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Hindus looking to recovert Christians and Muslims on Christmas Day

Mission Network News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 5:00am

(Stock photo courtesy Gospel For Asia)

India (MNN) -- Christmas Day celebrations in Uttar Pradesh, India, have been taking center stage in the news. Todd Nettleton is a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA. According to him, here's why: "There has been a significant push over the last couple of weeks to reconvert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. They are particularly focusing on Christmas Day, promising large-scale re-conversion ceremonies." He references a series of leaflets distributed by members of the Hindu Nationalist Party. They were seeking donations for converting Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. "Among radical Hindus in India, this is a big fundraising push right now. They are raising money to facilitate this, raising to either offer to converts to get them to come back to Hinduism, or to support (what we might call) 'Hindu missionaries.'" The pamphlets noted that it costs Rupees 2 lakh to convert a Christian and Rupees 5 lakh to convert a Muslim. While some greeted the news warmly, police spotted the potential for trouble and banned the event, says Nettleton. "In some cases, the police are saying, 'We are not going to allow this conversion/re-conversion ceremony. Nobody can be forced to change their religion.' So, as we head into this Christmas season, there's really a lot of potential for animosity." In fact, Bajrang Dal members in the area promised to hit the streets in protest if the police did not allow the ceremony. The group claims they've identified Muslims and Christians they'll be targeting, arguing that Christians and Muslims happen to be descendants of converted Hindus. Therefore, a Hindu conversion would only be coming back to the fold.

(Photo courtesy Gospel For Asia)

The problem is: it's causing so much ruckus that the government, in an effort to restore calm, suggested that perhaps all states should have anti-conversion laws. Nettleton disagrees. "That would potentially affect Christians, perhaps more than Hindus. The anti-conversion laws are typically used against Christian workers or missionaries who are spreading the Gospel, encouraging people to change from Hinduism or from Islam to follow Jesus Christ." Meanwhile, the Christian community has sought for additional security for their churches in the city. Early reports last week showed at least one group of Christmas carolers attacked and beaten. You might be thinking, 'That's one incident in a really big country.' Nettleton counters, saying attacks on Christians and churches are so frequent during the Advent Season that it's a daily occurrence.

(Photo courtesy Gospel For Asia)

Yet the Christmas story is highly relevant in the community. For the believer, it's about the truth of what's yet to come. "Christmas is a fabulous opportunity to share the story of Jesus Christ coming to earth. The purpose of His coming to earth was to purchase our salvation, so we can pray for those efforts to share that story during the Christmas season and [pray] that there will be a lot of fruit for the work that our Christian brothers and sisters are doing." As Christmas Day nears, Nettleton asks that we also pray "for safety for Christians who are there. Pray that they will be strengthened in their faith and protected by God."
Categories: Mission Network News

Treasures in Kenya

Mission Network News - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 5:00am

World Mission is hoping to see 'The Treasure' transform tribal life in Northern Kenya. (Photo courtesy of World Mission)

Kenya (MNN) -- We've all done it: let stuff get in the way of our relationships. We fight about things that don't matter even when we know they don't really matter. And, we know it's wrong. But when you don't know God, where is your reference point? How are you supposed to know these things don't really matter? How are you supposed to grasp that the land and livestock you're fighting over doesn't belong to you or your enemy? That's the struggle for 12 tribes in Northern Kenya where World Mission is hoping to distribute The Treasure in order to help them know Jesus. Greg Kelley recently sent us this information from the field: "We are here in Africa. One of our main areas of Treasure distribution is in northern Kenya where there are about 12 largely-unreached people groups--tribes that border Southern Sudan and Ethiopia and even over toward Somalia.

(Photo by World Mission)

"One of the things we're being told is that the great challenge to impacting these people with the Gospel is the barrier of tribalism and what that represents for history. For generations, literally, these people have been at war, and there have been conflicts and disputes [over] land issues and also with animal issues in the area. "What we're being told is that until they begin to embrace peace with one another, it's such a challenge for the Gospel to go in there.

