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A Gift of Peace

Christian Post - Living - 3 hours 3 min ago
One of the first things I remember about the day I put my faith in Christ was the sense of peace filling my heart. It was as though someone had lifted a heavy burden from me. It wasn't until later, when I read the Bible, that I learned about God's promise of peace to every believer.
Categories: Christian Post

Unchurched Americans Most Resistant to Evangelism Outreach in 20 Years, Survey Finds

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - 5 hours 54 min ago
A new study from Christian Research company Barna Group reveals that unchurched Americans are the most resistant to outreach efforts by the church and friends than they've been in 20 years.
Categories: Christian Post

Evangelism Study Bible Teaches Christians How to Share Gospel Clearly, Avoid 'Guilt Trips,' Says Evangelism Ministry CEO

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - 6 hours 32 min ago
The Evangelism Study Bible, scheduled for release next week, features thousands of notes, devotions, tips and other features that will help believers overcome fear and guilt and make them confident and joyful witnesses for Christ, publishers said.
Categories: Christian Post

U.S. pastors oppressed, as promised by Jesus

Mission Network News - 10 hours 53 min ago
International (MNN) -- A number of U.S. pastors are being asked for their sermons. The requests are not coming from people eager to read the sermons, but they are coming from the City of Houston, Texas, in the form of subpoenas. According to reports, the subpoenas were issued by Houston's city attorney in response to a lawsuit filed by opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that allows men and women who identify as transgender or opposite sex to use the facilities--such as restrooms--of their choice. Those subpoenas were recently amended to say "speeches" instead of sermons. But, either way, most Americans are asking the question: "Isn't this a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?"

Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson.

President of Reach Beyond Wayne Pederson says, Yes. "It would be quite a precedent when sermons given in church have to be turned over to the courts; that's just an unprecedented thing. It's almost unbelievable that it would happen in our country. It's a violation of the First Amendment and separation of church and state." While this seems like an unprecedented situation, Pederson says it may be small in light of what's happening to Christians in other parts of the world. "Jesus promised we would be persecuted and we would be monitored and scrutinized. Jesus said, 'There will be times you will be hated because of Me.'" As we get ready to remember the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on November 2, Pederson says in many countries it's difficult just to be a Christian. In some places, Pederson says, "Christians don't even acknowledge each other publicly on the streets. E-mails are constantly monitored. Web access is constantly monitored. Cell phone calls are monitored." If Christians are discovered in some countries, Pederson says, "Many times they're arrested, put in jail, interrogated, intimidated. Sometimes they lose their jobs. Sometimes they're kicked out of their homes and families. Sometimes they're kicked out of the country, even beaten and killed." Pederson says while individuals in the United States have the right to be a Christian, in many parts of the world, they have no rights. According to Pederson, this isn't all bad news. "Where there's persecution, the church grows. Some of the fastest growing churches in the world are in Iran and Afghanistan," says Pederson. Reach Beyond works in many areas where persecution of Christians is common. Pederson says, "We are continuing to do social media in that part of the world. We're very limited in what we can do in traditional broadcasts. But our partners are beginning to do radio broadcasts that are streamed 24/7 that are reaching that part of the world." Your support is needed to help facilitate more of this type of outreach, which is seeing success. If you'd like to help Reach Beyond with this cutting edge outreach, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Nigeria and Islamists sign ceasefire

