Church & Ministry

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Posted 10/14/16 at 3:46 PM | Mark Ellis

American church leaders held in Turkey will be deported

Andrew & Norine Brunson

By Mark Ellis

Turkish officials in the coastal city of Izmir have been holding American church leaders Andrew and Norine Brunson since October 7th and denying access to them by U.S. consular officials and lawyers.

The Turkish Interior Ministry has also ordered the couple’s deportation within 15 days, stating they constitute a “national security risk,” according to World Watch Monitor (WWM).

The Brunsons have lived in Turkey during the last 20 years and are currently leading the Izmir Resurrection Church, which has an average attendance of 30 to 40.

After they filed an application to renew their visas, they received no response for six months. But on October 7th, they found a written summons ordering them to report with their passports to a local police station. After they arrived they were taken into custody, according to WWM.

Their attorney was denied access and told they did not want a lawyer. He filed a petition to the governor October 12th, saying the American Christians were being held illegally under Turkish laws. FULL POST

Posted 10/11/16 at 3:54 PM | olabode ososami

America’s Hate Preachers

This is the name of a currently running BBC documentary featuring Hannah Livingston, a talented journalist who spent six months tracking “Americas radical Christian hate groups”. The film artfully presents hatred against abortionists and LGBT community as a rising scourge that must be arrested … even suggesting auspiciously that the animosity towards Clinton’s bid for the presidency can be traced to Christian extremism. The preachers featured in the documentary are already banned from entering the UK, and according to the BBC documentary, should be stopped, in the United States, from making more unbridled comments causing extreme and unfair distress to lesbians, homosexuals, transgenders and others who just want to be left in peace. The preachers, however, disagree that the LGBT are not a threat to society, and accuse the media of presenting vile dangers as only an alternative lifestyle.

It may, on the surface, look like the pulpit is losing the battle, as a new postmodern reality presents the pulpit as a confrontational bastion of hatred and disorder – but even since the time of John Knox, the fiery Scottish preacher also banned from entering England by Queen Elizabeth 1, we have seen the same strategy played over and over again … and if this strategy could have succeeded, Christianity would by now have been snuffed out. FULL POST

Posted 10/10/16 at 5:41 PM | Mark Ellis

God brought dust storm to protect new believers from terrorist attack

dust story in Middle East

By Mark Ellis

At least 50 Christians in the Middle East directly experienced God’s mighty hand of protection from Islamist militants when He caused a giant dust storm to hide them from their attackers.

The story of divine protection began with a baptism held in secret.

“By the ever loving grace of God, 24 believers of Jesus Christ from Islam received baptism in the Middle East,” says Pastor Paul, founder of “Bibles for Mideast”.

The new believers had approached Pastor Paul and asked to be baptized. Overjoyed that they are now part of the Bride of Christ, they wanted to be purified by the water and the Spirit to meet the Bridegroom – Jesus Christ, whom they believe is coming soon in the clouds to take His Bride.

“Our Lord’s return is imminent, they all believe,” Pastor Paul notes.

“When the gentiles received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter asked the disciples, ‘Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?’ (Acts 10:47). FULL POST

Posted 10/1/16 at 10:55 AM | Marvin Thompson

Does Truth Telling Matter to Evangelicals?

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist who strongly opposes Trump, lamented in a Washington Post column on September 26, 2016 that to the most vociferous right-wing voices “Facts are fungible; it’s all what you want to believe.” Her greater lament seems to be, though, that so many who ought to care about truth do not. “It is however disturbing that many certainly know he is lying — or out of touch with reality — and still support him,” she went on to say after offering a plausible explanation for why the less educated are duped by his dishonesty and many falsehoods.

Several media outlets annexed the comments of both major candidates for president during the week of September 19th. The result is staggering. Trump had eighty-seven instances when he told outright lies with the highest ratings, compared to Clinton’s eight. That is eleven to one.

A further breakdown of the lies is no less revealing. Trump lies with every three minutes of speaking, when all lies (including lies of varying degrees) are tallied. Clinton does the same every twelve minutes. This is empirical evidence that removes all doubt about who is the real liar of the two. With all due respect to Paula White and James Dobson, if Trump is a Christian, then Clinton is also a Christian; she at least speaks more clearly and with more understanding of her own faith and of Christian doctrines. FULL POST

Posted 9/27/16 at 4:22 PM | Mark Ellis

Monk run over by US tank, then attacked by ISIS, now ministers to refugees

Raeed ministers in refugee camp in Erbil

By Mark Ellis

First he was run over by a US tank, then ISIS forced him to flee his monastery in northern Iraq.

Raeed, a monk from Qaraqosh, eventually established a temporary monastery in a refugee camp in Erbil, where he has become an inspiration to many, according to a report by World Watch Monitor (WWM).

In 2001, Raeed answered a call from God to become a monk and joined four others in a small monastery.

But life changed dramatically after the US-led coalition moved into Iraq. He was in a taxi with another monk on his way to Baghdad, when they unexpectedly collided with a US tank.

There was a horrible crash and the awful sound of crunching metal as the tank seemed to come out of nowhere and drive over part of the taxi, according to WWM.

Tragically, the accident killed the other monk in the car and left Raeed in a coma.

When he emerged from the coma and realized he was the only survivor from the accident, it challenged his faith as never before. He didn’t understand why God would allow such a thing to happen after he dedicated his life to ministry. FULL POST

Posted 9/24/16 at 9:23 PM | selwyn perry

Have we lost our roots?