(Photo by World Mission)

"So, please pray for this area of Northern Kenya, as the Word of God goes forth through The Treasure and the various languages, that the people just put down their hostilities toward one another and embrace the idea of loving one another in the name of Jesus so that the Gospel can go forth." In addition to prayer, you can also partner with World Mission financially here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration ruled Unconstitutional

WGRC News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:32pm

President Obama’s executive action on immigration is unconstitutional says, U.S. District Judge of Pennsylvania Arthur Schwab. The Christian Post says, Schwab made the conclusion yesterday in a 38-page opinion on the criminal case of an undocumented Honduran immigrant, who was charged in federal court with unlawful re-entry after he was arrested earlier this year in Pennsylvania for drunk driving. Schwab wrote, President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore, is unconstitutional. He said, Obama’s Executive Action on immigration goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination.

Categories: Local News

Ban on audio and video in Lycoming County Court House

WGRC News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:29pm

Lycoming County Commissioners are talking about banning cellphones and electronic recording devices from the county courthouse. County officials say it would better prevent the unauthorized taking of photos, videos and audio in courtrooms. Any individual who attempts to enter the courthouse with a cellphone and is not authorized to do so will be denied entry. Exceptions would be made for court employees, law enforcement officers, attorneys and agency workers who regularly do business there.

Categories: Local News

Investigation continues in Kimball death

WGRC News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:28pm

The investigation continues into the shooting death of 40 year old Ty Kimble of Montoursville. Kimball was shot inside a car along Warrensville Road early Sunday morning. He was in the car with his girlfriend Sherri Scarantino, when the two allegedly got into a fight. Kimball allegedly was striking and trying to choke the woman before she shot him. No charges have been filed as of yet.

Categories: Local News

Russell Moore on Vatican Trip: World's Religious Leaders Optimistic About Their Fight Against the Sexual Revolution

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 3:06pm
Leaders from most of the world's major religious groups who gathered at the Vatican last month for a conference on marriage left optimistic that they can win their fight against the forces of the sexual revolution emanating from the West, Dr. Russell Moore said.
Categories: Christian Post

Making a Commitment

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:58am
Although it has been more than three decades, I still remember clearly the day I was joined in marriage to my wife, Cathe. She walked down the aisle looking beautiful. I, on the other hand, resembled Jeremiah Johnson with my shoulder-length hair and big beard.
Categories: Christian Post

Evangelical Leaders Look to Prevent the Deaths of 300,000 Women in Child Birth Each Year at Micah Summit; Reflect on World Poverty Being Reduced by 50 Percent

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:19am
The Micah Summit, an event that reflects on the progress of the Millennium Declaration made by the U.N. in 2000 which vowed to solve issues in the world such as poverty and hunger, hosted its Celebration and Sorrow event at the Church Center in New York City last week.
Categories: Christian Post

John Piper to Young Believer: Be Confident That You Belong to God; Don't Count on Good Deeds

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:06am
Pastor John Piper told a young Christian wondering if her relationship with the Heavenly Father is healthy that God wants her to feel rest assured that she belongs to Him. Good deeds, he stressed, won't lead to acceptance from God.
Categories: Christian Post

Minister Will Bowen Writes As God for New Devotional; 'Writing for God Seemed Arrogant'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 9:46am
Will Bowen knew that he might raise an eyebrow or two when he decided to portray himself as God in his new devotional book, "To: You Love, God," but the minister decided to move forward with the idea in hopes that he can help recharge some spiritual batteries.
Categories: Christian Post

Evangelical Leaders Ponder America's Race Problem: Is the Multiethnic Church the Solution?

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:10am
Evangelical pastors and leaders agreed during a panel discussion livestreamed on Tuesday from the historic Lorraine Motel and National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis about the need for the church in America to be more centered on the Gospel and not be swayed by the media when it comes to racially charged issues currently confronting the nation. Meanwhile the leader of a multi-ethnic church plant movement watching the conference said that it's long past time for only dialogue about race within the local church, and it's time to see results.s.
Categories: Christian Post

She gave out of her poverty

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Food for the Hungry)

