. "Every Christian in Bhutan, regardless of social background, upholds you in prayer. "We are not against our king, country, or people. Our Scripture says in Romans 13:1 that we are to submit under the given authority," he continued. "Bhutanese Christians abide by this. Your most honorable judge, I am ready to lay down my life for this nation." The OAG gave a rebuttal to his defense on October 27. In response to the charge under Section 105, Tandin countered that he did not present a movie in the gathering, but a music video of the song "Above All" to usher the people to worship. The OAG asserted, however, that they have found a schedule in Tandin's hard disk revealing his plans to show three Christian movies in the days to follow. They say the attempt to show these films without permission is punishable by the Penal Code of Bhutan. As for the funds he allegedly solicited from the public, Tandin explained that the money in question was not an unauthorized solicitation from the locals, but rather a gift given in confidence by a good friend whose name translates to "public" in Dzongkha. The OAG refrained from further comment on this and decided to leave it to the court. For further clarification, the judge asked Tandin to produce documents proving that the activities he was facilitating are registered. To this, Tandin responded that no church in Bhutan has ever been granted legal status. "There were a couple of times when some Christian leaders tried to register, but nothing concrete has been achieved," said Tandin. "Recently, some leaders submitted registration documents to the Prime Minister. It was relayed to the Home Minister, but no concrete decision has been made, so I will not be able to produce these documents in court." Tandin's final hearing was scheduled for November 6, 2014. It was his last chance to deliver his written rebuttal and oral argument before the judge. Tandin was to speak in the morning, while the Evidence Hearing was to be led by the prosecution in the afternoon. The result was three years in prison. He appealed, but that verdict has yet to be rendered. Pray for Tandin and his family to remain steadfast in their faith in God.
Categories: Mission Network News

Is pro-life message lost in the church?

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:00am
USA (MNN) -- Political correctness is invading the church in the western culture. Some churches have abandoned their stand on homosexuality. Divorce and remarriage is becoming less of an issue with some churches. What about the pariah of our culture today: abortion?

Tom Lothamer talks about Life Matters Worldwide in this video on their Web site.

President of Life Matters Worldwide Tom Lothamer says churches can't abandon the biblical pro-life message. God created man in His image, and Lothamer says that image is the basis of our view of people. "Many, many times, sad to say, pastors don't fully understand the implications of what image means, what that has to do with the Gospel, and what that has to do with how we treat each other" -- not just each other within the church, but every human being from conception to death. Life Matters is talking with churches globally about their view of people. Valuing life is important in outreach, says Lothamer. "If we're in a culture that doesn't value life and it's no big deal because of convenience or because of other issues, then that has an impact on culture where we become a more of a culture of death than of life." Most churches agree with their message, but some respond negatively. "Sometimes it's just silence; they just won't do it. Sometimes they might think, 'Wow, maybe I have someone in my church who's had an abortion.'" That silence can cause other problems, especially with young people, says Lothamer. "It might be a young lady who's 14, 16, or 18 who becomes pregnant and she's never really heard about it in the church. She may say, 'Well, maybe I'll get an abortion.'" While most evangelical churches are pro-life, many pastors haven't been trained. Life Matters can help your church integrate pro-life ministry. "We're in churches all the time and teaching about this. We have all kinds of materials--pastors' materials and education materials for lay people, from conception to natural death. Life Matters also has a ministry called Living in Faith Together, or LIFT. Lothamer explains, "The LIFT ministry is to the elderly and those who are facing chronic or terminal illness, and how we the body can care for members of our congregation who are going through that." Lothamer says the pro-life worldview needs to be a part of every church, which can have evangelistic impact. With crisis pregnancy and end of life support, churches can have great impact. "It says something to those people, and they're [asking], 'Why are you helping me like this?'  It gives us opportunities to share why we're doing this. We can present Christ to them in a very loving and compassionate way; many are coming to Christ through these ministries." Support Life Matters Worldwide financially to help more Christians understand the pro-life message. Or, click here if you'd like additional information on how to implement pro-life ministry in your church.
Categories: Mission Network News

Striving to end abuse

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

Senegal (WRN) -- According to the United Nations’ Web site, “35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.” In some countries, the figure is closer to 70%. In Senegal, a ten-year-old girl was raped and had twins. World Renew reported another recent story in Senegal. One evening in the Keur Massar neighborhood of Dakar, a young teen girl was sent out to run an errand. A man followed her, grabbed her, and forced her into an abandoned house. When he began removing her clothes to rape her, she cried for help and neighbors came to rescue her. It was a narrow escape. “Everybody was talking about it,” said Ndeye Maty Diagne, a facilitator for a Youth Action Group sponsored by EELS (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Senegal), one of World Renew’s local partners. “My mom, Aminata Niane, and I are part of the Adolescent Health Program, and we work against this kind of violence, so we went to see the girl.The man was a well-known member of the community, not a random stranger. “Her mother welcomed us with open arms and told us the whole story. We suggested that the family write down their story and keep it as proof--in case the man tried to attack the girl again. To this day we have not seen the man again and don’t know where he went.” In Senegalese culture, young girls have very low status and are often told to just keep quiet when they’re the victims of physical or sexual violence. In this case, the immediate intervention of community members saved the young girl from rape, but changing men’s attitudes and violent behavior toward women and girls requires a long-term commitment. World Renew is striving to end the abuse. Through training, advocacy, and developing local community leaders like Ndeye and Aminata, World Renew and its partners are working in communities and among religious leaders to raise awareness, change behavior, and help put an end to domestic and sexual violence. In Dakar, World Renew offers training in basic counseling skills to peer educators in the adolescent health program. The ministry also developed discussion guides for community groups and created a set of guidelines so that people like Aminata and Ndeye have more resources with which to advise girls and their families. Pray for violence against women to end. Pray also that God's love will be demonstrated and felt through World Renew.
Categories: Mission Network News

