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We are so thankful for the ministry of WGRC.  It is hard to put into words how the Lord has used it in our lives.  Most of all, our worship has been blessed beyond words.  (Coal Township)

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5 Causes of Church Member Burnout

Christian Post - Church Growth - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 9:48am
Her departure stunned the members and leadership. She was the one member you could count on. She was there "every time the doors were open." And then she never showed up again.
Categories: Christian Post

5-Y-O Heavenly Joy Rages Against the Enemy in New Gospel Song 'War'

Christian Post - Evangelism - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 12:54pm
Daughter of Grammy Award-winning producer Rodney Jerkins and actress Joy Enriquez, Heavenly Joy, is using her talent and charm to win over Christians' hearts and minds in her single "War."
Categories: Christian Post

Texas Church Begins $1M Construction Project to Build Largest Cross in the US

Christian Post - Pastors - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 11:41am
Organizers of the Corpus Christie Cross Project broke ground in Texas this week as they begin their construction of the largest cross in the United States.
Categories: Christian Post

Francis Chan: You Can't Get Rid of Sin Without Embracing Suffering

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 10:28am
Francis Chan, best-selling author and founder of Radius International, spoke at Liberty University's Convocation, urging the Christian students to embrace suffering, without which, he said, they can't experience change in their lives.
Categories: Christian Post

ECM births a new child sponsorship program

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am
Uganda (MNN) -- For Every Child Ministries (ECM), this month marks the launch of a new child sponsorship program, Karamoja Homeland Project, in Uganda.

(Photo courtesy Every Child Ministries)

“We have been working many years with Karamoja kids, who had come to Kampala for various reasons. Sometimes they were trafficked, sometimes their mother would bring them to the big city looking for a better life, work, or whatever she could to help raise her family. And many of these kids ended up to be street kids,” explains Mark Luckey with ECM. But rather than continuing to work with these broken families in the context of Kampala, ECM wanted to go straight to the source: the homeland. “We began to look at starting a project in Karamoja, where these kids are coming from. If we could help the families, do community development, do spiritual development, get the kids in school, do anything we could to keep the kids in a better environment at home,  then they wouldn’t be making that trip to Kampala, which almost always turned out poorly for both the kids and the mother,” says Luckey. Yet, an idea seems to always work better in theory than it does in reality. For ECM, it’s been a long process with many obstacles to make the Karamoja Homeland project come alive. ECM has had to jump over hurdles ranging from finances to figuring out how to get people on the ground in Karamoja. “We’re sending staff to live in this area, and it’s not easy. It’s not the city where things are close by and they can get what they need,” explains Luckey. Sometimes, the area is too difficult for staff to adjust to.

(Photo courtesy of Rod Waddington via Flickr)

Furthermore, the area is very poor. “Uganda has a lot of poor people. There’s nothing new about that. But the Karimojong are some of the poorest. They were kind of nomadic, cattle herders; they would move around traditionally from place to place and not own land,” says Luckey. However, even just convincing the people of an education’s value has been a tough sell. With many tribal and nomadic people groups, value is placed on agriculture and livestock. So when given the choice to send a child away to school or have the child help tend the family cattle, a parent’s choice is usually the latter. Still, there are many kids who are taking part in the partnership. Currently, six kids are being sponsored out of eleven. But since it takes two donors to fully sponsor a kid, 10-15 donors are still needed to send all to of these kids to school. When kids are fully sponsored, each has the opportunity not only to attend school, but to have the clothes and supplies to do so. Furthermore, the kids receive a good meal every day. And, as they get older, they’ll have opportunities for vocational activities to help them one day find work and be able to support themselves. One of the best parts of this sponsorship program is that these kids have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and meet Jesus. “They get spiritual guidance. We do a weekly Bible club and kind of a fun activity type of situation on Saturdays, where they can go and just be with the other kids, enjoy, [and] have fun being a kid. [They] learn from the Bible but also [from] hands-on activities,” explainsLuckey. So why not help the Karamoja Homeland Project get off the ground and make difference in numerous peoples’ lives. Here are some ways to help: Helping Karamoja   Please pray for the success and the impact of the Karamoja Homeland Project. Also, pray for the people who are there serving, to be strong in this critical ministry.  
Categories: Mission Network News

WHO warns of spread of Zika virus, dangers to pregnant women

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am
International (MNN) -- The World Health Organization announced this week that a little-known disease -- the Zika virus -- presents a dangerous health hazard in Central and South America.