Thailand (FH) -- There is, perhaps, no story that reflects the true spirit of Christmas more than the one found in Mark 12:41-44, the story of the Widow’s Mite. The key to the quality of her giving was summed up best when Jesus said, “The others gave out of their wealth, but she gave out of her poverty.” Frequently, we look at our financial situation and feel that the paltry amount we might be able to give would be meaningless, unable to bless anyone. The truth is: what we give may bless people in ways we have never even considered. Working in Asia during the aftermath of one of the world’s most horrific tsunamis of all time, Food for the Hungry (FH) staff were greatly moved by the church in a small agriculture town in northern Thailand. Members took up an offering to help those in need and collected a grand total of $7.00 and a dozen of eggs. They weren’t worried about what they didn’t have; they gave what they did have! To those individuals who were putting in 20+ hours a day helping those victimized by the tsunami, the gift of eggs impressed them more than the five-figure donations they received from others. While we may be able to give only a little, FH is blessed by the cumulative effect of dedicated people who give all they can. Together, you provide much more than you may have imagined. And, if you prefer to give a tangible gift rather than money, take a look at Food for the Hungry's Gift Catalog. It contains much-needed items that will bless others while fitting into even the tightest of budgets, including: 1. Mosquito Nets: For only $6.00, you can help protect a child from deadly malaria-bearing mosquitoes and a host of other creepy crawlies. 2. Hope Packs: Your gift of $4.00 will provide a student with school supplies, including pens, paper, notebooks, and other items that will allow children to develop their God-given skills and talents. As we prepare to share the Christmas season, let's take just a moment and share our comparative bounty with those in parts of the world who have so far less than we do!
Categories: Mission Network News

Joy for India: a matching campaign for children in India

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am
India (MNN) -- There are many ways to do Christmas a little differently this year.

Mission India presents the Gospel
to children and adults in India in a holistic way.
(Photo by Mission India)

Mission India has an interesting approach. They're encouraging you to be an ambassador for Jesus to children in India. How? It's pretty simple. They're calling it "Joy for India." First of all, you can print off a Bible verse coloring page from their Web site, color it, and send it to Mission India so that it can be given to a child in India. The second step is to create a giving page as a family. Here you invite your friends to help you bless India's kids with a holistic presentation of the Gospel. Through the month of December, all these gifts will be matched. Finally, you can get resources that will teach you more about global missions and what life is like in India. Todd VanEk of Mission India says, "It's just a great way to encourage the heart of giving in our kids. At this time of year when our culture is so focused on getting, it's a real tool that we as families can use to lift up the great commission and really talk about that as a family."

Color a verse page and send it to
a child in India to let them know you're thinking of them.
(Photo by Mission India)

Mission India hopes that this project will encourage life transformation so that both the giver and the receiver will make Christ the center of their life. Not only are you doing something different this Christmas, but you're sharing the meaning of Christmas--namely Jesus--with children in India. VanEk says this project is part of what it can look like to be obedient. He says, "The #1 reason that anyone should get involved in this is from the Gospel standpoint: Jesus gives the great commission to go and make disciples of all nations." Find out how to get involved by visiting their project page here. The connection point for Mission India to share the Gospel is through their children's Bible clubs. If you'd simply like to give to the matching fund, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Boko Haram cannot stop Christmas

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am
Nigeria (VOM/MNN) -- The commercialized version of Christmas that has taken root so firmly in the West has little to offer people who are suffering. But when Jesus birth is being celebrated in an appropriate and reverent way, then Christmas means everything--even to victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Late last month, Voice of the Martyrs brought Christmas to Christian families in Borno. Dozens of children clapped and sang as a Christmas celebration began in a Maiduguri church. Although they were among the thousands of Christians who fled Islamic extremist violence in northern Nigeria, inside there were smiles and songs. The late November celebration was held to distribute Bibles and aid to Christian families in Borno state’s capital city who fled attacks on their churches, homes, and villages. Some of the families receiving the aid now live in makeshift tents set up around the perimeter of the Maiduguri church compound.

(Photo by VOM)

In mid-September, Boko Haram militants surrounded and besieged the city of two million people. Many of the roads into the city were impassible, and neighboring cities were overrun by the Islamist group. Nigeria’s military intervened in Maidurguri, but conflict in the region has not ended. Tens of thousands of Christians in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states have been forced to flee the violence. When Boko Haram attacks, those who aren’t killed flee into the bush, leaving behind their homes. Insurgents steal food, livestock, and anything of value, and armed men guard the village to prevent villagers from returning to reclaim their property. Villagers are then forced to live as refugees in surrounding areas, hoping that they will someday be able to return to their homes. As the Christians at the church gathered, they began by joining in prayer for the people of Maiduguri as well as those throughout northern Nigeria. VOM workers from Nigeria told the believers that Christians all over the world have heard about the violence. “You are not left alone, and they are sharing your pain with you,” they said. The day included activities for both adults and children. Some of the widows and children in the group performed songs, focusing on all that Jesus had done. Then the distribution began. The gifts included much-needed food staples like rice, beans, noodles, and milk. Children also received soccer balls, coloring books, school supplies, and a children’s Bible. With no end to the violence in site and thousands of believers displaced after repeated violence, VOM continues to provide aid throughout northern Nigeria. Click here to support VOM's efforts in Nigeria.
Categories: Mission Network News