Mission Network News - 10 hours 53 min ago
Nigeria (MNN/WWM) -- 276 schoolgirls from Nigeria were abducted in April by Boko Haram. After more than 180 days in captivity and a long deafening silence of limited information, word has come: the Nigerian government and Islamists signed a ceasefire agreement, and there is hope that the girls will be released as early as Monday. As there has been little information about the girls, there have been presumptions that some of them were forced into slavery or into marriage. It is known that a few girls escaped, but still over 200 girls are still in captivity. CNN reported that a man who claimed to be the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the girls into slavery, saying, “Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.” However, during the negotiations for the ceasefire, Danladi Ahmadu, who says he is the Boko Haram’s secretary-general, said that the girls were in good condition and unharmed. The Nigerian chief of defence, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, made the announcement. Boko Haram has remained silent, causing worries and doubt by some. World Watch Monitor reports that this is not the first negotiation of returning the girls. In May, an Australian mediator named Stephen Davis came within 15 minutes of winning the release of some of the girls before the deal dissolved. Davis reported that he had contacts among the militants and made calls asking if they had the girls, which they confirmed. Davis told the president he would attempt to intervene and help the girls get out. The Boko Haram commanders and Davis came to an agreement which included a list of conditions. They wanted the Nigerian military to stand down; then they promised to drop the girls in a village before phoning to give their exact location. 24 hours before the promised release, the Nigerian police offered a reward of several million Naira. This seemed to have set off reverberations within Boko Haram, and the day after, the girls were not released Davis told World Watch Monitor that there are politicians involved with the Boko Haram and that “the political sponsors are very powerful because they supply the finances and the arms. Until these are cut off from the group, those girls will not be released.” Davis says he prefers to wait and see what happens because he doesn’t trust the Nigerian politicians. CNN reports analyst Richard Joseph from the Brookings Institution saying, "This is a case when we will actually need to see the girls emerging from their six-month confinement before we can truly believe.” Open Doors USA asks for prayer that the Lord will, in His time, allow the girls to be released and that He will protect them. Finally, pray that the girls' faith will be an example to others and to their captors.
Categories: Mission Network News

Talks between North Korea and South Korea?

Mission Network News - 10 hours 53 min ago

(Photo credit Stephan via Flickr)

North Korea (MNN) -- Nine days ahead of scheduled high-level talks between North and South Korea, saber-rattling has caused military tensions to skyrocket. Minor skirmishes on the border over the weekend created North Korean bluster of an "unpredictable" retaliatory strike against South Korea. And the talks are not set in stone.   The talks were scheduled for October 30, but the North has yet to respond to the request. At the same time, there are questions about leadership within the hermit kingdom. Dictator Kim Jong-Un was out of the public eye for six weeks, missing high level meetings and the country's anniversary. The timing is hard to read, but speculation abounds. Greg Musselman, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says first, "When there are high level meetings with South Korea, what's going on there? Why has he been out of sight for so long? Really, it's hard to know what's actually taking place." However, an inside contact says that Kim Jong-Un is still in control. He made two public appearances just last week, although if his physical appearance is any indication, he may be recovering from an illness or injury. Still, there's a lot of ground to cover before anything can move forward diplomatically. Musselman says the bad economy may force their hand. "If they're going to have legitimate talks, one of the first things that come up is their human rights violations--not only against Christians but anybody considered a political 'enemy of the state;' they're tortured, executed." Specifically, says Musselman, "They have been heavily criticized by the UN and human rights

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

organizations for their human rights violations, so they're trying to soften that. If they're going to get anywhere with getting economic help from outside, they're going to have to present a better image." In fact, in response to a rights abuse report issued earlier this year from the United Nations Human Rights Council, North Korea blamed Christian discipleship bases located in northeast China for influencing their citizens. How did Christians become the scapegoat of North Korea's woes? Under the ideology of Juche, the only acceptable religion is "Kim-Il-Sungism." Musselman explains, "The reason the Christians are so singled out and targeted is because they're the ones, really, that can expose this false religion, the worship of the Kim family and the dynasty there. Christians are heavily persecuted. They are 'enemies of the state.'"

