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US Hiker Sentence Offers Insight Islamic End Time Prophecy

U.S. hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal attend their trial at the Tehran Revolutionary Court, Iran. (AP Images/Press TV)

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison on charges of espionage over the weekend. Terms like “mockery of justice” are floating around, but radical Islam watchers are not surprised.

“The conduct of this trial has quite simply made a mockery of justice. There does not appear to be any substance to the allegations that Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal are spies,” says Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director.

“The way this case has been handled from the outset strongly suggests that they are being held as a bargaining chip to allow Iran to obtain unspecified concessions from the U.S. government,” Smart continued.

Indeed, no evidence to suggest the men were conducting espionage is known to have been presented in court. The two men, who deny the charges, are planning to appeal the sentence in 20 days, according to their lawyer, Massoud Shafi'e. The men have already spent two years in Tehran’s Evin Prison. During that time, they have seen their family only once. read more


Legislators Find Roe v. Wade Loophole

AP Images/Rogelio V. Solis

In what appears to be a loophole in the famous Roe v. Wade decision that paved the way for legal abortions, Congresswoman Sandy Adams has co-sponsored a bill that would legislatively end the nation’s policy of unlimited abortion-on-demand.

Dubbed the Life at Conception Act, 105 members of the U.S. Congress co-sponsored the pro-life legislation.

The bill aims to leverage the fact that the Supreme Court never actually declared abortion itself to be a constitutional right. In its 1973 abortion decision, the Supreme Court invented a policy that effectively stops any regulation of abortion during the full nine months of pregnancy. read more


'Suing the Devil' Movie Takes Spiritual Battle to Courtroom

The Bible says when the thief is caught stealing he has to repay sevenfold. But have you ever wished you could just sue the devil?

That’s the idea behind Suing the Devil, a faith-based legal thriller that brings the spiritual battle to the courtroom. The film aims to offer insight into the danger of pride, the power of prayer, and the ultimate victory of faith in Christ over the forces of evil.

At a time when many are questioning the reality of hell and Satan—according to the latest Barna Group poll, only 50 percent of Christians believe in the devil—Suing the Devil aims its guns at Satan's strategy. The film opens in select theaters nationwide on Aug. 26.

In the film, Luke O'Brien (Bart Bronson), a washed-up janitor turned night law student, sues Satan (Malcolm McDowell) for $8 trillion. Satan, who has 10 of the country's best lawyers on his legal team, appears to defend himself on the last day before Luke files a defauly judgment. The whole world watches Legal TV to see who will win "the trial of the century." read more


Sexually Explicit Content Pushed on Public Schools

Maria Rivera, 4, works on a computer with other classmates at a pre-kindergarten class in Dallas. (AP Images/LM Otero)

Even as the triple-X domain is gaining momentum for pornographers, there’s a new battle in the public school system over Internet access to sexually explicit materials.

It seems the American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that seven public school districts deactivate web filters that block student access to websites with sexually-inappropriate content because the filters also block sites homosexual activist groups run.

The Alliance Defense Fund has sent letters to the districts urging them to reject the ACLU’s demands. In the letter, ADF assures the districts that they are well within their legal rights to retain their filters. The letters also provide the districts with a list of sites that display pornographic images and sexual advice that would be accessible to students if the districts give in to the ACLU’s demands.

ADF sent a similar letter to Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia earlier this month after the ACLU threatened that district over its web filter as part of the ACLU’s “Don’t Filter Me Initiative.” read more

Ethiopian Churches Expanding Despite Persecution

AP Images/Amanda Rivkin
The famine may be crippling. The Muslim voice may be strong. Fleeing refugees may crowd the borders. But the evangelistic churches in Ethiopia are linked in unity and strength like never before.

Global Advance witnessed this incredible unity at their Frontline Shepherds Conference conducted in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, last month.

With the Frontline Shepherds Conference, pastors were even more equipped with a sense of unity as they were trained in church growth, planting and missions. Pastors were also challenged in their personal walk with the Lord, and many committed to plant a new church within the next 12 months. read more


OpEd: American Idol is Homo-Promo-Phobic Claims Rival Host

American Idol judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez take part in a panel discussion in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Images/Chris Pizzello)

In January of 2010, I claimed that the FOX TV show American Idol hired Ellen DeGeneres to fight the rumors within Hollywood that the show was anti-gay; this after the more talented Adam Lambert lost the competition to a "Teen-Beat" hetero-dreamboat.

Idol's producers allowed DeGeneres to drive the show into the ground to appease a flaming Hollywood minority. Eventually profit-minded heads prevailed and the gay activist was replaced after one horrendous season.

Idol's producers had paid their alms to Hollywood's Gay-McCarthyites and thought they were in the clear. Not so fast claims Idol-rival co-host Adam Levine, a judge on The Voice. This week Levine charged that Idol was not doing enough to promote gay contestants. What does he want, pink-triangle armbands to tell viewers who is gay and who is straight? read more


Korea Finds Christian Help in Wake of Devastating Floods

AP Images/Ahn Young-joon

While droughts and famine are plaguing some parts of the world, flooding is prevalent in others.

