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Talks between North Korea and South Korea?

Mission Network News - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am

(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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am

(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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo cred: Buckner)

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 many of 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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
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

God Is With Us by Jamie Nunnally

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Back to the Start by Martin Smith

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
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 - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 5:00am
[...]
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

October crash kills Pottsville man

WGRC News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 2:06pm

A Pottsville man has died from injuries he received when he was hit by a vehicle earlier in October. The Republican Herald says 53 year old Randall Kechula was seriously hurt in the crash on October 4th. He died Saturday night at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest, from his injuries. He was on on foot, and was crossing Route 61 when he was hit by a vehicle being driven north by a 57 year old Pottsville man. The truck hit Kechula.

Categories: Local News

Pastor Mark Driscoll's Resignation Prompts Some of Mars Hill Church's Former Leadership to Return

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 1:33pm
Former leaders from Seattle-based Mars Hill Church may return to serve the congregation, now that Mark Driscoll, the megachurch's founder and former head pastor, has resigned, according to recent local news reports.
Categories: Christian Post

Living Triumphantly

Christian Post - Living - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 9:20am
Peter is an inspiration for us today. God does not choose servants who are solid rocks with no cracks or crevices. Instead, He selects people who have weaknesses, failures, and a need to be forgiven repeatedly.
Categories: Christian Post

Specific giving counters Hallowgivingsmas

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/Soul Motor)

International (MNN) -- If you walk into a store right now in the United States, you see evidence of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all mishmashed together. The retail creep on the buying seasons for gift-giving opportunities is so prevalent that people are starting to look for more meaningful alternatives. One of those alternatives is charity gift catalogs. The items shown in these catalogs give shoppers the chance to buy a sheep for a family or to educate a girl instead of buying a Cuisinart or an iPhone. Gift catalogs are attractive because they're almost always "gifts in action." People want to see exactly how their gift will effect change. Far Corners Missions President Gary Bishop explains that that desire for connection is normal. "One of the questions people ask is, 'What's the greatest gift that's ever been given?' People say, 'It's life itself, it's (one thing or another).' But I think all believers would agree that the greatest gift that's ever been given is Jesus." When put into that context, sharing that gift becomes part of a mandate because it's all about the Gospel. "It's the same thing that Jesus would do: loving and caring for people. That's what the Giving Book does. It gives people the chance to do a specific thing for [people] on the other side of the world that have no way to provide for themselves, to give them an important gift."

(Photo Giving Book 2013, courtesy Far Corners Missions)

Through national partners, Far Corners is able to resource nine different countries: China, England, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, and Thailand. Bishop uses India as an example of what a difference a single gift can make. "You can give a Telagu Bible to somebody in India for $4. But you can also give them a water buffalo, and that costs $1300." Or for $6, someone could ensure that a daycare child gets meals for a month. Bishop observes, "If we go to McDonald's, we would spend almost $6 per person. You can feed a daycare child in India for a whole month for that $6. Or for $6, you can give a widow a 5kg bag of rice." From health care to job training to spiritual equipping, Far Corners has a variety of ways to immediately impact lives. "Other people pass by them every day and don't concern themselves with them, or would do anything to avoid contact with these people. And so their very natural question is, 'Why are doing this for us?'" That question allows the local believer to turn the discussion to the hope of Christ. "That gives us the great opportunity to say, 'It is only because of Jesus' love,' and that allows us to tell them the story of Jesus."

(Photo courtesy Far Corners Missions)

The community at large sees transformation through feeding programs, medical outreaches, rescue operations, and educational programs, along with evangelical activities like church plants and pastoral training. It all goes toward investing in relationships, both now and in the future. "They know that the Church in India is the conduit through which all that comes to them. That's really what we want them to know: God's Church in India is responsible for getting that help to them." All you have to do to get started is request a copy of The Giving Book.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Update on Asia Bibi

Mission Network News - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Pakistan (MNN) -- Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of five children, lost her appeal with the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. It means her death sentence on a blasphemy conviction stands. The Voice of the Martyrs USA says her lawyers now have 30 days to file an appeal with Pakistan's Supreme Court in Islamabad, the highest court in the land. It starts into motion a long appeal process that is expected to take years of more waiting. During the hearing, nearly 2,000 mullahs gathered outside the court to put pressure on the judges. When she learned the outcome, Asia Bibi told VOM contacts, “Please do something. It’s been so long, and I want to be with my children.” Many humanitarian advocates warn that even if the court should rule in Bibi's favor, she may be made an assassination target for Muslim extremists. Bibi has been convicted of blasphemy for drinking from the same bowl of water as Muslims and making derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad. According to the original VOM report: On Friday, June 19, 2009, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for sins, then asked them what Mohammad had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them that Jesus is alive, but Mohammad is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.” She was beaten and later taken into custody, then charged under the blasphemy law. Found guilty of blasphemy in November 2010, this wife and mother has been on death row for almost four years. The court process has been agonizingly slow. Thursday's decision was delayed five times this year. Pray that Asia will not lose heart but would continue to look to Jesus for daily strength and grace. May her worried family members and other loved ones be granted much patience and peace as they support this dear sister in Christ during her time of trial. Pray that God will be present in every detail of preparation for the upcoming hearing so it may go smoothly and result in Asia's freedom from prison. Finally, please also pray for the many other Christians in Pakistan who are facing blasphemy charges or other false allegations because of their love for Jesus Christ.
Categories: Mission Network News