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

Despite the challenges, VOMC is partnering with a Korean ministry reaching into North Korea. "We're broadcasting the Gospel on shortwave radio. There are balloon launches that go in there: gospel tracts are in these balloons, and people are finding them and reading them." In the broadcasts, Scriptures are read and dramatized. They also read from books on Christian persecution to help underground believers there understand why they face the challenges they do and how to bear up under them. There are an estimated 2 million North Koreans who tune into their illegal radios each evening. Because of the desperate circumstances in North Korea, people are open to anything that brings hope. Some Christians share their Christ story whenever the opportunity comes up, occasionally, even as they were being taken to prison. "They would start to share the Gospel with fellow prisoners, the non-Christians. Many of them were responding to the Gospel. As a result of that, when it became known to the authorities, they were having the Christians executed before they got there." Coming alongside the persecuted church of North Korea means prayer. Musselman reminds us that "in spite of all the obstacles that the North Korean government puts up, they can't stop the work of the Gospel, and the Kingdom continues to go forward." VOMC asks you to pray for the 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in labor camps: ask God to sustain them. Pray that God would change the heart of Kim Jong-Un and use him to reform the country. Pray for protection for Open Doors workers and contacts bringing practical and spiritual support to believers.
Categories: Mission Network News

ISIS, the internet, and you on the battlefield

Mission Network News - 10 hours 53 min ago

(Image by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries)

Int'l (MNN) -- The internet is a battlefield. The question is: what kind of warrior are you? Who are you fighting for? Do you think we're being dramatic? We spoke with Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries about the danger and opportunity that skip alongside the internet. The internet to support a cause Hutchcraft says, "There are some people right now who are very effectively using the internet. They are recruiting young men from around the world, they are inspiring them to take action that they never thought they would take--to leave where they are and be a part of the army that they are building. They're doing it so successfully, and their name is ISIS." Through their use of social media, Hutchcraft says, "They are experiencing unbelievable growth with an agenda that is butchery and fanaticism and barbaric atrocities." It's important to understand (and not underestimate) the power of the internet and social media to drive a cause like that of ISIS forward. Christians should take note of this. "If you do it well, you can get the attention and capture the hearts of people for a cause," Hutchcraft says, "Well, hello! We represent the greatest cause on the planet. In Christ we have the hope that the world is looking for, we have the love the world is looking for." Hutchcraft reminds us that Jesus said before the end of the world there would be an explosion of wickedness and an explosion of the spread of the Gospel. "Sin always fascinates you, and then…" The internet has certainly played a role in both of these things as it interconnects people in a way that's never been possible before. While it is very obviously a tool for ISIS more recently, the power of the internet to draw people into darkness is not a new concept. Hutchcraft says just look: "The internet today is doing everything from recruiting terrorists to getting pornography slaves." Since its birth, the internet has successfully drawn men and women into sexual sin. It has glorified a twisted version of God's creation and honored the pursuit of sin of all kinds. Hutchcraft says people often slip into enslavement to these things rather innocently. Other times, it's a small decision made on a slippery slope that captures the attention and devotion of an internet user. "Sin always fascinates you, and then it assassinates you," Hutchcraft says. Where do you fit in? The responsibility of a follower of Christ is really a two-sided coin. For starters, they have to protect themselves. "We really need to be very careful because the internet is loaded with ambushes," Hutchcraft says. As with any battle, Christians need to have defensive tactics. And they need have an offensive plan, as well. The other side of the coin--the offense--is proactivity in presenting the Gospel through the internet so that it is in reach of all people around the world. This is done through social media, Web sites, blogs, and videos. Hutchcraft says no soldier is better equipped for this task than millennials who have a heart for Christ. Not only are they burdened for lost people, but they grasp the culture and know how to reach people. Christians do need to be careful how they approach this task, says Hutchcraft. "Facebook is not a preaching medium. It's a networking, friendship-building medium. But you can, on occasion, give a personal story of how Jesus has made the difference for you." Hutchcraft says to pray for opportunities to turn people's attention to Jesus through Facebook and other internet sites. Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, for example, uses its blogs to share stories of hope. Check out examples here at On Eagles' Wings and A New Story. Stories have the power of connecting people who would otherwise never have anything in common. Hutchcraft says through whatever media is used, there is a responsibility to make the content compelling, respectful, gentle, and true, following the pattern set out in 1 Peter 3:15. Intentionality on the internet is very important and something that perhaps most users are without. It starts in prayer, as Hutchcraft explains: "It really is an important thing we should be praying for. If we are going to represent Christ, as we must because all of us who are involved in any way on the internet, whether it's e-mail or YouTube or Facebook or whatever, we all have been given a platform to do whatever we want to do with." 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to be ready to share our reason for hope. What better way to honor Christ and be gentle with our audience than to share our own story? "One thing people will listen to is your personal hope story that tells how what Christ deid on the cross made all the difference for you as a dad or a mom or a friend or cancer patient or a single person or a lonely person or a depressed person or an addicted person. "You're the living proof that Christ can change what nobody else could've changed, that as God gives opportunity, you pray that God will open a door and then open your mouth to use these tools for him," Hutchcraft says. A prayer for all of us The following is an excerpt of Hutchcraft's prayer for followers of Christ. "We pray that You would give us, first of all, discernment so that we do not under any circumstances ever allow […] sin to take hold in our lives, please, through these powerful media. "But by the same token, Lord, we pray that You'd put in our hearts a desire to capture the potential of this, for we will not forfeit these powerful platforms to the enemy. If we don't show up with Jesus, we have forfeited, and we will not forfeit this battle. "For the One who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. So would You give us a vision, give us an approach, give us the love, give us the burden, give us the wisdom, and give us the courage to use these media skillfully, gently, respectfully, lovingly, to share our Jesus with our world."        
Categories: Mission Network News