Dozens of people were killed and thousands left homeless by recent flooding in the Kangwon and North and South Hwanghae province of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Forecasts call for continued heavy rains in the coming weeks. The weather has already caused severe damage to farmland and infrastructure.

Christian ministries are working to bring emergency supplies to help those in desperate need. Samaritan's Purse is among the early responders. The U.S. State Department has allocated $900,000 to American organizations to deliver flood relief to the country. Samaritan's Purse is matching the U.S. government's grant, bringing the total amount of assistance to at least $1.8 million. The organization will be providing relief items including blankets, temporary shelter materials and hygiene supplies to meet the critical needs of flood victims in North Korea. Staff members will travel to DPRK to monitor the delivery of this assistance.

"When I was in North Korea in May, I saw the country's increasingly dire needs," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "The recent flooding has made this situation even more acute. I'm very pleased that the United States government is separating political differences from humanitarian need. People are people. God made and created each and every one of us. The Bible teaches us that those who have much should share with those who have little." read more


Same-Sex Marriage Facebook Comments Get Teacher Suspended

A former "Teacher of the Year" at Mount Dora High School has been suspended from the classroom for a comment he made on his own personal Facebook page.

In the Facebook comment, Jerry Buell expressed his disapproval of legalized same-sex marriage in New York. The Florida educator said homosexuality is a sin and that seeing two "grooms" kissing on a news story revolted him.

School officials received a complaint about Buell's comment on Tuesday from a 2002 Mount Dora graduate, who was never even in the teacher's class. The Lake County School District responded by taking away his teaching privileges and reassigning him to administrative duties. read more


Megachurch Will Not Stream Zachery Tims Funeral Service

AP Iamges/John Raoux

After early plans to stream megachurch Pastor Zachery Tims' funeral service online, New Destiny Christian Center has decided to keep the event private. The service will not stream online or be open to media.

Tims, 42, was found dead in a New York City hotel room on Aug. 12. The cause of death has not yet been determined. About 2,000 people attended NDCC on Monday night to grieve Tims' death.

Speakers have not been announced for the funeral, though Orlando, Fla., news station WESH-TV is reporting that Bishop T.D. Jakes may be present. On Thursday afternoon, Jakes tweeted that he was traveling to Orlando to be with Tims' family. read more

The Shack, William P. Young

'The Shack' Lawsuit Dismissed

Author William P. Young’s contract dispute regarding his runaway best-seller, The Shack, has been settled out of court.

Court documents show that a jury trial was scheduled for late September in Ventura, Calif., but on Aug. 12 the case was dismissed without prejudice.

Young filed suit in November 2009 against Brad Cummings and Wayne Jacobsen. Windblown Media countersued for $5 million in federal court and made a claim over the authorship of the book. Cummings and Jacobsen collaborated with Young in writing what became a No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel and founded Windblown Media to publish it after it was rejected by multiple publishers. Cummings did not respond to queries for comment.

Hachette Book Group, which in 2008 began to distribute The Shack, also filed suit against Young and Windblown Media to determine where royalties should be paid and to protect itself from future lawsuits. In the wake of the dismissal, Hachette’s statement to Christian Retailing on the case was: “We’re very pleased that the parties have resolved their differences and we can move forward.” read more

VIDEO: 20 Years of 'Redeeming Love'

Over 1 million copies of the love story have been sold. Since its debut, now 20 years ago, Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love has inspired readers through a "life-changing story of God's unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love." Rivers invites you to share your redeeming love story for a chance to win a trip for two to San Francisco. Watch today's daily interest video to join Charisma in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the biblical retelling of the book of Hosea. 

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High Shipping Prices Hinder Spread of Gospel

AP Images/Gary Kazanjian

Gas prices are finally starting to slowly climb back down in the U.S., and the costs are expected to continue their decline. Over the past few months oil prices have gone down, and yet shipping costs—which rose with the rise in oil costs over the last few years—remain high.

Oil prices are still higher than they were a year ago, which is part of the reason that shipping costs have remained higher as well. Even as oil prices go down, some shipping companies are playing catch-up.

Increased shipping costs have presented a significant dilemma for ministries attempting to send large amounts of aid or resources to far-away nations. Global Aid Network (GAiN), for example, has millions of meals prepared to send to East Africa where severe drought has thrown millions into levels of starvation. However, GAiN has had difficulty procuring the funds to actually send the food to Africa. read more


Fears of Double-Dip Recession Heighten

AP Images/Richard Drew

Asian stocks dropped Friday over growing concerns of a possible U.S. recession and the growing debt crisis in Europe.

This news followed Thursday's rough tumble on Wall Street where new jobs numbers spurred another sell-off.

