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Pastor Rick Warren: What Are the Differences in Seeing With Eyes of Faith, Fear?

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 9:26am
Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church, which celebrated 35 years of global impact Saturday, started a new sermon series on faith Sunday, listing several differences between seeing with the eyes of faith and the eyes of fear.
Categories: Christian Post

When Others Fail Us

Christian Post - Living - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 9:02am
The apostle Paul knew the value of good friends: Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches; Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry; and Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.
Categories: Christian Post

20,000 People Attend Saddleback Church's 35th Anniversary; Rick Warren Says 'We Dared to Dream Big'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 8:03am
At least 20,000 people filled California's Angel Stadium as Pastor Rick Warren's multi-site Saddleback Church celebrated its 35th year of ministry. The pastor and his wife, Kay, announced bigger plans as the megachurch moves into a new phase.
Categories: Christian Post

Is anyone protecting Pakistani minorities?

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo credit FMI)

Pakistan (MNN) -- Multiple reports confirm more terrorist attacks against "soft targets" in Pakistan -- activity hubs for minorities like schools and churches -- are imminent. This means Pakistani minorities like Christians and Shia Muslims are increasingly at-risk. Will the military, which has effectively taken control of Pakistan, be able to protect them? "Perhaps," says Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International. "They have more personnel, more training, to take care of that." And yet, FMI contacts say another church was just attacked, not far from where last week's bombing took place. Find details here. Furthermore, according to Reuters, a bomb exploded outside a Shia mosque in Karachi immediately following Friday prayers. Please ask the Lord to protect His followers in Pakistan. Pray that terrorist attacks will not hinder Gospel growth. A "soft" coup Pakistan's history is full of oft-bloody coups and instability. But, this one is a little different.

Emblem of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

"Usually when we hear about a coup anywhere in the world, we think of revolution in the streets and lots of bloodshed," observes Allen. "But, a soft coup is one where there's a shift in leadership and yet there's been no overt revolution." Last summer, Pakistan's military bartered with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for control of national security and foreign policy. The grip of armed services became more obvious following December's terrorist attack on an army school in Peshawar and the introduction of a new National Action Plan. "[Sharif] stays on as a figurehead; you'll see him making speeches, but he's always flanked by the Army Chief of Staff, or some other military top brass," Allen explains. "He's more of a puppet at this point." Protecting Pakistani minorities No matter who is at Pakistan's helm, the question remains: will Christians and other minorities receive protection from impending danger?

Children perform a song during a worship service in a congregation of about 70 people. The church site has brick walls and mats on the floors, but no roof.
(Photo, caption credit FMI)

The Pakistani government certainly doesn't have a good track record. Last week's church bombing was one of many that undoubtedly could have been prevented. Government negligence was partly why many hurting Christians took to the streets of Youhanabad following the attack. “Two days before the incident, there were [chalk] writings on walls that were supporting terrorist activity--specifically ISIS,” Allen told MNN last week. “There was just a sense of ‘boiling over’ [that] was going to occur here soon, and the authorities just were not prepared to deal with that; or, [they] turned a blind eye to it.” Pakistani schools, another "soft target," are taking extra security measures; in many cases, with government help. Walls are being built higher, barbed wire fences are being installed, and police are giving arms training to teachers. "The schools at least have some funding to do that, but in many cases, the churches have a very difficult time coming up with new security protocols," shares Allen. Now, more than ever, it's time to stand alongside fellow Christians in Pakistan. PRAY First and foremost, Pakistani believers need our prayers.

