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Pay raises for State Officials

WGRC News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 2:41pm

Pay raises are ready to go for top elected and appointed officials in Pennsylvania State Government. A 1.6% automatic annual cost of living adjustment will go into effect on January 1st for the Governor and members of his cabinet as well as those appointed to various boards and commissions, appellate judges and other elected statewide row offices including legislators. Governor Corbett and his cabinet members have been returning their yearly raises. New governor elect Tom Wolf has already said he will not accept his salary, as well as other perks.

Categories: Local News

Without Question

Christian Post - Living - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:05am
Philip was used to leading others to Jesus because he was obedient. How easily Philip could have argued with the angel who gave him these instructions from the Lord: "Arise and go toward the south." But why? Philip had been preaching in the city of Samaria, and revival was breaking out. And now God was sending him alone into the desert?
Categories: Christian Post

Popular 'Prophecy Expert' and Bible Teacher Suggests Possible Reasons Why America Is MIA in the End Times

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:21am
In "Agents of the Apocalypse,"Dr. David Jeremiah, noted author and Bible teacher, takes a new approach to unpacking what is possibly one of the Bible's most popular yet confusing books — and he recently shared his thoughts on why America seems absent from the Book of Revelation and other prophetic writings regarding the eschaton.
Categories: Christian Post

ISIS could take Pakistan in months

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

An elder of a Pakistani village church. It is estimated that only about 2% of the nation's population claim to be Christian.
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)

Pakistan (MNN) -- While the world watches ISIS continue its stronghold in Syria and Iraq, it's now reaching out into other parts of the region. Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna: population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union. Now, we're hearing from Christian workers in Pakistan that the country may be the next to fall. Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International says, "The Taliban have already sworn allegiance to ISIS. So, it's bound to happen in the next one month to six months." That's not the worst of the problems. "Pakistan is a nuclear power. And if the government or military falls, things will get very bad if the nuclear weapons fall into rouge hands." (Listen to the complete interview with Bruce Allen below)

Congressman Frank Wolf (R) Virginia.

U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf is an advocate for religious freedom around the world. He agrees with Allen. He's puzzled by why nobody is talking about this. "It's just kind of getting out of control, and it's almost like nobody's really doing anything about it." Especially the United States. In the past, the U.S. was a neutralizer. Wolf says those opposed to ISIS are afraid, especially now. "America's credibility, reputation, and strength seem to be--it's painful to say this--at an all-time low around the world. They don't hear the United States speaking out. They don't hear the President speaking out." Ultimately, Congressman Wolf says, "I think the responsibility really rests with the church in the West. We are fundamentally failing, and for the longest period of time the church in the West has been relatively silent." Allen says that's only part of the problem. "We in the West tend to value our comfort, and convenience, and things like that; however, the media plays a part in that. If the church was more aware of what was actually happening, I think they'd get more galvanized." Allen says if ISIS takes over, Christians will face more persecution, and ministries in Pakistan will be forced to close or go underground. That's why your financial support and prayers are needed now. "We want to make sure that before it gets worse, our staff are really prepared to continue serving in the midst of chaos." You can support a pastor for $100 a month, which goes a long way. Click here to help. Also, will you begin talking about these issues on your Facebook page? Start a conversation by posting a link to this story and asking people to respond. Also, begin calling media outlets and letting them know about ISIS in Pakistan. Listen to MNN's Greg Yoder talking with U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Liberia after Ebola faces new normal

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles.

Liberia (MNN) -- Ebola: the crisis swept through West Africa over the course of several months, prompting a global scare. The World Health Organization released figures this week showing that nearly 3,000 Liberians died from Ebola since it surfaced last spring and exploded this summer.  The country bore the brunt of the illness, but now it seems, things are turning a corner. Liberia's president hopes to defeat the dreaded disease by Christmas. While Peggy Maynard, Global Fingerprints Liberia Coordinator, shares some relief at good news, there's a cautionary note. "We're very thankful that the rate of infections does seem to be slowing, and we pray that it will continue. However, I don't want people to think that the crisis in Liberia is over, because it isn't by a long-shot." Ebola has left long-lasting scars in Liberia. "Their economy has been devastated. About half of the people in the country are unemployed still because of the crisis, and they had a high unemployment rate before that. The price of food is still very high." The healthcare system has been decimated because the caregivers paid the ultimate price to help other Ebola victims. "This is going to take many years to replace these healthcare workers and bring their healthcare back up to standard and open the clinics. This is going to be a long recovery even if Ebola is eradicated today."