Peshawar school attack deadliest since 2007

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

This is a logo owned by APSACS Secretariat for Army Public Schools & Colleges System.

Pakistan (MNN) -- More than 140 people, mostly students between the ages of 12 and 16, lost their lives yesterday when six Taliban suicide bombers attacked a military school in Peshawar. "What is so strange is that even the Taliban spokesman, as he was saying it's a revenge attack for the army offensive, he also said, 'Our suicide bombers have instructions not to harm the children, but only the target army personnel'," says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI). This was the fourth terrorist attack against a school in 2014, he adds. According to BBC News, Taliban suicide bombers scaled the walls of Peshawar's Army Public School and Degree College Tuesday morning and entered the school with intent to kill. Four suicide bombers detonated their devices, while the remaining two were shot by Pakistani security forces while holding students and teachers hostage. While yesterday's attack was exceptionally bloody, Pakistan is no stranger to terrorist violence. Last year's twin suicide bombing outside the All Saints Church in Peshawar killed more than 80 and left hundreds wounded. Since 2007, there have been at least 31 major attacks in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press; yesterday's was the deadliest. "All these parents and families are talking against Islam now. Our national director there, he says, 'This is such a ripe time to share the Lord's peace and comfort'," shares Allen.

For all places of worship - whether indoors or outdoors - Christians remove their shoes to indicate the space is holy ground. Typically, men sit on one side of the meeting area (or the front) and women sit on the opposite side (or the back).
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)

FMI supports three evangelists in the Peshawar area; 26 Muslims living there recently placed their faith in Christ and are preparing for baptism now. Some of FMI's greatest evangelistic work in 2014 has occurred in Peshawar. Pray the evangelical leaders who are responding to this tragedy will have chances to share Christ with disillusioned Muslims. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan are usually the first to gain media coverage, but there's another form of violence that deserves just as much attention. "We get concerned about terror groups…but this is a little more insidious because this just happens at 'Main Street' level, among neighbors," suggests Allen. "It gets very, very common, and it has disastrous effects." Read about a daily threat to Pakistani Christians here. While you might not be able to change Pakistani laws, or fly to Peshawar to counsel families, there are a couple of things you can do. First, take the issue to the Lord in prayer. Pray that families who've lost loved ones "don't give up and they don't despair", Allen suggests. Pray for softened and open hearts. "God's love wants to shower down on these people, so pray that they would be receptive to the Christians who intercept them." Secondly, help Pakistani believers through FMI. You can help FMI meet the needs of a church leader and his family through monthly sponsorship. Or, you can help believers respond to spiritual needs in Peshawar by supporting evangelistic outreach.

Tribal Art Bus collecting commuters on the Gora Kabrustan Stop in Peshawar. (Photo cred: zerega via Flickr) CC2.0

"Earlier this year, we sponsored the production of Scripture on audio CDs in the tribal language [of] this region," says Allen. "We've already distributed ALL of the copies that we have…[it's a] great opportunity to share the "JESUS" Film, other things for these people who are hurting and searching for real answers. "Many are saying, 'Islam is not the way'." Connect with FMI here for more on these opportunities. "We give and minister in Jesus' name, and we actually minister TO Jesus when we take care of our Christian brothers and sisters," Allen adds.
Categories: Mission Network News

Haiti election stalemate brings crisis

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo Laurent Lamothe courtesy Wikipedia)