29,244 sandals delivered to Buckner

Mission Network News - 10 hours 53 min ago
USA (MNN/BOC) -- Piles of waterproof sandals flooded out of trucks and overflowing boxes. Buckner International Shoes for Orphan Souls, an organization dedicated to providing shoes and socks for orphans and vulnerable children worldwide, received an incredible donation from Niagara University. 29,244 sandals were delivered to Buckner on August 1. This is the first donation of a long-term partnership between Buckner and the Sandal Falls Project. The Sandals Falls Project was started by a student-led business club at Niagara University known as B.O.L.D. (Business Organizational Leadership Development). B.O.L.D worked with the community outreach branch from their university, Rev. Joseph Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. Together they collected sturdy, waterproof sandals that were purchased by tourists at Niagara Falls who would wear the sandals for only a few hours. Business students and club members volunteered to sanitize, sort, and bag the sandals. “The students are passionate about this project and work hard during the school year to organize student work groups that make this possible,” said Yvette Suarez, institute coordinator at Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. “It has been our prayer that we would find a partnership that helps us reach the less fortunate, and now the students can focus more effectively at continuing the process. This relationship with Buckner gives them an outlet to do what they set out to do because Buckner is a tangible organization meeting a tangible need.” Buckner will be donating the sandals, along with nearly 500 other donated shoes, to Rio Grande Valley for migrant children crossing the Texas border. “The timing of this donation is an answer to prayer for our team and will allow us to serve even more children who are crossing the Texas-Mexico border seeking refuge in the United States,” said Ashley Williamson, Shoes for Orphan Souls manager. “We pray that the sandals will remind these children of the Lord’s love and provision for them in the midst of so much uncertainty.” To donate to Buckner International, click here. Pray for the sandals to be delivered successfully and to be a reminder of the Lord’s love for the migrant children of Rio Grande Valley.
Categories: Mission Network News

Love Will Have Its Day by Laura Hackett

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
Dove-nominated singer/songwriter Laura Hackett will release her newest studio album, Love Will Have Its Day, from Forerunner Music, the official record label of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC). Available Oct. 21 through digital and retail outlets everywhere and distributed through New Day Distribution, Love Will Have Its Day, is Laura's second full-length album on Forerunner Music and finds her exploring a much broader range of music than ever before.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

