The CBS News magazine 60 Minutes did a report on the state of the religious minority of Christians in the Middle East facing persecution from ISIS. Watch the video below.
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By Tom Krattenmaker
Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
– Article Also featured on..USA TODAY,
Ah, the perils and pitfalls of the Christmas … er … holiday season.
And they’re off!
Now that it’s 2015, we can say it: There will be a presidential election next year. Public and news media interest will build toward the frenzied crescendo that characterizes these races. After all, in a country that loves competition, what could be more riveting than the contest for the most powerful political office in the land?
Yet for all Americans, especially people of faith and values, there’s more to this quadrennial exercise than the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.
“It is not about which candidate will win, but which candidate, if elected, will help make us a better people,” says Miroslav Volf, a theology professor at Yale Divinity School and author of the book A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common Good.
By Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministries, Sandy Oregon
Please visit his blog
The term “bucket list” was popularized by the 2007 movie of that name. It’s an inventory of things people want to do before they “kick the bucket.” The idea is, since our time on earth is limited, if something is important for us to do, we have to do it now, because this is our only chance to do it.
This makes sense from a naturalistic worldview, one which doesn’t recognize any afterlife. It also makes sense from various religious worldviews that maintain there may be existence after death, but without resurrection and physical properties, and with no continuity between this life and the next. The one worldview in which the bucket list makes no sense is biblical Christianity.
Don’t misunderstand. My wife Nanci and I enjoy life—going new places and doing new things. I don’t believe this is wrong, nor is it wrong to list things you’d like to do if God gives you the resources and strength. But the “bucket list” mentality, that this life is our only chance to ever enjoy adventure and fun, is profoundly unbiblical. It disregards the teaching of the resurrection:
Marty Rathbun, who was a former member of the Church of Scientology before he left, is interviewed by NBC Today show on his experience as a high level staff member within Scientology. The interview relates to a new HBO documentary called Going Clear. With every controversial story there is another side as the Church of Scientology is attacking the documentary as a complete lie. Below is the interview followed by a second news clip on the documentary and Scientology’s response. (see full official letter response here)
Rejecting claims that student “hecklers” can silence patriotic speech, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse a lower court ruling that declared it unsafe for California public school students to wear American flag t-shirts to school. In a reply brief filed with the Supreme Court in the case of Dariano v. Morgan Hill, in which several students were ordered by school officials to cover up their American flag t-shirts on May 5, 2010, allegedly because officials feared that other students celebrating the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo would be offended, Rutherford Institute attorneys argue that the school should not have censored the pro-American speech but should instead have controlled any unruly students.
The Rutherford Institute’s reply brief in Dariano v. Morgan Hill is available at www.rutherford.org.
“There are all kinds of labels being put on so-called ‘unacceptable’ speech today, from calling it politically incorrect and hate speech to offensive and dangerous speech, but the real message being conveyed is that Americans don’t have a right to express themselves if what they are saying is unpopular or in any way controversial,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. “Whether it’s through the use of so-called ‘free speech zones,’ the requirement of speech permits, or the policing of online forums, what we’re seeing is the caging of free speech and the asphyxiation of the First Amendment.”
A mother-daughter team of psychics swindled Ralph Raines Jr., the heir to a Washington County logging company, out of an estimated $15.5 million. The lonely 66-year-old Raines was never married and had no children. He lived for more than a decade believing that a young woman who called herself Mary Marks was his wife and the boy who called him “Daddy” was his son. He thought Rachel Lee was helping him care for his elderly father and manage his timber company. In reality, Rachel Lee was transferring millions of dollars out of Raines’ accounts into her own personal accounts, and Mary Marks was Rachel Lee’s daughter, Porsha Lee. Porsha Lee and Raines were never married, and the boy was the son of Porsha Lee’s sister. The psychics managed to scam Raines by going to elaborate lengths to create a dream state and keep him confused.
By NW Baptist
Michael Johnson learned a million little things in the U.S. Army. He learned to make his bed Army-style. He learned to march in the Army band. He learned to shoot an M-16 rifle and throw a grenade.
But the most important lessons he learned during close to a decade was a how to be a leader and to look at everyday life as a mission field. Those lessons continue to serve him well as a church planter in Moxee, WA, near Yakima.
“The Army — really any military service — it is a huge mission field,” Johnson said. “The values that the Army espouses — loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity — are completely things that a Christian would affirm, that the church would affirm, but when you get into the military culture itself, you realize that most of the people are lost.”
A Warrior’s Faith press release,
Warner Bros. Pictures “American Sniper” follows the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the most deadly sniper in American history, and his Navy SEAL Team 3 brothers. The blockbuster was adapted from Chris Kyle’s New York Times #1 best-selling book of the same name, which was dedicated to Kyle’s Navy SEAL teammate and close friend Ryan “Biggles” Job, a central character in both works.
Chris Kyle and Ryan “Biggles” Job (pronounced Jobe) went through grueling SEAL training together where Ryan earned his nickname “Biggles” because of his size. Once deployed to Iraq, the two were stationed on a rooftop in Ramadi when Job was shot in the face and gravely wounded by an enemy sniper. Job miraculously survived, but was permanently blinded.
Portland event center apologizes for refusing to serve gay rights group
By Faith News Note
An event center in NE Portland has apologized for refusing to rent space to a gay rights group. The Ambridge Event Center, whose building is owned by the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, initially refused to serve Portland’s Black PFLAG chapter because they are an African American LGBTQ support group. The group threatened to sue the center, saying that their refusal violated the Oregon Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people by businesses that serve the public. The center’s manager apologized for their refusal and offered to give the group free space for their event. The group in turn has dropped the lawsuit.
By Sheila Allen
PORTLAND – A majority of young adults are moving into core urban areas of Portland, according to Wes Hughes, Northwest Baptist Convention church planting catalyst. Although nearly 65 percent of Portlanders claim to be either religious or spiritual, church planting is not for the faint of heart in the largest urban center in Oregon.
“It’s going to take all kind of models of church in Portland,” said Hughes. “It really is like those moving to North Africa and adopting the local customs. But Portland is great because there is a 35-year master plan for the city with lots of data for those willing to take the time to research it.”
For now, Portland is the middle of a “doughnut hole” for Northwest Baptists, as churches in the suburbs dominate the scene. With 95 vibrant neighborhood associations comprising the city, many older areas are undergoing revitalization and attracting people.
“We have no strong churches in Portland currently,” noted Hughes. “I have been praying to the Lord of the harvest, asking him to send disciples back into the city. It is a dream of mine to have a church in each of those 95 neighborhoods. That will take pastors and lay leaders who will move into these neighborhoods, begin to make friends and become an integral part by learning what the values are. Just moving here doesn’t necessarily mean that people will trust you or your message.”
Several church planters are laying foundations in a few areas around the city, and it is crucial for those leaders to see themselves as pastors of the local communities, not just a church, stated Hughes.
Recruiting those with missionary zeal is a high priority for Hughes and Clay Holcomb, also an NWBC church planting catalyst who is also the North American Mission Board’s “Send City” coordinator for Portland.
“We have spent the last two years creating some momentum to bring church planters and their partners in to get the ball rolling,” said Holcomb, who first came to the metro area as a church planter himself. “We have a good mix of Anglo and ethnic church starts in the works, and I try to communicate that we know the value of working together and we support each other. We are definitely building on the shoulders of those who have come before us.”
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