A female Aedes Aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from her human host. (Photo: Center for Disease Control/James Gathany)

But Zika is proving to be elusive. Adults who are bitten by the Aedes mosquito may not show any symptoms; the only proof that a person has contracted Zika is through a blood test within five days of contracting the disease. Brazil, hardest hit by the virus, has less than 30 labs capable of testing for Zika. The country has more than 1.5 million residents believed to have contracted the virus and about 3,000 cases of microcephaly that may or may not be related to the spread of Zika. How serious is the virus?

CDC list of countries with active transmission. (Center for Disease Control photo)

Symptoms of Zika may resemble a mild cold with a touch of pink eye, but doctors in Brazil began to notice recently that there was a relationship between the number of those infected by a Zika-like illness, and a swell of reported cases of microcephaly in newborns. While scientists don’t yet know why, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Margaret Chan said there does seem to be a correlation between the two diseases. The outbreak has active cases in 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries, and the cases of microcephaly are expected to rise exponentially -- despite active efforts by national and international organizations to control the spread of Zika. Politicians and lobbyists have exhorted governments in Brazil and other pro-life countries to reexamine their abortion prohibitions in light of the epidemic. Life Matters Worldwide Director of Ministry Outreach Michele Shoun expects such political maneuvering to continue. What is microcephaly? Babies with microcephaly have heads that stopped growing in the womb, or shortly after birth. “Their brains do not develop completely,” Shoun says. They often have seizures and developmental delays. It is the increased possibility that women may have a child suffering from microcephaly that has abortion advocates pushing for repeal of abortion laws. So how bad is this epidemic? The WHO’s Dr. Chan has called it “a public health emergency of international concern.” While there is talk of restricting travel, there is little chance of the disease spreading north as the Aedes mosquito is only found in parts of Texas and Florida. While there has been a reported case of human-to-human contraction, it is not contagious enough to create a serious issue in the U.S. While Chan’s announcement means work on a vaccine for Zika will move forward at a faster clip, is also is likely to cause undue fear that abortion advocates can use for their cause. There is no proven link yet between the Zika virus and microcephaly. “But that hasn’t stopped abortion advocates from promoting abortion as an option,” she says. What can Christians do? Abortion advocates complain that Catholicism in Brazil is hampering the situation. But abortion eliminates the person who is suffering, Shoun says. “Abortion doesn’t cure the Zika virus. It doesn’t cure microcephaly. It only kills, and that is not an answer.” The women who fear their child may be infected are scared, Shoun adds. As Christians, we’re called to be an encouragement to them. “Christians have always been called to come alongside people who are suffering and take on their suffering, helping them-- that’s called compassion. Don’t just SAY you’re pro-life, but BE pro-life.”
Categories: Mission Network News

Global Aid Network: bringing hope

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)

International (GAiN) -- Grace is a widow who fled her home with thousands of other men, women, and children because of the violence in their hometown somewhere in Africa. She is the mother of two children; the youngest is only a few months old. Having spent six months in a refugee camp, Grace said her most urgent needs were: “Milk for my child, food for us, mosquito nets, blankets, and a mattress.” Without even a blanket for her baby, Grace wrapped her infant in her own clothes. That day, Grace received a blanket for her child from a truckload of Global Aid Network USA supplies brought to the camp by a local ministry. With no other possessions, she regarded the blanket as a treasure. Having met the immediate needs of clean water, nutritious food, and medical treatment, impoverished or displaced people need help building a better and brighter future–especially after wars or natural disasters have left them with nothing.

(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)

That’s why GAiN (and their partners throughout the developing world) provide survival kits and disaster relief including shelter, blankets, clothing, shoes, school supplies, and other items necessary for rebuilding households and communities. GAiN teams continue to work diligently to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and in deed. And thanks to faithful Christians like you, many more refugees are hearing the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11). You can help answer the greatest needs of refugees like Grace and her young children. Visit https://www.gainusa.org/sm16011 to reveal hope.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Genocide label thrown on ISIS persecution

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am
Europe (MNN) -- The European Parliament (EP) broke out the "G-word" yesterday, voting unanimously to label the Islamic State's persecution of Middle East Christians as "genocide."

(Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr)

It's a step in the right direction, according to Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USA. "Historically, it's rare that we see action on behalf of the international community unless something is labeled 'genocide,'" she explains. While the genocide label doesn't necessarily guarantee action, "It makes it a lot more likely that it's not going to be something that's merely talked about, or viewed as a sad event, but might actually have international repercussions and more action." Genocide? Europe says "yes" As the law-making body of the European Union, the EP is responsible for passing laws, overseeing institutions, and approving budgets. Carrying the EP's "stamp of approval," the genocide resolution can be brought before the United Nations Security Council for consideration.

