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Charges recommended for AG Kane

WGRC News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 1:10pm

The state’s attorney general may face charges of perjury according to documents released yesterday. A statewide grand jury has concluded there are reasonable grounds to charge Kathleen Kane with perjury, false swearing, official oppression and obstruction. Kane is accused of leaking grand jury testimony and other documents stemming from a 2009 investigation. Kane maintains her innocence saying that a special prosecutor found nothing illegal and instead had to make things up.

Categories: Local News

Higher taxes in Williamsport

WGRC News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 1:09pm

The Williamsport Area School Board voted this week to authorize applying for a new tax index exception which could allow for a rise in district taxes. The district is looking for the possibility of a 2.7 increase in taxes to raise an extra $400,000 dollars.

Categories: Local News

March For Life

WGRC News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 1:09pm

Up to a Half a million people, mostly young are rallying against abortion for unborn children on the National Mall in Washington, DC today in what has become the largest ongoing civil rights march in American history.

Categories: Local News

Faith Crashers: Why Does God Kill People in the Old Testament?

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:31pm
There is a growing refrain among non-theists: reading the Bible made me an atheist. The saying commonly refers to Old Testament passages that puzzle non-believers and Christians alike. Most puzzling are the accounts in which God allows the death and destruction of humanity as He did with the flood in Genesis and bloody wars against the Canaanites detailed in Deuteronomy.
Categories: Christian Post

Megachurch Pastor Perry Noble Rebuked by South Carolina Baptists for Calling 10 Commandments '10 Promises'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 11:18am
Perry Noble, pastor of a South Carolina megachurch, was rebuked by a Southern Baptist leader in South Carolina for calling the 10 Commandments "10 promises" and for other "problematic positions and statements."
Categories: Christian Post

Changing demographics of evangelicals in Ecuador

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo credit: ReachBeyond)

Ecuador (Reach Beyond) -- Upbeat music and thought-provoking comments by youthful voices in Spanish are some of the attention-catching sounds you’ll hear on ControlZ.fm, a digital outreach of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) in Quito, Ecuador, also home of the world’s pioneer missionary radio station, dating back to 1931. New energy, new enthusiasm, new communication tools, new expressions, and labels in a new culture are some of the realities facing the next generation of Christ-following media specialists at Control Z, a media platform launched nearly three years ago that has embraced a new era of broadcasting amid a fast-changing culture. Using the word new implies change, and that’s exactly what’s happening at Control Z. Using the slogan, “Undo your boredom,” the Web site is named after the popular computer keyboard function known as CTRL+Z. It’s a feature that will “undo” what has been created on the computer, allowing operators to take a step back and rethink what they’re doing. Bryan Rubio, a member of the Control Z design team, said the Webpage features an online radio link which is a 24/7 music format. “The music we play on this radio link is both Christian and non-Christian,” he said, clarifying that any secular music on the site is carefully screened, not containing any foul language or blatantly sexual or anti-Christian themes. “Video is just one of the methods we use to try to reach the Latin-American youth,” he added. “Our Internet page also has articles that cover everything from interesting and curious news, to life-application devotionals.” The Control Z team also maintains both a Facebook page and a Twitter account to promote content on the site. “Something that cannot be tracked online are our community outreaches,” Rubio continued. “We try to promote our brand at events such as concerts at schools or other venues where we gather young people and present a topic relevant to their lives. This serves as a direct ministry and as a hook to attract more users to our page.” Although the numbers were off to a slow start, efforts to promote content on Control Z have seen steady growth. “At each of our events, we reach between 200 and 500 young people,” Rubio recounted. “Our Webpage reaches about 3,000 users per month. The number of those who watch our videos varies--from a few hundred to more than 1,200 views.” Two months ago, ControlZ.fm reworked its Web page, placing the content more strategically to boost viewership. The changes worked. Google Analytics for November 2014 showed that visitors spent an average of 1½ minutes on the site, up from just 36 seconds per visit to the site two months earlier. “Also, the majority of visitors are there for the first time. One major goal is now to increase repeat visits to build community and trust,” explained Curt Cole, vice president of Global Ministries. Team member Jimmy Sarango said the digital outreach has sparked numerous comments from young listeners, many looking for advice or to express gratefulness for the programs. One listener who described himself as a “revolutionary for peace, crazy for Jesus” thanked the programmers for “proclaiming Christ in a super cool way. Keep moving forward.” Another listener expressed concern for a friend who faces many family issues and tries to cope with the stress by cutting her wrists and arms. “How can I help my friend to stop doing that?” he asked. A young listener in Barranquilla, Colombia, described the conference that staff members held in his city recently as a “great blessing…. I will keep praying without ceasing for your ministry.” Glen Volkhardt, a former missionary with HCJB Global (now Reach Beyond) who led the mission’s Broadcasting Division in the early 1990s, said the contemporary sound at Control Z reflects the changing demographics in the fast-growing evangelical church in Ecuador. “I remember the discussions about the ‘young, urban, secular’ masses of Latin America,” he explained. “This came out of research [at the time]. We were not surprised by the ‘young’ part. It would have been hard to live in Latin America and miss that. But we were surprised to find research saying that the region was 73% urbanized, and we were surprised that ‘secular’ characterized Latin America more than ‘Catholic.’” Research conducted in the late 1980s showing the rapid growth of the evangelical church in Ecuador led to changes in the broadcasting content. “When we found ‘young, urban, secular’ to be a handy shorthand for describing Latin American demographics of the early 1990s, it became the target profile of the ALAS satellite network that we carried on HCJB-FM,” said Volkhardt, now serving as CEO of Paraclete Mission Group. Surveys taken at the time showed that typical listeners to the station were from an older generation, explained Anabella Cabezas, the ministry’s media director in Ecuador. “The average listener was a woman in her 60s. In response, our leadership decided to make changes to attract a younger audience.” From the frontier, pioneering efforts of international shortwave radio, format changes began to attract a much younger audience. HCJB-FM was reprogrammed, moving from a classical music format aimed at the upper class to one that included more contemporary Christian music [with a broader listenership]. As a result, the average age of listeners dropped to 35. Then, in an effort to reach an even younger audience more effectively, the mission launched ControlZ.fm in 2012. The ministry began recruiting younger, dynamic, Latin America staff such as Rubio, Sarango, Fernando Arroyo, and Fernanda Quezada, along with missionary Matt Parker. Volkhardt concluded that he has “every confidence that the Lord is directing current leadership in the changes they are making, and that they will reach the new audiences they are trying to influence for our Lord.”
Categories: Mission Network News