(Photo courtesy Evangelical Free Church)

Plus, with 3,000 deaths, there's an orphan crisis now. Maynard shares about one of their church partners. "A pastor and his wife both died, and they left eight children orphaned. So they have been taken in by relatives. These children are fortunate to have been taken in. You can imagine the family that already has their own family, probably unemployed, and then suddenly, they have eight more children to take care of." Global Fingerprints is working on family-based solutions within Liberia for the orphans because, says Maynard, the government in Liberia put adoptions on hold 6-8 years ago. "So, adopting these children out of the country is not an option at this point." Another facet of the problem is the fear and stigma that surrounds Ebola in Liberia. "Some of these children are not being accepted by anyone because of the fear of Ebola, and they're left on the streets to fend for themselves. So, organizations are trying to reach out and provide a safe place for these children." They need help, and Global Fingerprints--the child sponsorship wing of the Evangelical Free Church, is stepping in to assist. "We have entered these children into our Global Fingerprints system, and we are trying to find sponsors for them, which will pay for their healthcare, their education, and it'll help the families with food."

(Photo courtesy Evangelical Free Church/Reach Global/Global Fingerprints)

Church partners plan to open a temporary orphanage to get some of these children off the streets. This has been met with such a strong positive response that "church partners in Liberia have a plan to plant 50 new churches by January because they see that this crisis is making people think about their mortality. It's putting them into a position where they feel vulnerable, they're seeking answers about life, and they're open to the Gospel." What can you do? You can provide an avenue for hope to grow. Maynard says first, there's prayer: "Pray for our church partners there who are bravely ministering to people, without regard for their own safety, in order to bring them the hope of the Gospel." Then, there's action: "Our church has set up an Ebola Crisis Response Fund, and that money will be used to meet some for these urgent needs for food and healthcare. Just pray that the crisis will be brought under control." Click here if you can help support the Ebola Crisis Response Fund.
Categories: Mission Network News

Importance of hygiene learned, taught

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Reach Beyond)

West Africa (RBD) -- One lesson taught is another one learned. When staff from the partner Christian radio station in the West African country of Burkina Faso prepared to lead a hygiene lesson in a nearby community, they never imagined it would draw more than 200 people. And they didn’t realize that their words would be translated into two to three languages so everyone could understand. Although unexpected, these realities added to the richness of the training. Beneath the shade trees and bamboo shelters of this rural village, babies fussed and children fidgeted, but everyone was attentive and engaged. Men, women, and children spoke in their native languages as they joined the conversation around posters of daily behaviors, categorizing them as healthy or unhealthy. Volunteers demonstrated effective techniques for hand-washing amid encouragement and laughter from their friends and neighbors. This community meeting took place on the third day of a 4-day course conducted by Sub-Saharan Africa’s community development team that traveled from Ghana in early October. The training was held for staff members from Radio Evangile Développement, Gospel Radio for Development or RED, a partner of Reach Beyond in Burkina Faso. The event focused on hygiene, sanitation practices, and management and maintenance of a clean water project. The goal was to train participants so they can teach these topics in villages where Reach Beyond and RED fund future water projects. To further equip the participants to become teachers themselves, the course also covered principles of community development and the use of interactive lessons to engage adult learners. In one such interactive lesson, learners watch a drama and identify the various ways that diarrheal disease is spread. Using colorful, culturally-appropriate posters, the learners map out pathways of disease transmission. A second set of posters depicts behaviors that stop the spread of disease: hand-washing, boiling water, using a latrine. The learners identify where on the pathways that these behaviors block the transmission of disease and discover the information for themselves as they watch a drama and arrange the posters--an effective strategy when teaching adults. By incorporating a community meeting into the curriculum, the three Reach Beyond trainers were able to see the participants put their learning into practice. Both groups learned from the experience: participants received feedback on their teaching, and trainers gained insight into adapting lessons for different settings. “I think the training was perfect,” wrote one participant. “I learned a lot, and I pray that our good God will help me teach others what I have learned.” “We work with partners because they are the people who live in the country, are part of the culture, and speak the [local] language,” said missionary engineer and trainer Adeline McCartney. More than 60 languages are spoken throughout Burkina Faso, including 6 that are spoken by half a million people or more. And that’s only one of 48 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region. Reaching all these places and people groups would be impossible for Reach Beyond missionaries themselves. Working in partnership, however, dramatically increases their reach. Already, RED and Reach Beyond have witnessed some fruit from the community meeting. After seeing a tippy tap (a simple device made from a gallon jug for hand-washing--especially appropriate in rural areas where there is no running water), a school girl replicated it for use in her home. In addition, Reach Beyond’s partner organizations “are the ones with an existing Gospel witness in their areas,” added McCartney. For some people, it’s revolutionary to learn that God cares deeply about their health--even their hygiene and sanitation practices. This knowledge, in itself, can turn hearts toward God. While clean water, hygiene, and sanitation impact lives directly, these lessons give the partners additional opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ, further changing lives. Pray for people in West Africa as they continue learning the importance of health, hygiene, and the Love of God.
Categories: Mission Network News