(Photo credit FMI)

"We have brothers and sisters who are begging for us just to be praying for them," Allen says. "Pray for the wisdom of Christian leaders, so that they know how to guide their congregations through such turbulent times. Pray for their courage. Pray that they experience God's provision." Request FMI's Quarterly Prayer Letter here. You can also stay up-to-date by bookmarking FMI's profile page on your browser. Updates will appear under the "Related News" heading. GIVE Your financial support can help meet the physical needs of Gospel workers. "Whether you're a pastor or you're a laborer, if there's terror in the streets, it's difficult to get to work and make your own income," says Allen. Through FMI, your family can partner with a pastor and his congregation through sponsorship. You could also help with transportation needs, women's discipleship and training. Connect with giving opportunities here. GO

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)

"Only a few of us can actually ever get into Pakistan," admits Allen. "But, using FMI's strategy, we're empowering the Christian leaders who are already there." As of February, FMI was supporting 39 Gospel workers in Pakistan. Today, there are more than 24 Gospel workers "waiting in the wings." "These are people who are passionate about the Gospel, who want to care for God's people; they're just saying, 'Will you help us do that job please?'" says Allen. Support a national Gospel worker through FMI.
Categories: Mission Network News

Turkana mobilized for neighborly missions

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

"The Treasure is making a tremendous impact in Kenya. Churches are being strengthened. Unbelievers are hearing the Gospel for the first time. Lives are being changed." (Photo and caption by World Mission via Facebook)

Kenya (MNN) -- Throughout the Bible, we can see how often God has used unexpected people to do His work. Remember David, the youngest son who killed a giant and became king? What about Paul, once a persecutor of the Christian church who became the church's biggest advocate? God is still doing this today. Take the Turkana people in northern Kenya. World Mission is witnessing their desire to go out and reach neighboring people groups with the story of Jesus. Greg Kelley, CEO of World Mission, says, "I'm here in northern Kenya among the Turkana people at a gathering with their 30 Turkana pastors. And this is one of the under-reached people groups in all of Northern Kenya. "I always thought, as an organization, that we would see the church in Nairobi mobilized to impact the North because there are so many Christians down in southern Kenya. But what I am learning today is that God is raising up among the minority Christians, even in the Turkana, a calling, a missionary call to go and reach their brothers and sisters among the Borana, and among the Pokot, and among the Samburu, and even into the country of Somalia." Joshua Project profiles all of these people groups. According to them, the Turkana are 48% Christians. The rest of the people follow ethnic religions. Joshua Project says their devotion to ethnic religions isn't usually strong, and so there is little hostile resistance to Gospel. Among the people groups the Turkana wants to reach with the Gospel, the Borana are 80% Muslim, the Pokot follow mainly ethnic religions, and so do the Samburu.

A group in a northern Kenya desert listening to the 'Treasure.' (Photo courtesy of World Mission via Facebook)

"Missionaries are being mobilized from northern Kenya, and it's so exciting. They're taking the solar-powered Treasure, our audio Bible in the Turkana language," says Kelley. "They're taking it in the Somali language, and God is using the minority groups of Christians in northern Kenya to reach their own. It's so exciting!" Pray for God's Word to continue to be spread and for it to change northern Kenya.
Categories: Mission Network News

Living Water restores dignity for women at garbage dump

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo Courtesy to Living Water International)

Mexico (LWI) -- Extreme poverty forces Dionila Pasos, a single mother of seven, to live and work in a garbage dump near Oaxaca, Mexico. But today, Dionila and her kids have safe, clean water pumped right into their home, thanks to Living Water International. Dionila drinks clean water, showers after work, washes her hands before eating, and shares life-saving hygiene lessons--and the living water of Jesus Christ--with neighbors through her Community Health Club. Their lives have been transformed, but so many marginalized families like Dionila's are still waiting for hope. You can help! Just $25 can offer water for life in Jesus’ name to a family like Dionila's that needs a tangible sign of God’s love. Save lives and restore dignity here.
Categories: Mission Network News