Worst flooding in history hits Malawi

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

Malawi (MNN) -- Imagine that more than one third of your country has been declared a "disaster zone." How would you respond? Where would you go? That’s what the people in Malawi are wondering. Over the past several weeks, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar have been hit by severe flooding, with Malawi being the worst. The southeastern African nations have had buckets of rain in the last few weeks from the Tropical Cyclone Bansi. On January 13, Malawi got more than six inches of rain in 24 hours. According to BBC News, over 200,000 people are displaced, and more than 170 people have been killed. CNN cited a statement released by the Malawian Government saying more than 300 people were saved by helicopter and 1,300 more by boat. This is the worst flooding in Malawi's history, according to the report. It has not only dismantled lives and homes, but crops as well. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and much of the population works as farmers. Now they are left wondering where their next meal will come from. CNN cited Doctors without Borders who believe around 20,000 people at the southern tip are cut off from the rest of the country without food nd healthcare. World Renew is working through church partners in Mozambique and Malawi to give displaced persons the relief they need. In Malawi, they are reaching out to people in the southern tip by providing water purification supplies, tarps, small household items, and mosquito nets. In Mozambique, World Renew is providing food, seeds, farming tools, and water purification supplies to about 1,000 families. In each country, they show the compassion and love of Jesus while providing services. They share how Christ impacted suffering people and how He is now pushing them to help others in distress. In the next few days, World Renew workers are going to head to the African countries to work side-by-side with their church partners. They could provide much more to displaced people with a little help. Click here to help World Renew in their efforts.
Categories: Mission Network News

Who is in control of Yemen?

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/Brian Harr)