Western civilisation has its roots in the Judaeo-Christian thought and way of life from which faith, reason and science came, but only in leaps and bounds after it was dislodged from the tyranny of kings and governments. This took place over a period of time between 16-1700 AD. The new theory of the solar system, held by Kepler and Galileo was slow in taking hold but when it did the world was seen objectively for the first time. The sun did not circle the earth but the earth orbited the sun. Night and day was due to the rotation of the earth facing the sun during the day and the moon during the night. That discovery broke open the hold kings and parliaments had on learning and authority.
Along with physics, philosophy and politics underwent scrutiny and change. This was because the bible was no longer a closed book to those outside the Vatican, the cardinals and the priests. It was written only in Latin but that changed when copies of the bible were printed in English based on the original translations. Anyone who could read, read the bible for themselves and their conclusions differed with those of the established church. Nonconformity was born and flourished in opposition to the crown and the church. Hence, the bible that had long been the property of the crown and the church became the property of the people. But whilst nonconformity was a movement against the authority of the church to rule over conscience and the Scriptures, it was disunited in doctrines and forms of worship and since the 17th century has remained so. FULL POST

Posted 9/23/16 at 6:31 PM | Mark Ellis

Remembering the Country Church of Hollywood, where fictional radio drama blended with real life

Country Church of Hollywood from the air

By Mark Ellis

It was compared to a ‘Garden of Gethsemane,’ improbably set in the midst of Hollywood near the Capitol Records building. Built in 1934 on the venerable A.G. Bartlett estate known for its gardens, it had 150 mature trees surrounding its gleaming white facade. The clapboard sides resembled a Southern mountain church, with a steeple that soared high above the front entrance.

The man who built the church, Dr. William Hogg, had a nervous breakdown after World War I, but soon followed a calling from God as a Tennessee circuit preacher with a pioneering vision for Christian radio ministry. Indeed, the leafy site he chose on Argyle Avenue became the first radio church built on the West Coast, and the second or third in the nation.

It’s knotty pine interior and 100-year old oak pews were graced by speakers such as Billy Graham, Roy and Dale Evans, and Bill Bright. Dr. Hogg created a radio show, “The Country Church of Hollywood,” that was heard coast to coast on CBS radio from 1934 until 1966. FULL POST

Posted 9/23/16 at 2:51 PM | Marvin Thompson

Trump Evangelicals’ False Prophesy?

We are used to hyperbolic language within the Christian community, especially by those who fancy themselves to harness the power of God, and who believe in the power of their own words to perform miracles and conquer the spiritual realms. Unfortunately, much of what passes for spiritual and divine is nothing of the sort - much less a demonstration of God working through such individuals.

Take, for example, the headline of a September 22, 2016 report on Christian Post by Leonardo Blair that reads: Pastors Pray Against 'Concentrated Satanic Attack' Being Waged Against 'God's Choice' Donald Trump. Those were the words of the pastor of New Spirit Revival Center. The pastor spoke of a prophetic warning by a nationally known preacher of such an attack, "that if you choose to run for president, there's going to be a concentrated Satanic attack against you…there's going to be a demon, principalities and powers, that are going to war against you on a level that you've never seen before and I'm watching it every day,"

The ensuing report does not disappoint either as a group of pastors express their thankfulness to God for raising up Trump as His choice to lead the nation. "We thank you God that as a room full of clergy, a room full of leaders, a room full of business owners, mothers, fathers, wives, we ask for help and we ask you God to let that help be in the form of the next president Mr. Donald J. Trump.” FULL POST

Posted 9/21/16 at 7:15 PM | Mark Ellis

David Platt recounts story of man raised from dead in Southeast Asia

David Platt

By Mark Ellis

In a remote Southeast Asian village, a leader’s death and apparent resurrection from the dead fueled revival among a previously unreached group.

Pastor David Platt shared the story with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee Sept. 19 in Nashville, according to Baptist Press. Platt currently serves as president of the Southern Baptist’s mission board. The report came to Platt from an IMB missionary.

A Southeast Asian believer trained by Southern Baptist missionaries took some friends with him and began sharing the Gospel in a village “that was totally unreached with the Gospel until they got there.”

The villagers responded attentively, began to study the Bible like the noble Bereans, and many in the village began to believe.

As they came to Christ, a number brought idols, necklaces and amulets connected with pagan worship to the center of the village to be burned, Platt recounted. FULL POST

Posted 9/20/16 at 1:56 PM | Marvin Thompson

Trump Evangelicals: A bad Choice Getting Worse

This blog does not endorse political candidates, and, for that matter, does not believe in political party identification - especially as a Christian. The focus is on Christians and the way we apply biblical principles as we live out our lives in an ungodly world. The blog is concerned with Christian consistency where our words and deeds align with the scriptures as godly, reliable witnesses to the world. This concern is highlighted even more during the 2016 presidential campaign as Christians must choose between two major candidates that are prima facie morally flawed.

It is ironic that Trump evangelicals and many millennials say they support him and cannot vote for Hillary Clinton because she is corrupt and a liar. However, on both counts they seem to have made a terrible miscalculation. There is now overwhelming evidence that Trump is consistently corrupted, and a liar such has never been seen in this country’s political history. In fact, he seems to lie even about trivial things - a default response which is a pathological tendency typical of a person who does not consider lying a vice. He lies about his lying. He lies about his charitable giving.

He goes back on his word to pay his workers. He premeditatedly and deliberately defaults on his loans. He is someone who seems to think that corrupt business dealing is a virtue, and possibly a personal sacrifice equal to those who sacrifice their lives for this country; who admires despots, dictators and mass murderers as strong leaders; who thinks that it is okay to bomb the families of terrorists, and perhaps use nuclear weapons on those he disagrees with; who thinks that insulting gestures justifies blowing Iranian boats out of the water. FULL POST

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