SAT-7 helps kids in the Middle East continue learning

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Middle East (SAT-7) -- The conflict in Syria has led to suffering for many thousands of children. For these kids, the fact that their education has been disrupted is a big issue. But now, they can start learning again by watching SAT‑7 KIDS. The pilot program, My School, is an on-air-school that enables many of the 3+ million displaced Syrian and Iraqi children to resume their education through watching television. Starting in March, SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is broadcasting the pilot program teaching young viewers the core subjects of Math, Arabic (their mother tongue), and English. It will broadcast for 90 minutes a day, Monday thru Friday, on the SAT-7 KIDS channel. “It’s a great privilege we have today at SAT-7 KIDS, helping thousands of displaced children by giving them the opportunity to learn,” says Rita Elmounayer, Executive Director at SAT-7 KIDS and SAT-7 ARABIC. Education is a desperate need for displaced and refugee children in the Middle East, as opportunities for schooling are often scarce. But many of these children, even those in refugee camps, are still able to watch SAT-7 KIDS because they have satellite TV. The channel, therefore, has a unique opportunity to enable these youngsters to keep learning. “What a great blessing to take the lead in a project like this, proving more and more that SAT-7’s holistic programming is meeting a wide spectrum of needs. In providing education to this lost generation of refugees from Syria and Iraq, we are investing not just in their future but in the future of the Arab World,” says Rita Elmounayer. SAT-7 KIDS is a safe haven for children to learn about the world, the Bible, and daily life. Click here to help SAT-7 reach refugee children.
Categories: Mission Network News

ISIS expands footprint; more violence

Mission Network News - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Tunisia (MNN) -- The Islamic State claimed credit for the deadly museum attack in Tunisia last Thursday. On Friday, ISIS militants in Yemen's capital city blew themselves up, killing more than 100 and injuring hundreds more in two Shiite mosques during midday prayers. The brazen assaults highlight the danger that the violent jihadist Sunni-based movement poses to the stability of the governments in question. Yemen just survived a coup that put Shiite Muslims in power. In Tunisia, it's a newly emergent democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring. It's not likely to stop there, says Open Doors USA President and CEO, David Curry. "I believe we're going to see more events like this because you have large populations of people who are in need of resources--they don't have jobs. The Islamic state, because they've been allowed to grow and prosper, have the money to pay these folks to radicalize." The growing footprint of the Islamic State terror group debunks some analysis claiming it's a regional movement. "There are some people that have tried to postulate that they have been 'contained' within a certain area of Northern Iraq and Syria, but it's clear from the latest developments from Tunisia--and before that--Libya--that this ideology and their system is spreading." Curry says ISIS cells have also been noted as active in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nigeria, and Egypt. "What they're doing is essentially adopting any sort of extremist within the countries of origin. So, you could have it metastasizing at a very fast rate; in fact, that's what's happening."

(Photo Tunisia courtesy Open Doors USA)

So much for the 2011 Arab Spring. In fact, what started off the revolutionary wave in other Arab countries turned out to be a disappointment, Curry explains. What happened in the Arab Spring really was more of an Arab Winter for Christians because it brought a lot of pressure and persecution to Christians. "Just like Egypt, they saw a revolt against their leadership: the placement of extremists within their government leadership structure. And then, the people revolted against that. So, you have even moderate Muslims within Tunisia revolting against extremism." However, a revolt won't do much to stop the Islamic State. The moderate position taken by the government makes it an enticing target to subjugate. "As a whole, if you consider within the region, there have been positive developments politically, which could be very important for the future. That's why Islamic State is making a point to attack, build, and grow within Tunisia."