Child soldiers fighting for the Islamic State

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 5:00am

Flag used by Islamic State in Iraq and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Lebanon (MNN) -- According to multiple reports, the Islamic State (ISIS) has hit a new low. While ISIS isn't the first terrorist group to recruit and deploy child soldiers, one official told the Associated Press that the Islamic State's veracity and boldness sets them apart. "ISIS seems to be quite transparent and vocal about their intention and their practice of recruiting children," UNICEF's regional child protection adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, Laurent Chapuis, told the AP. In a report earlier this month, an Islamic State fighter in Syria confirmed Chapuis' observance to NBC News. "We should start to train them from now because they will complete what we started: the expansion of the Islamic caliphate," said Abu Dujana. The Islamic State's recruitment of child soldiers comes as no surprise to Baptist Global Response (BGR), says Jeff Palmer. However, he hopes their ministry to Iraq and Syrian refugees can help prevent the exploitation. "If we can keep them fed, if we can keep them in safe places, if we can start to find some jobs, and…we can provide some educational opportunities, we're thinking that surely helps," Palmer says. A few days ago, ISIS released videos and pictures of child soldiers supposedly recruited from Kazakhstan. "This is a strategy to 'win over' the hearts and minds of the children and indoctrinate them for future 'muhajadeen,'" explains Palmer. He says BGR employs a different strategy to "win over" the hearts of refugee families for Christ: compassion. The ISIS crisis continually puts families in an extremely difficult position.

You can help Syrian refugees survive the winter through BGR's Syria Relief fund.
(Image courtesy BGR)

"The majority of these IDPs and refugees are women and children. There [are] some men in there, older men, but the majority is women and children," Palmer states. Without a male defender and head-of-household, women and children become extremely vulnerable to predators like ISIS. BGR and their national church partners are meeting susceptible refugees at their greatest points of need by providing things like food distribution, winterizing shelters, and education. "In every one of those places, [ministry is] being done through our national partners, who are the 'salt,' who are the 'light,' who are the verbal proclamation of the Gospel," Palmer explains. "In the midst of the [physical] ministry that's going on, there's also that word of hope and Truth that's going forward." Prayer Needs Helping BGR and their church partners share the Gospel with refugees by meeting physical needs is certainly important. But, committing to pray for the ISIS crisis and those ministering the love of Christ is even more vital. In this interview, Palmer shares the following prayer requests:
  • Pray for BGR partners ministering in regions affected by ISIS.
  • Pray for them to be bold by loving those in need and bold in sharing their faith.
  • Pray for the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding.
  • Pray that BGR and their church partners will continue to have opportunities to share the Gospel with vulnerable refugees.

(Photo courtesy Baptist Global Response)

"Pray for [our partners], not to be safe, [but] pray for them to be bold," Palmer concludes. "Pray also for those of us in leadership to have wisdom and knowledge [when choosing] the areas in which to work. There's so much need."
Categories: Mission Network News

Church of England to Allow Female Bishops as Soon as December

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 3:47pm
A dozen words will reverberate across the Christian world causing tears of joy or anguish depending on how you feel about women holding senior offices in church. Last week, Canon 33 of the General Synod, the governing organ of the Church of England, reads "A man or woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop." The decision came after a vote by the General Synod in London over an issue that the church has debated for almost 40 years. The new bishops may be appointed as early as this Christmas.
Categories: Christian Post

Chicago Church Gives $500 to Each Member to In Turn Bless Others; Pastor Discusses What They Did With the Money

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 3:45pm
Members of a Chicago church who were given $500 each made possible from a real estate deal the church received are using their share to help various programs and initiatives around the city.
Categories: Christian Post

Lost IRS E-mails have been found

WGRC News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 2:09pm

The new Republican House and Senate will have more evidence to look at in the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal now that thousands of Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails have been found. CBN News reports,
An inspector general with the Treasury Department located 30,000 of the emails on disaster recovery tapes. Last spring, the IRS told Congress that two years’ worth of emails from Lerner, the woman at the center of the scandal, had been lost in a hard drive crash. The missing emails corresponded with the period during which the IRS blocked the tax-exempt status for dozens of conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.

Categories: Local News

Bear Hunting Season Underway

WGRC News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 2:08pm

Bear hunting season is underway in the state of Pennsylvania. PA Game Commission officials report that the first day of the season on Saturday saw a grand total of more than 1600 of the animals harvested across the state with Lycoming County leading the way with 143.

