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1 in 4 Americans Don't Believe in God; Lack of Trust in Local Churches Cited as a Reason Why Adults Are Leaving the Faith

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 5:57pm
Barna Group has released its 2015 study on the state of atheism in America, and has revealed that one in four unchurched adults in the country now identify as atheists or agnostics. The study also found that rejection of the Bible and lack of trust in the church are two main reasons why people are turning away from faith.
Categories: Christian Post

Joel Osteen Had His First Date With Wife in Building That Is Now Lakewood Church and There Was a Lot of Beer

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 5:10pm
You probably would never have guessed it, but when Joel Osteen, televangelist, author, and senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and his wife, Victoria, had their first date, it was in the same building that now serves as their church and there was a lot of beer involved.
Categories: Christian Post

Megachurch Pastor John Lindell Urges Church to Vote Against Gay Rights Law; Says Homosexuality Is Distortion of God's Creation

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 4:05pm
Declaring to his congregation that homosexuality is a distortion of God's creation, Southwest Missouri megachurch pastor, Rev. John Lindell of James River Church, urged his followers in a recent sermon to vote to repeal Springfield's contentious sexual orientation and gender identity law in that city's local elections on April 7.
Categories: Christian Post

Episcopal Church Takes Fight With Breakaway Diocese Over $500M Property to SC Supreme Court

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 3:36pm
The Episcopal Church and its allies in South Carolina have filed an appeal with the state's highest court in its legal battle over a breakaway diocese's $500 million property.
Categories: Christian Post

Court hearing set for Obama’s Immigration action

WGRC News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 3:11pm

A court hearing has been set for April 17 on whether a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action should be lifted. The President’s executive actions, which would permit as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally to remain here, were put on hold by a preliminary injunction issued last month by a US District court judge in Texas. The injunction was issued at the request of a coalition of 26 states allegeing the President’s action was unconstitutional.

Categories: Local News

Benny Hinn Has Been Battling Atrial Fibrillation for More Than 20 Years; Will Be Out of Hospital 'Very Soon'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:33pm
After reports swept the media this week about popular televangelist Benny Hinn's hospitalization for heart trouble, his ministry confirmed Wednesday that his problems stem from atrial fibrillation, an issue he's been dealing with for more than 20 years.
Categories: Christian Post

God saves woman trapped in addiction and abuse

Mission Network News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo Courtesy of Buckner International)

USA (MNN) -- Did you ever think the worst thing that could ever happen to you could be the best thing that could ever happen to you? Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, to those who have been called according to His purpose.” Jocelyn Trejo is completing her associate degree in small business management and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. She and her two daughters are a part of the Buckner International Place program in Midland, Texas. Jocelyn says she can remember the moment when she gave her life to Christ. “I can see the room; feel the comfort of the couch, and the sun beaming through the window. I remember my friend’s hands clasping mine and the presence of Jesus as we called to Him. As the words flowed from my mouth and the tears dripped from my eyes, I was made new.” She was not always so blessed and fortunate. Her past was filled with hurt, addiction, and abuse. She was not raised in a Christian home and had a difficult youth that led from sexual assault and drug addictions. She eventually ended up in an abusive relationship and had her first child at 17 years old. She was trapped in this relationship for five years until the man left her and her children. Jocelyn found the Lord almost a year later. She immersed herself in the Word of God and realized how much He had truly protected her all those years. Her past now encourages others to be honest about their insecurities and to look to the Lord for healing. “Some Christians are gently and kindly brought to God, and others are pushed and bruised on their way to Him. God doesn't define what kind of Christian you are based on your past. Not everyone comes to Christ the same way, but we are loved the same. We are Christians and are all children of God. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; and if one part is honored, all parts are glad” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Pray for continued protection for Jocelyn and her two daughters as they continue in the Buckner Family Place program.
Categories: Mission Network News

In India, religious freedom in tatters

Mission Network News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor/Anto Akkara)

India (MNN) -- The 300th day of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration did not pass unnoticed. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says thousands gathered in Delhi for a protest. "It was a march that included Christians, Muslims, Hindus, opposition party members who were part of the previous government there. But the march really was to draw attention to the fact that 'it's been 300 days, and look at the religiously motivated attacks!'" World Watch Monitor noted that the record of attacks, written on protest banners, show that there was more than one attack every two days on a religious minority group since Modi came to power. Nettleton confirms, "They talk about something like 600 religiously-motivated attacks--most of those against Muslims, but more than 150 of them against Christians." Yet, most of the world never heard about a protest involving thousands of people in Delhi. Here's what's at stake: religious freedoms are falling away while radical Hinduism is on the rise. It's the casual reference to India's future that raises alarm bells from inside the highest levels of government. "There are government officials in Modi's administration who have even referred to India as 'Hindustan:' the land of the Hindus, [meaning] this should be Hindu-land, 100% Hindu people," explains Nettleton. Given that scenario, he echoes the concern shared by one of the officials that spoke at the march. "[He] said, 'This is what's happened in 300 days. Imagine what will happen in five years or ten years or longer, if all of this has just taken 300 days?'"