Haiti (MNN) -- A political standoff in Haiti cost Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe his job. Lamothe stepped down in response to pressure from Haitians angry about graft, the slowness of disaster recovery,and ongoing poverty. A caretaker government is wading through a political standoff that threatens to bog down a long overdue January 12 local and national election. The country is awaiting word on the successor President Michel Martelly will choose as a replacement for Lamothe. That decision is expected Wednesday, under a timetable set by a special commission last week. In an effort to resolve a dispute over delayed legislative and municipal elections, Martelly also accepted that commission's other recommendations which included the resignation of the entire cabinet, the head of the Supreme Court, and an interim electoral council. Meanwhile, protests are getting more violent, even as protestors also demand Martelly's resignation. Eva DeHart of For Haiti With Love says, "There are manifestations in all parts of Haiti now, and it's really sad. Like all political scenes, there are two sides. There appears to be a government bottle-neck between two branches, one trying to move forward and the other sitting on the bills, or motions." At least one person has died in the protests. DeHart says some of the demonstrators appear to be paid, adding that the damage they're causing isn't doing much to endear people to their cause. "These are obviously not people with Haiti’s best interests at heart, or they wouldn’t be burning tires on their newly-paved streets and destroying the advances that have been made in the last few months." Manifestations have since spread to Gonaives and Cap Haitien. Unlike those in Port-au-Prince, they've remained smaller and calmer. "I think that we probably have the rain to thank for that. No matter how upset they get or how much money they're offered, there are those who don't want to go out in the rain. So, I think probably the level of manifestations in Cap Haitien will stay down as long as it's raining." For Haiti With Love's clinic will remain open, adds DeHart, in spite of the chaos. "We're just trying to keep the things of the mission as stable as possible with the chaos around us. The clinic operates every day. We will take care of those hurt in the manifestations, questions unasked." Plus, life goes on because the margin of survival is thin. "We have a container of food coming in. We pray for the safe arrival of that and the safe passage up to our headquarters. [We are] ust basically continuing on with what we are doing and maintaining the focus of serving the poor in God's name." A note to add: For Haiti with Love has been serving Cap Haitien officially since 1982. Their main headquarters building has been a reliable source of help for over three decades. However, things are beginning to show their age now. The chaos of the area may be a factor, but DeHart says they have repairs that need to be made, demonstrations or not. A hotel's retaining wall came down and took out FHL's water line from the reservoir. Right now, they don’t know if the pipe was buried or washed away. Then, the ministry lost its inverter, and the generator is showing its age, too. Finally, on top of this list of critical needs: "Our headquarters roof is leaking after several days of non-stop rain. If anyone has any of their philanthropic budgets left for year-end gifts, we could use help with the roof project." The growing "To Do" list shows that regardless of the politics of Port-au-Prince, life goes on, and the people of Haiti need both help and hope. Click here to read more about the various ministries FHWL is involved with and how the story of Christ figures into all of that.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Lower gas prices are hurting the Fracking Industry

WGRC News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 1:45pm

Fracking is a modern American success story. The technique for extracting oil from shale has made America the world’s leading oil producer. Lower energy prices have been an early Christmas present for consumers, but they also hurt companies that drill for oil. And with oil prices now below $60 a barrel and likely to go lower, fracking is facing a challenge. Analysts say, Saudi Arabia and OPEC are trying to use the low world oil prices as a weapon to kill off fracking as an industry by making the process too expensive compared to the price of oil. They don’t like the competition from the U.S. They think if they drop the price, they’ll be able to cause enough pain and push some of them out of business, and they’ll be able to raise the price back up.

Categories: Local News

Accepting Our Inheritance

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:40pm
The word inheritance usually brings to mind the money and real estate handed down from one generation to another. But God has an even greater legacy to share with His children—one that they are given the moment they enter His family.
Categories: Christian Post

How Jesus' Servant Heart, Humble Love Came to Oaxacan Migrant Farm Workers Through Clean Feet

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 9:26am
Just under a two-hour drive south of the Tijuana, Mexico border, Christmas gifts and a strong message that Jesus came to serve the poor, were delivered by a group of Christians on a recent weekend missions trip that included washing the feet of Oaxacan migrant farm workers living in sparse homes inside a colonia.
Categories: Christian Post

Drug Dealer, Pimp-Turned-Preacher: We Can't Wait for Racism to Go Away to Change Perception of Black Men

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 7:59am
Career criminal-turned-minister John Turnipseed said the image of African American men as violent troublemakers has to change so when incidents like Ferguson occur, the public will fight for them.
Categories: Christian Post