This Is Our Time by Planetshakers

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
Fresh from filling stadiums in far-flung locales throughout Asia, Africa, South America and Australia, Planetshakers are poised to release their upcoming project, This Is Our Time. The album, which was recorded live in Melbourne, Australia, at the annual Planetshakers conference, delivers the same passionate, high-energy worship that we have come to love. Reminding us that we were created "for such a time as this," the album features all new songs including co-writes with five-time Grammy Award winner Israel Houghton.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Mental by KJ-52

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
KJ-52 continues to prove he is one of Christian Hip Hop's hardest working emcees. After breaking the world record for longest team freestyle, the Dangerous-crafter is gearing up to drop new music in the form of an album titled Mental.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

All Is Calm All Is Bright by Various Artists

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
Lucid Artist, a renowned artist management company, content creator and distributor based in Nashville, TN, readies the release of All is Calm, All is Bright: Songs of Christmas, a thirteen song multi-artist holiday recording bowing October 21. Produced by Dove-nominated singer-songwriter Andrew Greer, All is Calm, All is Bright features some of the most enduring names in Christian music, including GRAMMY® Award-winning icon Sandi Patty, multi-platinum mainstay Jaci Velasquez, Dove Award-winning singer-songwriters Cindy Morgan, Ginny Owens and Nic Gonzales (of Salvador), acclaimed duo Seth Nirva, Greer, plus American Idol's Melinda Doolittle and R&B veteran-turned-worship leader Montell Jordan. "The lights,[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Back to the Start by Martin Smith

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
Former Delirious? frontman, co-founder and primary songwriter, Martin Smith releases Back To The Start, Oct. 21 though Integrity Music exclusively throughout North America. Combining favorites from his 5-star-acclaimed solo debut, God's Great Dance Floor, Step 01, and second, full-length installment, God's Great Dance Floor, Step 02, the resulting collection reintroduces songs recently heard on Martin's tour with Bethel Music to North American audiences.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Hope Was Born by Salvador

New Release Tuesday - 10 hours 53 min ago
[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

The Decline of Decline? Alarming Rate of Mainline Protestants Leaving Church May Be Slowing Down

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 3:01pm
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to the alarming numbers of a decreasing membership in mainline Protestant denominations in the United States in recent years.
Categories: Christian Post

Blood Drive in honor of Sharon Budd

WGRC News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:43pm

The courage and strength of a woman from Ohio brought people together in Northumberland County.
A blood drive was held by Geisinger Blood Center to honor Sharon Budd.
She was severly injured when a rock smashed through the windshield of her family’s car on I-80.
Sharon spent three months at Geisinger and underwent five surgeries and is expected to return home to Ohio soon.

Categories: Local News

Politico Poll

WGRC News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:42pm

A new poll by Politico shows, An overwhelming majority of voters in the most competitive 2014 elections say it feels as if events in the United States are ‘out of control’ and expressed mounting alarm about terrorism, anxiety about Ebola and harsh skepticism of both political parties only three weeks before the Nov. 4 midterms. The poll, found that 64% of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” Specifically, the poll found that 84% of voters believe that (ISIS) represents a “serious” threat to America. On the issue of Obamacare, 57% of Americans believe their health care costs will increase, and just 7% believe that Obamacare will do as President Barack Obama claimed and reduce personal costs. When asked “Which President do you believe was more effective at managing the basic functions of the federal government?” 38% said George W. Bush, and 35% said Obama, and 26% answered “both about the same.”

Categories: Local News

Bridge Replacement

WGRC News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:42pm

A bridge replacement project got underway today on Warrensville Road just south of Warrensville. A temporary roadway will be in place during the project and trucks over 40 feet in length will be prohibited from using the temporary roadway with a signed detour in place. The work is expected to last five to six weeks.

Categories: Local News

Rich Wilkerson Jr. Talks Ministry Challenges and What's Missing With Today's Generation (Video)

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:09pm
Rich Wilkerson, Jr., the Miami pastor who earned instant celebrity status earlier this year when it was revealed that he had officiated Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's wedding, recently commented on some of the challenges he faces as a Millennial in Christian ministry and his concerns for today's youth.
Categories: Christian Post