Life Matters Worldwide equips pastors in India

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo credit Steve9091 via Flickr)

India (MNN) -- Have you ever used an ultrasound to share the Gospel? Life Matters Worldwide educates national believers about pro-life issues and equips them with resources like ultrasound machines so they can reach out to women with unplanned pregnancies. By starting conversations with women about life and its value, doors open to share the message of Christ. Bob Foust recently visited India with Life Matters to teach 200 pastors about the process. "There are, around the world, 55 million abortions a year. India ranks about 4th on that list of abortions per capita," Foust shares. "If the Church is 'geared up' and ready to reach [women] at that point, I believe [it] can be a great, great opportunity. Saving unborn lives involves the Church A report issued last year reveals a woman dies every two hours in India because she had an unsafe abortion. "There's a very low esteem of life. Many abortions are provided there in India, both legal and illegal," notes Foust. "They're going to be affected by abortion in the Church, just like we are in the U.S." Realizing this fact, national pastors wanted to know how they can encourage people in their communities to choose life. "The pastors wanted to get fortified and know exactly what the Scripture teaches on the matter," Foust says. He taught pastors about the biblical theology behind pro-life movements and how to develop sermons focusing on this subject. For many, it was their first time even hearing about an option called "pro-life."

Bob Foust speaking to pastors in Imphal.
(Photo, caption courtesy Life Matters)

Life Matters partner in India shared the impact of Foust's message in a recent letter. "He said, 'Bob's teaching and preaching on the sanctity of life was wonderful. Many lives were touched, hearts convicted, and eyes opened,'" recounts Foust. "'A hole has been cut in the ice, and we can move forward.'" Some of the pastors in attendance are now planning to start pregnancy centers in their community. Foust and some others have already been invited back to help teach Indian lay people how to provide biblical counseling to women who've had an abortion. But, none of this can happen without your help. "[It] takes a great deal of funds: not just for the [ultrasound] machine, but getting it through customs, shipping, getting all the legalities across nations," Foust explains. Come alongside Life Matters' work financially here. Life Matters Worldwide Foust formerly served on Life Matters' Board of Directors and remains a close friend of the ministry, which began as Baptists for Life, Inc. back in 1984. Today, Life Matters Worldwide pursues a three-fold goal: education, mobilization, and partnership. The ministry articulates the biblical pro-life message in ways that honor God and move His people. Life Matters also trains God's people for pro-life ministry in their churches and communities, and works alongside God's people in pro-life ministry at home and abroad. Learn more about their work here. Life Matters in India Life Matters Worldwide began working in eastern India in 2003 and partnered with the Emmanuel Rural Hospital in Assam in 2009. Life Matters provided an ultrasound machine for the hospital's pregnancy care program. "They actually have a wing of that hospital that reaches out to pregnant young women in distress," shares Foust. The focus of Foust's visit was to build on the foundations mentioned above.
Categories: Mission Network News

Bible translation hits a bump in the road

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators USA)