Nearly 408,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week, up 9,000 from the week before. read more

GFA film showing

Family of Demon-Possessed Girl Struggles to Accept Christ

When Pathik Sharma showed a movie about Jesus to a people staunchly devoted to ancestor worship, Bishakha Gupta came to watch—and so did the demon that possessed her body.

As the movie ended, Bishakha's breathing became erratic. Her parents noticed her distress and decided to take her to a doctor the next day. But Pathik, a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary, asked if he could pray for the young girl instead.

When Pathik stepped toward Bishakha, the girl pushed him away and would not let the missionary touch her. She became violent. The people around her held her hands and feet so Pathik could pray. read more


OpEd: What We Must Learn From the Zachery Tims Tragedy

God has something sobering to say to us through the death of this popular preacher.

Zachery Tims’ story had a great beginning. As a young man he met Jesus and was saved from a life of crime and drugs. He and his wife, Riva, moved from Baltimore to Orlando, Fla., in 1996 to launch a church that aimed to restore families and pull teens out of trouble. New Destiny Christian Center grew fast, mostly because of Tims’ passionate preaching. He was soon a regular on Christian television.

But things unraveled in 2009 when Tims was caught carrying on a yearlong affair with a stripper he met in France. He admitted to an “indiscretion” and got a few weeks of counseling, but he didn’t take serious time off for rehabilitation. Riva divorced him for his infidelity. The billboards that once featured photos of the happy couple were changed. By 2011 the roadside ads featured a shot of Tims by himself, with this slogan: “A Family Church Meeting Family Needs.” read more

Nepal Churches Live Under Constant Threat

AP Images/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Defying pouring rain and flooded streets, over two dozen people have gathered faithfully at the Putalisadak Church in the heart of capital city Kathmandu for the regular Thursday evening Bible study class, bringing a smile of satisfaction on the face of Pastor Dev Kumar Chetri.

The smile fades, however, when he talks about the problems that Nepal’s second-oldest church has faced due to government discrimination. Hundreds of other churches scattered through the former Hindu kingdom have faced the same problem. read more


Christian Worshippers Brutally Beaten in Vietnam

A violent attack against indigenous minority Christians in the central highlands of Vietnam has left 16 men and women severely injured and one man still under arrest; his welfare remains unknown to date, according to a report from International Christian Concern.

To be sure, the systematic persecution of Degar Montagnard Christians continues, with this brutal attack as proof of the regime’s purposeful policing, harassment, and aggressive oppression of this indigenous people and minority religious group.

On July 7, at approximately 8 p.m., Vietnamese security forces and police descended upon a worship service in the village of Buon Kret Krot (H’Ra commune, Mang Yang district, Plei Ku city, in Gai Lai province), and began kicking and beating the attendees. Security forces threatened the villagers, stating: If anyone worships like this way, we will return to arrest you all and put you in prison for five years.” read more


OpEd: Is Religious Tolerance America's New God?

On June 26,  the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. was the latest church to be used for the promotion of syncretism—the attempted union of different religions. The idea was that “Christian” ministers, Jewish Rabbis, and Muslim Imams would co-lead a service in “Christian” churches around America using a multi-faith liturgy.

Sadly, 70 other churches across America signed on to do the same thing. The event was organized by a group called Faith Shared. It comes as no shock that the service was designed to promote “religious tolerance.” This is indeed a major step forward in promoting what I believe to be America’s new god of tolerance. read more

Zachery Tims dies

Zachery Tims: Forget About the Past

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in Charisma magazine in June 2007. In the article Pastor Zachery Tims, who died on Aug. 12 in a New York City hotel room, exhorted Christians to pursue God's destiny for their lives. The article is characteristic of Tims' charismatic teaching that helped him build a megachurch with 8,000 members in Orlando, Fla.

Where you're going in life is more important than where you've been.

When you're driving a car, do you ever pay attention to how big the windshield is compared to the rearview mirror? Why do you think the rearview mirror is smaller? It's because where you're going is more important than where you've been. read more

Muslim Mobs Burn Pentecostal Church Meeting Place

AP Images/Slamet Riyadi

Suspected Islamists were behind the burning of three homes used as churches on Sumatra Island’s Riau Province this month, though a political motive may also have played a role, Christian leaders said.

Muslim mobs burned the meeting places of a Batak Karo Protestant Church (GBKP) congregation and a Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPDI) group on Aug. 1, and that of a Methodist Church of Indonesia on Aug. 2, all in Kuantan Singingi district.

Provincial GBKP leader Sahat Tarigan reportedly said about 100 people on motorcycles arrived at the home at 11 p.m. on Aug. 1, throwing stones, threatening church members with knives and ultimately pouring gasoline and setting it on fire. A number of church members were inside painting at the time of the attack, but there were no casualties, Tarigan told Radio 68H News Agency. read more


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