Yemen (MNN) -- The Yemeni government say Shiite Houthi rebels stormed the Presidential Palace and attacked the Prime Minister's residence yesterday in a coup. The rebels deny that, claiming they have not removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from office, although they maintained a guard over his home on Wednesday. If they're not seizing power, what do they want? David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, says the Houthi want equal rights. "They've been escalating their attacks. They seem reasonable in what they're asking because they have been oppressed, being a minority group." The rebel leader went public with demands yesterday for constitutional changes that would increase Houthi influence in the management of Yemen. Yemen is the poorest Arab country with about a tenth of the wealth belonging to neighboring Oman and Saudi Arabia. Widespread corruption, unemployment, poverty, and violence are blamed for the mismanagement. Right now, nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. The Houthi finally had enough. The trouble with their uprising is that it taps right into one of the oldest feuds in the world: Shia v. Sunni Islam. Curry says, "There's no doubt that the extremist Shiite group has gained some leverage. I think that through that, you could say that Iran, which is a part of this--they seem to be, at least tangentially, playing a supporting role to this group--has gained some leverage in it all." Add a weak government in, and the balance of power could tilt explosively. "It seems to be playing out similar to Tunisia and Egypt where you have these weak governments that have been propped up for all the wrong reasons." Curry goes on to add that, "Really, you have two extremist groups here that are battling for control of the country," and Christians are caught in the middle of the whole thing. Yemen is #14 on the 2015 Open Doors World Watch List, a ranking of the world's 50 worst countries known for the persecution of Christians. The Constitution of Yemen declares Islam as the State religion, and Sharia--the Islamic law--as the source of all legislation. The government forbids conversion from Islam and proselytizing of Muslims. When a Muslim becomes a Christian, he or she often faces persecution from family and the government. That there are Muslim-Background Believers at all implies that the story of Jesus is still being shared. However, many MBB remain quiet about their faith and are very cautious about expressing it at all. Open Doors helps partners in the region. "Are there people who want to own a Bible in Yemen? Yes. Are there people who want to read a Bible? Yes. Are there people who want to believe and follow Jesus? Yes. Do they do so under tremendous pressure in secret? Yes." While practical support to the church is important, strategically, helping the church grow and mature is vital. Local believers need good role-models and Christians with the capacity to disciple believers and help them follow Jesus. Another need would be strong fellowship among local believers. The risk of being betrayed or exposed by other Yemenis is a real one and cannot be overlooked. This may hinder the growth of trust and strong fellowships. With Yemen's unpredictable future, please keep praying. "Pray for the Yemeni Christians, that they would have Bibles, that they would come to faith, that they would be protected. Just lift them up in prayer, and then, support projects in these regions--if you possibly can--that will help the church to grow and flourish and be a place of salt and light in this community."
Categories: Mission Network News

AIM transforming communities with Kireka Home

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am
Uganda (MNN) -- God is doing some really cool stuff in Uganda. Through Africa Inland Mission, God is changing the hearts of people toward children with disabilities.

Kireka homes teaches children skills they can use into adulthood. (Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission)

Julie, a long-term missionary with AIM, is heavily involved in this work. "I had the privilege of being born into AIM," she says. She's also a 5th-generation missionary with AIM: her great, great-grandma was a missionary in Kenya. Julie has a passion for showing children with disabilities that they are an important part of the Body of Christ. In some areas of the world, including places in Uganda, there is a misunderstanding toward children with disabilities. "A lot of people think that people with disabilities have been cursed, or their parents have been cursed, or they're demon-possessed, or they're just seen as a real shame in society for the most part," Julie explains, reminding us that not everyone in Uganda thinks this way. However, in places where witchcraft is practiced, adopting the belief that children with disabilities are cursed is a natural tendency. "Because of that, a lot of times they are not treated very well because there's an element of shame involved," Julie says. "Kids with disabilities--I've seen them tied, I've seen them locked in rooms. Often they're the last ones who are clothed or fed." Julie believes that communities and families who do this aren't really sure what else to do with the children. "They are ashamed of them and they don't understand the biblical truth of who they are in the Kingdom of God." A place for change

(Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission)

In Kampala, there is a government school called Kireka Home. It is a safe place for children with mental disabilities and other disabilities to grow and learn, and most importantly, a place to be loved. There are about 80 students at this boarding school from all over the country--some even coming from other countries because services like this are rare. The school helps students with their education and daily life skills that will help them when they become adults. Julie notes that there are other places in Uganda where programs like this are being started. The attitude is starting to change. So, how exactly does Kireka Home help kids? It starts with letting them be children. Julie says, "I think one of the big things that often shocks onlookers is that these kids can have fun. They're happy, and they interact with each other. It just helps people start to see that they are people, just like we are, and can learn and have fun and interact with each other." A second way the school helps disabled kids is by teaching the families and communities of these children who they really are. Julie says it's rewarding to help the adults figure out a more biblical understanding of who these kids are: "whether it's at Kireka Home or in churches around the country or different schools that are working with these kid.s That they were made in the image of God is a big concept for them to grasp," says Julie. When the concept is grasped, it makes way for them to learn more about Jesus and His purpose for them. It also destroys the worldview of shame, giving both the families and their children a new sense of freedom, which Julie says is her favorite thing to see. She says, "When you see a kid or a family or a community make that shift from being in total bondage and shame and fear, to being free, to being loving, to being joyful again and to not having that fear of the spiritual (the witchcraft piece of things), it is a beautiful thing to watch." Ways you can help For this freedom to take place, there has to be a transformation in people's hearts. Julie says without your prayer, the transformation won't happen. That's where you come in. You can pray for the transformation of communities and families and children after they come to know Christ. You can pray for that freedom to come over children with disabilities and those taking care of them. You can pray that with that freedom, these people will share Christ with others. Learn more about Kireka Home here. If you'd like to help the development of programs like Kireka Home, you can give online. Click here and select the Other folder; then select subfolder Other4. When you get to the "Gift Comment" field, designate the gift to "Special Needs Development." If you'd like to send your gift in the mail, you can find the address here. In the same way, designate your gift for the "Special Needs Development" fund. Julie reminds us that every member of the Body of Christ is needed to help it function correctly. That is why she wants to make sure that people with disabilities are included. She says, "One thing that I am just so excited and passionate about is helping the Body of Christ--the Church with a capital C--to be whole, to be complete."
Categories: Mission Network News