(Stock photo Tunisian women courtesy Open Doors USA)

ISIS' message is this: convert, pay up, or die. That hasn't changed much since they swept through parts of Northern Iraq and began a reign of terror last summer.   Curry shares the crux of the matter: "I really do think you're going to see a growth of persecution like we haven't seen before in the past. I think it really does portend for a spiritual battle." Yet, with every story of increased persecution, you also get the stories of dreams and visions of Christ. It's what's called the paradox of persecution. "The Gospel is growing. More people are coming to know Jesus as their Savior, but they're also being forced out of their homelands in the Middle East." The People of the Cross have been targeted by groups like ISIS for extinction. Yet, the global outcry has yet to be joined.   Until it is, "We have to pray for them. We've got to encourage them--sometimes, to encourage them to stand in the face of persecution. Other times, we hope they have a chance to escape it, but that's not always the case." Would you add your voice to the chorus? Click here to take action.
Categories: Mission Network News

'Curb to Castle' Journey to God: Complete Stranger Invites Homeless Family to Live in His Home for 7 Months

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 11:08am
As an unmarried homeless couple stood on a street corner in northern California with their four children holding up a sign that read "Family Needs Help God Bless," little did they know that within 10 years they would be living comfortably in their own house overlooking Lake Elsinore and living their lives by "God's design."
Categories: Christian Post

PCUSA Church Ordains First Married Lesbian Couple as Ministers, Days After Denomination's Marriage Amendment

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 10:54am
Days after America's largest Presbyterian denomination approved an amendment to its constitution changing their definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, a lesbian couple will be ordained as ministers Sunday at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Categories: Christian Post

Between Two Worlds

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 9:01am
I have noticed that many times, the previews for a film are better than the film itself. All of the best bits are in the preview. But people don't go to the movie theater to see a preview; they go to see the movie.
Categories: Christian Post

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
What does a real relationship between real-world people and a real-world God look like? This is what Hawk Nelson explores in their seventh studio album: Diamonds. "Diamonds talks about how God can use pressure, struggle, trials and stress in our life and make it into something stronger and more beautiful," lead singer Jon Steingard said. "Just in the same way that diamonds are made. It's a big comfort to me when I'm in those times to remember that hardships have a purpose and aren't without meaning. A diamond is strong. It reflects light. It doesn't have any light of its own, but[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Science Fiction by Jonathan Thulin

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
With a new album Science Fiction, which comes out March 17th, JT really pushes the envelope on his creative passions mixing hip hop, pop, adult contemporary and many other genres into an amazingly epic mixture of music. "This album was different for me. I didn't strategically write songs as I usually would, I just wrote what I felt in complete honesty. My hope is that this music will transcend beyond people's ears and into their hearts. God is a big part of who I am and all I want is for that to shine through my music." Jonathan says of his new[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

The Remixes by Britt Nicole

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
Following the blowout success of her latest album, Gold including the TOP 40 radio single of the same title, comes Britt Nicole's first ever full-length remix album. With over 1 million career tracks sold, Britt delivers some of these same songs delivered in a new way including "Gold," "Ready or Not," "Lost Get Found," and more! Get ready to start your day from dance-filled beats to impressive new arrangements of Britt Nicole's biggest hits.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Even So Come by Passion Worship Band

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
Featuring some of this generation's most acclaimed worship leaders Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and Brett Younker the new Passion album was recorded in front of over 30,000 college students at three separate Passion gatherings in Atlanta and Houston.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Who You Say I Am by Among The Thirsty

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
Who You Say I Am was recorded in Atlanta with Daniel's longtime friend, acclaimed producer Scotty Wilbanks (Third Day, 7eventh Time Down). Wilbanks had his eye on Among the Thirsty since they were teens, playing shows before they were even out of high school, so working with him at the helm felt like a natural partnership. "The recording process was a lot of fun. It's basically like summer camp because you're living in the studio," Daniel shares. The pop-centric album oscillates between the fun and the painfully honest, anchored by strong piano melodies and authentic, exposed lyrics.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Saints and Sinners by Matt Maher

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 5:00am
Saints and Sinners, the newest release from award-winning artist Matt Maher, is a collection of songs aimed at the heart of the church. Derived from the Oscar Wilde quote, "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future," Maher expertly explores themes of inclusion, unity and grace. Includes the hit song "Because He Lives (Amen)."[...]
Categories: Christian Music News