Story Blogged at 11–25-14 14:07 by dmurley

Categories: Local News

Bear Season

WGRC News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 2:07pm

Bear hunting season is underway in the state of Pennsylvania. PA Game Commission officials report that the first day of the season on Saturday saw a grand total of more than 1600 of the animals harvested across the state with Lycoming County leading the way with 143.

Categories: Local News

Pastor Touré Roberts, Sarah Jakes Officially Marry in Private Ceremony

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 9:17am
Touré Roberts, the senior pastor of One Church International in Hollywood, has officially married Sarah Jakes, the daughter of fellow pastor Bishop T.D. Jaks.
Categories: Christian Post

In Spite of Sickness

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 9:12am
God can work in spite of sickness. He still answers prayer and heals people today, and He still does miracles. In sickness and in hardships, He can work in a person's life. Even if a person still has the sickness or problem, God can work in spite of it and give them a special strength.
Categories: Christian Post

IS gains resources through violence

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network USA)

Syria (GAiN) -- Editor’s Note: This is a story written by Global Aid Network USA sharing how the Islamic State is advancing. Despite international attempts to check the advancement of the Islamic State in northern Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group's power continues to grow. To solidify their control in conquered territories, leaders have established courts to enforce Islamic law, schools to perpetuate their sect, and consumer agencies to certify adherence to strict food standards. Meanwhile, they continue to seek expansion in the east and south, where government forces appear vulnerable. In the cities controlled by IS, enemies include anyone who is not part of their specific sect of Sunni Islam, but they reserve their most brutal treatment for Sunni Muslims suspected of working with the Iraqi government and Muslims who have converted to Christianity. Punishments include beating, amputation, crucifixion, and beheading. And these measures exclude no one--not even women and children. The photos coming out of northern Iraq are too gruesome to share. To fund their expansion and rule, IS receives huge sums of money from extremist Islamic charities, wealthy individuals in the Gulf, oil fields they’ve commandeered, and resources plundered in Syria. They also gain immense wealth from fleeing residents. Each city overrun by IS puts hundreds of families to flight. While IS militants do allow most residents to leave, they strip them of all possessions and money and have been known to cut off fingers to remove rings and pull gold teeth before granting passage. Unlike banking institutions in the West, funds deposited in one Iraqi bank are not available in another except by wire transfer. When the IS takes physical control of a bank, all of the funds become theirs. So, when a family flees, they leave with nothing; everything they leave behind is forever lost. While the IS gains resources through violence, ministries like Global Aid Network USA (GAiN) struggle to serve victims with limited supplies of food, medicine, clothing, and other basic necessities. GAiN needs help. They need contributions in order to give refugees hope. GAiN says, “Jesus taught His disciples (and us) a critical lesson about ministry. The Lord does not deny that He has called us to engage a mission too great for our own resources. Our gifts will always fall short of the need. Even so, the Lord grants us the opportunity to share what little we have. And when we’re faithful to add our portion, God is faithful to multiply our offering so that it will be sufficient. Indeed, more than enough.” To donate to refugees, click here. Pray that GAiN will have increasing opportunities to help refugees find the eternal hope of Christ which surpasses circumstances.
Categories: Mission Network News

Responding constructively to Ferguson

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/25/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)

USA (InterVarsity/MNN) -- Editor’s Note: This is a story from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, reporting on how believers are responding to the fatal shooting in Missouri. The issues in Ferguson, Missouri, resonate with many students on college campuses across the country. InterVarsity staff and students are seeking to respond constructively with Biblical concerns for ethnic reconciliation, For InterVarsity’s campus ministry, as well as for the Ferguson area institutions, this is a significant moment. “The events in Ferguson, and the broader social discourse, serve as a test for our core value of ethnic reconciliation and justice,” said Paula Fuller, InterVarsity Vice President and Director of Multiethnic Ministries. “As a ministry committed to establishing and advancing witnessing communities on our university and college campuses that are growing in love for people of every ethnicity and culture, how we attend to the events unfolding in the public square will either lend credence to our commitment or cause our words to have a hollow ring.” InterVarsity staff have assembled a package of resources designed to help college students engage their campus communities in a proactive manner, with approaches that range from a prayer gathering on campus, to a student survey, to an artistic display. Some InterVarsity staff are working closely with church and community leaders in Ferguson as agents of reconciliation, and advocating more broadly for understanding. InterVarsity alumni are also active in planning constructive response to the events in Ferguson. Several serve on the Ferguson Commission, appointed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to study the issues underlying the Ferguson incidents and issue recommendations. Members of the Commission include T.R. Carr, Professor of Public Administration at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and former mayor of Hazelwood, MO. He is an InterVarsity alumnus and longtime InterVarsity volunteer. Also on the Commission, Brittney Packnett, Executive Director of Teach For America and alumna of InterVarsity's Harambee Christian Ministries chapter at Washington University. Pray for reconciliation and peace that passes understanding as InterVarsity staff share God's love.
Categories: Mission Network News