Constitution craze continues on decision day

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy: U.S. Pacific Air Forces via Flickr)

Nepal (MNN) -- It's "decision day" in Nepal. Today marks the appointed deadline for a draft constitution, but turmoil continues to surround this long-awaited document. The process first began in 2008, when Nepal changed from Hindu kingdom to democratic republic. Deadlines have come and gone, and power has repeatedly changed hands among political parties. In the run-up to today's deadline, pressures surfaced when lawmakers got violent in parliament, throwing chairs and microphones. Whether officials can agree on a new constitution or not, and what exactly that ruling document entails, will undoubtedly trigger even more ripple effects. As noted in a previous report, Nepal could fall into crisis mode if no agreement is reached by political leaders. Maoist government officials have already called for a nationwide strike, resulting in violent protests and chaos. "In spite of what happens in the next few days, with the government collapsing or surviving or whatever, God's work will continue," notes Audio Scripture Ministries India-Asia Director, JP Sundararajan. "We just hope the door stays open so we can actually be a blessing to those already on the field." Please keep Nepal's leaders and its people in your prayers today. Pray for violence to stop escalating, and ask the Lord to protect ASM's contacts in Nepal. Bringing Jesus to Nepal

(Photo courtesy: ASM via Facebook)

Nepal's long history as a Hindu Kingdom has resulted in lots of opposition to Christianity. "The main concern for a long time, for us, has been the closed door that we've always found in Nepal," Sundararajan states. "But right now, Nepal is probably one of the thirstiest regions in the world, as far as God's Word is concerned." According to Operation World, 93% of Nepal's 30 million people have yet to hear about Jesus. "We are sensing from the believers there in Nepal that they need to get more Scripture…into the hands of their people. So, we're trying to mobilize our resources and get there as quickly as we're able," says Sundararajan. It hasn't always been easy, though. "We have had some problems with a prior translation of the Nepali Bible, and so we've been working with another organization--The Trinitarian Bible Society--who graciously let us record their translation of the Nepali Bible," explains Sundararajan. "It was just a few weeks ago that we had completed and edited a recording of the New Testament, and already we are getting a TON of feedback from pastors as well as the translator that was involved in this work. People are very excited about the imminent release." Help needed

(Photo courtesy WCOI via ASM)

World Cassette Outreach of India (WCOI), ASM's ministry partner in India, mails audio players filled with the Nepali New Testament into Nepal. Shipping restrictions, however, make it hard to keep up with demand, Sundararajan shares. "We're kind of, basically, sending a trickle of audio Bibles into a place where they expect a flood of it," he says. You can help ASM send more Nepali audio Bibles here. "We hope to be releasing this New Testament in the next few weeks, and we are looking forward to what 2015 will do through this recording in the churches in Nepal," Sundararajan says. More about ASM's work here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Jesus Revealed by Jason Nelson

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 5:00am
Worship leader, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and soulful contemporary singer/songwriter Jason Nelson burst onto the scene in 2005 with his independent albums, I Shall Live, Brand New Day, and Place of Worship in 2008. As his ongoing ascent to the forefront of Gospel music continued, Jason penned the title track "Thirsty" for Marvin Sapp's #1 album release of the same name. In 2012 Jason signed with Verity/RCA Inspiration and released Shifting The Atmosphere, which debuted at #3 on the Gospel Album chart and featured two Top 5 Gospel Radio hits, the title track Shifting The Atmosphere and Nothing Without You. His major[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

North Point Music: Beginnings by North Point Music

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 5:00am
North Point Music continues its tradition of creating accessible, innovative worship music with the label's latest project, North Point Music: Beginnings. The double disc, available Jan. 20, 2015, showcases the best worship offerings from popular North Point Music albums and artists. Produced by two-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer Nathan Nockels (Matt Redman, Laura Story, Passion) and Steve Fee, Beginnings comprises 21 total tracks. The compilation is North Point Music's first, designed to bring together fan favorites from both past and present. Disc one, titled "Then," highlights music from previous North Point Music live releases, including North Point Live, North Point Live: Awake,[...]
Categories: Christian Music News