Philippines (MNN/WYC) -- In 1999, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA realized that if Bible translations continued to go slowly, it wouldn’t be until 2150 that a Bible translation could be started for every language. So they dreamed up Vision 2025: a commitment to do what they can to get a Bible translation program going in every language by 2025. As of this month, the full Bible has been translated into over 500 languages, and with the help of computers, the process has gone much quicker. But one of the programs in the Philippines has hit a bump in the road. Recently, a vital computer modem was stolen from the Matigsalug translation team. While the team has already drafted 90% of the Old Testament, their work slowed down considerably after the theft. It has already been difficult for team members to communicate with each other, especially for those living in remote areas, but this is another discouraging trial altogether. This has not been the first time something has been stolen from the team. And unfortunately, many of the team's hard drives are failing and they have corrupted back-ups. It seems that problem after problem is being piled on the team. It’s true the team has hit a bump in the road, and they are hurting and discouraged. But it won’t stop them from overcoming the test. They will be giving hope to the 50,000 Matigsalugs in the region, and they will be giving them life. Pray that the team will be able to stay focused and continue working efficiently.
Categories: Mission Network News

Baby of Stranded Couple Safely Delivered During Buffalo Snowstorm; 'It's Not Odds, It's God,' Dad Says

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:08pm
Parents of a new baby girl in Buffalo, New York are thanking God for sending "two angels" after they became stranded in a snowstorm on Tuesday.
Categories: Christian Post

The Purpose of Conviction

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 8:05am
Have you ever seen a parent firmly grip a naughty child and lead him to where he ought to be? Sometimes our heavenly Father must employ a strong directing hand with us. Even as believers, we're a wayward people who are prone to wander. But when we go too far, God helps us back to the path of righteousness.
Categories: Christian Post

Global Terrorism Index places India at 6

Mission Network News - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 5:00am

Global War on Terrorism Memorial at the Colorado State Welcome Center/Rest Area in Trinidad, Colorado. CC BY-SA 2.0
(Photo, caption courtesy Matt Lemmon via Flickr)

India (MNN) -- Remember that Global Terrorism Index (GTI) we told you about yesterday? The Global Terrorism Index Top 5 countries land on MNN headlines a lot, since terrorism is often linked to religion. "Religion as a driving ideology for terrorism has drastically increased since 2000. Prior to 2000, nationalist separatist agendas were the biggest drivers of terrorist organizations," the GTI notes in its summary. Groups aligning with radical Islam--Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the Taliban--were responsible for two-thirds of last year's terror-related deaths. But in country #6, most fatalities caused by terrorist attacks occur at the hands of Communist extremists. JP Sundararajan with Audio Scripture Ministries (ASM) says their partners are very familiar with India's top terror group. "They're called 'the Naxalites,'" he explains. "I have been in areas which are controlled by the Naxalites, and there is a lot of fear because you just don't know.... A run-in with the Naxalites could turn out to be deadly." There are Communists in India? The Communist Party of India - Maoist (CPI-M), also known as "the Naxalites," was formed a decade ago following the merger of two Communist groups. These groups had been active in India since 1967. The armed wing of this group is called the Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA).

(Photo credit GFA via Facebook)

In August 2008, PLGA assassinated the well-known Hindu Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, reportedly for the swami's involvement in 2007 riots. Orissa state's ruling political party at the time, the BJP, quickly blamed Christians for the crime. Accusations and widespread persecution followed, even though PLGA openly took credit a few days after killing Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. Now known by many as the "Orissa massacre," the anti-Christian spree displaced some 50,000 believers and took the lives of hundreds. Terrorism vs. ministry One of ASM's partners, Indian Evangelical Mission, has been working among the Bison Horn Madiya for years. "The Indian Evangelical Mission has been working hard in translating Scriptures for them into their own language," Sundararajan explains. In the south-central states of Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, Naxalites have stopped the little-known people group Bison Horn Madiya from going to church and meeting with missionaries.

(Photo courtesy Audio Scripture Ministries)

But, these terrorists overlooked one thing, missionaries told ASM. "They said, 'People may stop us from attending worship, but they're unable to stop us from listening to God's voice through this audio Bible.'" Before they were cut-off from the Bison Horn Madiya, missionaries gave believers 100 audio Bibles recorded in their heart language, Koya Mata. God's timing is part of what makes this story even more powerful, says Sundararajan. ASM sent the 100 players only a few months prior. Terrorists, Communists, and you Sundararajan says the best ways to help the Bison Horn Madiya and India's other little-known people groups are three-fold. The first and most important way to get involved is to pray.

