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Randy Alcorn: Insights from the Christian Book Expo

March 31, 2009 --

Randy Alcorn,
Eternal Perspective Ministries, Blog
Oregon author of Heaven

Sunday night Nanci and I returned from the Christian Book Expo in Dallas where I did a number of book signings, and was involved in three upfront presentations/panels. One was with Alex and Brett Harris, authors of Do Hard Things who have the great site www.therebelution.com, and Tullian Tchividjian, the new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian (where D. James Kennedy was for many years). Three great guys. Really enjoyed our time together.

Then in the afternoon Liz Curtis Higgs and I did a presentation about drawing people to Scripture through fiction.

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Federal Judge: Small Oregon Church Can use Hallucinogenic Tea

March 30, 2009 --

By Traci Scott,

An Ashland church can import and brew a hallucinogenic tea for its religious services, according to a U.S. District Court ruling.  Judge Owen Panner issued a permanent injunction on March 26 barring the federal government from prohibiting or penalizing the Church of the Holy Light of the Queen from sacramental use of “Daime tea.”

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United Church of Christ Promotes Contraceptive Distribution in churches

March 28, 2009 --

Weekend National Religion News Focus:

Institute on Religion and Democracy – According to the HIV and AIDS Network of the United Church of Christ (UCC), Condoms should be distributed at places of worship. The March 19 statement, issued at a presentation to the UCC Wider Church Ministries Board, also called for making condoms available at faith-based educational settings.  According to UCC executive Michael Schuenemeyer, “The practice of safer sex is a matter of life and death. People of faith make condoms available because we have chosen life so that we and our children may live.”

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Books aim to solve famous Atheist Easter Challenge

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Weekend National Religion News Focus:

Idaho Pastor Claims Successful Answer to Famous Atheist’s Easter Challenge. MEDIA ADVISORY, Mar. 24 /Christian Newswire/ –   Dan Barker was once a preacher and writer of popular Christian songs, but in 1984 he told friends he did not believe in God any longer and walked away from ministry. He is now co-president of the largest atheist group in the U.S., the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF, Inc.) in Madison, Wisconsin.

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How do you define Christian art? Should you?

March 27, 2009 --

An upcoming conference “Faith and the Arts” merges creativity with the creator along with many probing questions
By Kelsi Johns,
New Wineskins Ministries, Portland

What Makes Art “Good”? This is a loaded question for the Christian community.  The appreciation of art does not rely solely on aesthetic properties, or on how enjoyable the piece may be. The piece tends to be judged, rather than openly experienced, and often becomes a sort of morality litmus test. The upcoming April 25th “Faith and the Arts” conference will explore art and culture in relation to Christ. Is there such a thing as “Christian” art? Since there are so many forms of art, I will explore how, as believers, we tend to view and judge printed art.

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The doctor from Bend who saved 100 lives a day

March 26, 2009 --

Bend physician’s medical mission a success
By Medical Teams International
Tigard, Oregon

Dr. Randy Jacobs cared for thousands of Congolese refugees; now ready to talk about experiences.  Dr. Randy Jacobs, a Medical Teams International volunteer, helped save 150-300 lives a day for a month in southwest Uganda. This emergency room doctor from Bend, Ore., cared for thousands of displaced Congolese families who fled severe violence and intense rebel fighting in their homeland.  Most have witnessed shocking atrocities and traveled dozens of miles on foot into the safety of neighboring Uganda.

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Conference challenges a rethink on how we worship

March 25, 2009 --

By Sheila Allen
NW Baptist Convention

“I believe that a lot of times our worship ‘service’ is more of a barrier to God than a bridge to God,” said Tim Brown, pastor of First Baptist Church in Clovis, Calif.

Brown and Ken Hendrix, worship and financial pastor at First Baptist, spoke to pastors from across the Northwest who are in cluster groups sponsored by the Northwest Baptist Convention.  Invited guests to the recent meetings were worship leaders who serve alongside these pastors and set the tone for weekly corporate encounters with God in their churches.  “In many churches we worship the style of music and order of worship more than the God we are worshiping,” Brown said. “We should always be looking for better ways to engage people in worship.”

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Portland pastor reflects on ethnic division and reconciliation

March 24, 2009 --

A Reflection on Ethnic Division and Reconciliation Within the Church
Kevin Rogers
Pastor of Community, Imago Dei Community, Portland, Oregon

Witnessing Racism

I’ve witnessed racism. I’m sure of it. I’ve had in-laws drop racist jokes in my lap and been faced with the awkward scenario of whether or not to laugh. Yet if I’m honest I have to admit that I probably don’t recognize the racism I witness on a regular basis. My pastor calls this “passive racism.” I’m sure I witness it. I’m sure I’m guilty of it. And I hate it.

Racism is division. Whenever there is a racist thought or action (whether explicit or implicit) there is an implied “us” and “them.” This assumes a distance between the two. Division. When I read God’s word, it is full of division. But this was not part of God’s plan in the Genesis story. And this is not a part of God’s plan in the redemption story. We live between two bookends of perfection, and unfortunately division is part of the church. Sunday mornings truly are still one of the most segregated hours of our week. I witness it. I’m guilty of it. And I hate it.

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425,000 Hear Luis Palau During Historic Guatemala Festival

March 23, 2009 --

By Luis Palau,
Palau Ministries, Beaverton

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, Mar. 17 /Christian Newswire/ — On the heels of a 10-day, region-wide evangelistic campaign that brought international evangelist Luis Palau face-to-face with Guatemala’s top leadership, the two-day Guatemala Festival at Parque de la Democracia (March 13-14) proved just as historic — reaching hundreds of thousands of individuals with a clear Gospel presentation.

Guatemala’s president, first lady, vice president, and three ministers of state all attended the festival, a first in the history of Palau festivals. President Alvaro Colom addressed the crowd from the main stage, sharing his feelings toward evangelicals in Guatemala and his appreciation toward Palau and his team.

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Mob Brutally Attacks Missionaries

March 22, 2009 --

CARROLLTON, Texas, Mar. 19 /Christian Newswire/ — A large mob of anti-Christian extremists brutally attacked two Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries in Himachal Pradesh, India, on Saturday, March 14. After stripping them naked and beating Murari Jay and Atul Rajesh, the vicious group burned all their belongings and then had the missionaries arrested.

The mob of about 30 people barged into the place where Murari and Atul were staying. Humiliating the missionaries, the group tore the men’s clothes off and beat them. Murari sustained severe injuries to his back after mob members repeatedly kicked him, and Atul suffered acute head trauma. Other members of the mob set fire to everything the missionaries owned.

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