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

VOM reports spies in churches who monitor Christian activity, and a number of states use anti-conversion laws to inhibit their work. In states where the BJP rules, there are incidents on a near daily basis, where churches and believers' homes are destroyed, pastors and church members are beaten and sometimes killed. Nettleton says it appears Hindu extremists are acting with impunity. "This government is not going to hold them accountable. They're not going to charge them, put them in jail for long periods of time. The Christians know 'We're targets now. The government is not going to protect us like we've counted on in the past.'" Plus, Nettleton adds, "The atmosphere has changed for Christians (and for Muslims, as well), [conveying that] 'you're not welcome here. This is not your place. You're not really Indian. You're part of a foreign religion. You're not really part of us.'" According to VOM, there are countless cases where Hindu attackers are deliberately left unpunished and Christian victims face accusations and trials. The anti-conversion laws are specifically misused against Christians.

(Photo credit VOM USA via Facebook)

What it means is Christians find it difficult in some states to share their faith, to distribute Christian materials, or to conduct social work. These kinds of things are usually not prohibited by law, but since Christians can be accused of "hurting religious feelings" or "disturbing peace and order," discretion and caution have to be incorporated. After hearing what church partners had to say about this, Nettleton realizes they are undaunted. "Their response is: 'We can't control the government. We can't control what they do. We can only control what we do, and we're going to continue to serve the Lord. We're going to continue to reach out to our neighbors and our friends and the people of our cities and share the Truth, share the Gospel message.'" VOM comes alongside the persecuted Church in India, providing support and encouragement to the Gospel workers.   Prayer goes a long way toward the latter, especially when church leaders are saying, "'We're going to do what God has called us to do.' So, their response has been one of not being intimidated and not being discouraged, even though they know they could be coming into a season of suffering." Nettleton also urges prayer for protection and wisdom. "We want to pray for that sense of 'we're going to follow Christ, no matter what,' that they will have that encouragement and that spirit of boldness."
Categories: Mission Network News

Eurasia economic woes continue

Mission Network News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 5:00am

Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan), Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus), Vladimir Putin (Russia).
(Latin American Herald Tribune photo)

Russia (MNN) -- The economic crisis in Russia and former Soviet bloc nations is growing. It's getting serious enough that the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia met together to map out a strategy for addressing their currency devaluation, the lower cost for energy, and run-away inflation. Eurasia economic woes continue to have wide-reaching impact. According Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev following their Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) meeting, "Our economy in 2015 requires a detailed discussion of our cooperation." He says, "It will be a year of great challenges and risks" for the EEU. The currency crisis hit a few months ago with the Russian ruble. Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association says while interest rates and inflation have skyrocketed, one thing is missing. "We have not yet seen bankruptcies take places there, a shrinkage in industrial production, or mass unemployment. And how much of that is because of the government propping up certain things is a really good question." Interestingly, the EEU is getting ready to expand further. Armenia is now a member, and Kyrgyzstan is gearing up to join. Is this a new Soviet-Union-style situation? Griffith has some concerns. "What impact will this have on the churches--our brothers and sisters that we're serving over there? How is this going to impact their families? And, of course, [how will this impact] the ability of the churches to be able to travel, to evangelize, and get the Gospel out?" The economic issues are compounding the refugee crisis in Ukraine, which SGA is also involved in. Griffith says these colossal problems aren't all bad news. He says many are beginning to ask questions. "They're really struggling to try to make sense of it all, and they begin to wrestle with these eternal questions: 'Why is this happening? What's my future going to be?' And that creates such an open door for the churches to come in with the eternal hope of the Gospel." While many have labeled evangelical Christianity cult-like behavior, Griffith says the church is changing that. "When they're able to provide a parcel of food, and people are actually able to get to know these believers on a one-to-one basis, all of a sudden they're finding out the stories they've heard for so many years aren't true." Prayer is vital during this time. So is your generosity. You can find specific prayer needs and donate to SGA here. 
Categories: Mission Network News