(Wikipedia)

As explained here, it is then within the UN Security Council's power to "authorize use of military force and other diplomatic, humanitarian, and strategic measure to address the crisis." "It's really important that the Parliament passed it, on a political level and a moral level," Swedish EP official Lars Adaktusson told Newsweek. "The significance is the obligations that follow such a recognition--the collective obligation to intervene, to stop these atrocities, and to stop the persecution in the ongoing discussion about the fight against the Islamic State." Director of European Union advocacy at ADF International, Sophia Kuby, echoes Adaktusson's thoughts. "Determined action at the UN on this genocide is long overdue," she states. "We hope that the clear language that members from all political groups agreed upon in this resolution will accelerate these important next steps and help to save lives." Meanwhile, political leaders "across the pond" remain seemingly undecided. U.S. answer remains to be seen Despite a push in early December by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the U.S. State Department still hasn't released any official comments on the genocide issue. There was talk in late November of a State Department response to ISIS persecution. The U.S. was expected to designate attacks against the Yazidi and other minorities as genocide, but not those targeted against Christians. Will the U.S. join Europe in designating ISIS atrocities as genocide? "No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority," penned U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, in her 2002 book, A Problem from Hell. "And no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on."

A video screen grab shows Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren briefing the Pentagon Press Corps on Oct. 21, 2015. Michael Feddersen/U.S. Navy

Other U.S. officials take a more direct stand on the issue. Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, military spokesman Col. Steve Warren claimed, "ISIL doesn't care if you're Christian, if you're Muslim…. We’ve seen no specific evidence of a specific targeting towards Christians.” However, now that Europe has spoken, "it's just increasing the likelihood that America will do more to help these Christians and other minorities," claims Fuentes. Urge U.S. officials to act on behalf of Christians persecuted by ISIS. What now? You don't have to wait for political leaders to act before you help persecuted Christians.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Through Open Doors, you can encourage fellow believers and help refugees learn about Christ. Help meet the immediate needs of Christians persecuted by ISIS. "Tthe most important thing, and the #1 thing we hear from our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted, is that we pray for them," Fuentes reminds.
Categories: Mission Network News

Live Hymns & Worship by Guy Penrod

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
Known and loved for his heartfelt, country gospel style and powerhouse vocals, this former Gaither Vocal Band member has created a collection of some of today's most popular hymns and worship songs, including "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Shout To The Lord" and many more classic and contemporary favorites. Performed LIVE at Thomas Road Baptist Church, this all-new release showcases the talent and charisma that have made Guy a fan favorite in the gospel and country music formats.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

WOW Gospel 2016 by Various Artists - "WOW" Series

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
WOW Gospel the premiere collection of gospel music is back for its 19th year! Featuring the best in Traditional and Contemporary Gospel Music, this compilation contains your favorite radio tunes and praise anthems. A double CD set and companion DVD, this years release features powerful hit songs from artists such as Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs, Charles Jenkins Fellowship Chicago, Israel Houghton, Smokie Norful, Brian Courtney Wilson, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Kierra Sheard, Jonathan McReynolds and many more![...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Way Up EP by Prodigal Son

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
The Prodigal Son "Way Up" E.P. is an innovative uplifting collection of Gospel Hip Hop Music that is relatable to all walks of life as vividly described in the featured song "ALIVE". This New Era of inspirational music ensures to inspire, uplift and motivate to make you realize with God all things are possible! Take a journey with Prodigal Son as we go Way Up! Pre-Order the "Way Up" E.P. on Amazon, I-Tunes or Holywoodrecords.com Official release date January 29, 2016 from HOLY-wood Records/TyscotLOUD[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Eclipsed EP by Fellowship Creative

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Ever Be EP by Aaron Shust

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Hymns II: Shine On Us by Michael W. Smith

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
Hymns II: Shine On Us is a collection of classic songs and contemporary hymns that Michael hopes will bring your spirit to a place of worship every time you listen. All of these songs are brand new recordings performed as only Michael can. This new album takes you on a nostalgic journey, infusing Smith's gospel roots and beautifully, captivating arrangements on of some of the most popular hymns we know and love. The physical album is available exclusively in Cracker Barrel stores nationwide and all digital outlets. [...]
Categories: Christian Music News

GFG Reload by J Moss

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

I Am Justice by Canton Jones

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News