(Photo credit WCOI)

"Pray for those front-liners, the translators, and people on our staff in India, who are carrying these Bibles into very troubled areas at great risk," says Sundararajan. Pray also for the Bison Horn Madiya to accept Christ as Savior and Lord as they listen to His Word. "If you are praying, and you want to do more, help us by buying more Bibles. For $35, you are able to help us provide an audio Bible to a [group] like this." Connect with ASM here.
Categories: Mission Network News

A time to celebrate for SAT-7

Mission Network News - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Lebanon (MNN/SAT7) -- It's time to celebrate. SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle-East and North Africa, has opened a brand new multi-studio for SAT-7 Lebanon. On November 15, 2014, almost 500 Church leaders, Parliament members, Government officials, and SAT-7 partners gathered to celebrate the launch. "Truth, Love, Freedom, and Justice are the four principles that form the basis for peace in the family, in society, in church, and in government. SAT-7 serves all these principles: proclaiming, teaching, educating, and building culture. SAT-7 is a gift from God, from whom every good gift comes,” Bechara Boutros Al-Raii, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch said. SAT-7 Lebanon was established in 1996 and was the network's first production center. Initially, the facility only had 100 square meters of studio space. Founder and CEO Terence Ascott said, “At that time, I wondered how we would use all the space, but it was not long before we needed to rent more space in the same building, and then in other studios around the city. 18 years ago we were broadcasting only two hours per week. Today, SAT-7 is broadcasting over 800 hours a week, in three languages on five different channels. And now as we move into this beautiful new facility, I am again asking: What will we do with all this space? However, from experience, I am sure that it will all be well utilized in a fairly short time” The new building, a few hundred meters away from SAT-7’s existing rented and over-crowed facility, has three studio spaces with a total area of almost 1,000 square meters. For Lebanon-born Rita Elmounayer, who has been with SAT-7 since it began and today is the Executive Director of the network’s three Arabic language channels, it is also a very exciting day. She said, “I never imagined we would have studios this big. I was always excited when I used to go to Sweden or Denmark to produce some of our children's shows. I was always wishing that, one day, we would have large studios like that. And, Praise God, after 18 years we do have something like that. It is a great blessing to look back and see from where we started and how God walked with us step by step. I pray that these studios will be a blessing to our millions of viewers and that we will take it as a privilege and an opportunity to reach out to many more in the region with powerful messages of faith and hope.” Ascott also acknowledged that the new building is not just a building. He is sure it will be used to advance the Vision and Mission of SAT-7. “Our Mission is ‘To provide the churches and Christians of the Middle East and North Africa an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ through inspirational, informative, and educational television services.’ As we do this, we are especially reaching the children of the region-- providing them with positive role-models and helping build character in young lives from Casablanca to Baghdad. Research has shown that almost 10 million under-16-year-olds watch the SAT-7 KIDS channel on a regular basis, and these are the Arab World of tomorrow--our best hope to see positive change in this region.” Praise God for this gracious provision for SAT-7. Pray that the facility will be used to reach even more people for Christ throughout the region.
Categories: Mission Network News

I Will Trust by Fred Hammond

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
For more than 25 years, music listeners around the world have known Fred Hammond as a talented songwriter, bassist and vocalist. With I Will Trust, he makes a return to the style of Praise Worship he defined as the standard early in his career.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Goliath by Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
Labeling a band comprised of accomplished Nashville rock scene purveyors as a "new artist" seems like a misnomer. But for Steve Taylor The Perfect Foil this designation is only a technicality due to the surprising confidence and self-assurance of their debut album, Goliath. Long time friends and frequent creative collaborators, Steve Taylor The Perfect Foil (Jimmy Abegg, guitar; John Mark Painter, bass; Peter Furler, drums) is a natural assemblage of diverse talents with a common drive to rediscover the thrill of creating music unencumbered by the confines of industry limitations and reins.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Hello Someday EP (Acoustic Sessions) by Cor Captis

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
"Surfacing in 2014, Cor Captis (Latin for "Heart Capture") has been a thrill ride for the guys in the band (from left to right Joe Keil, Bryant Urich, Brenton Miles, Tim Webb, and Dustin Langston). With their debut EP "Hello Someday" released in May of 2014, this rock band from the midwest town of Springfield, MO is making a stance against human trafficking around the world and writing music to not only inspire, but also initiate fans to actively spread awareness, and fight against the rampant pandemic of global injustices like human trafficking. Cor Captis' first radio single "Heart[...]
Categories: Christian Music News