This weekend our
nation experienced a horrible attack by a deranged man in Arizona. My thoughts
and prayers go out to the victims and their families in their time of need and
the American people grapple for answers to the question of how something as
senseless as this shooting could happen, we need to be measured and cautious
before we place blame.
Hasty accusations have already been made before much information is
known and an investigation has occurred. I believe this is counterproductive
and could in itself incite hatred. This is not a time for political
because we disagree with someone from another political party does not mean we
wish them harm. Furthermore, if something horrific happens to a person, it does
not mean those who hold differing views are responsible for the actions of a
frightens me is that our country has accepted murder, violence and rape as
entertainment that we see portrayed every day on TV, movies and video games. I
agree with Sheriff Clarence Dupnik when he alluded to the fact that this country
needs some serious soul searching. If we as a nation are not careful, we could
see the destruction of the foundation upon which this nation was
Clearly our politicians and pundits on the left and right must also
be careful. Their leadership and rhetoric must set an example for decency and
prayer is that God will put His loving arms around the families and victims in
their time of loss and great suffering, and that they would sense His presence
and comfort in their lives.
Franklin Graham is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association and international relief organization Samaritan's
Purse. Photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse.
Even if a weapon was formed against you it will
not prosper. So go ahead and stand firm in the faith and trust in the Lord your
God! He is able.
"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises
against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants
of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.
"Assess all your issues. After you have reviewed them, make up in your mind that nothing
shall separate you from the love of God."
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor
life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things
to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord.” -- Romans 8:38-39
After seven seasons as host of Canada's
“most listened to spiritual talk show,” Drew Marshall announced to his
listeners that he is no longer convinced there's a God. ABC News recently reported that a Southern Baptist
pastor has become a closet atheist, and an evangelical Bible Belt pastor said that he
had been living a lie and confessed, "I live out my life as if there is no
doubting talk show host said that he became a follower of Christ in 1981. But
it wasn’t until recently that he verbalized that he wasn’t convinced that God
existed, saying “I feel pretty close to walking away from my faith.”
A Micah Challenge paper being released today
reveals a critical need for Christians to further engage with international
advocacy efforts to tackle corruption as a key tool to eradicate poverty.
Open for Service: A Case for Good Governance, being launched on International Anti-Corruption
Day, refers to evidence of
corruption negatively impacting the poor in Latin America, Asia, Africa and
Europe. The paper urgently appeals for transparency in government, business and
the global Christian church.
The document follows
discussion between development
practitioners, politicians, economists and academics reflecting the views of
those living in extreme poverty and proposing solutions to corruption crimes,
which could prevent governments achieving the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) by 2015. Joel
Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge said: “Corruption is a like a tower block on a
runway. It accounts for over a trillion dollars going missing, and is a massive
barricade to the well-being of the poorest people in the world. It’s difficult to define, complex in its
treatment and entrenched in business and political systems. No wonder it has gone on underground for so
long. Simply, corruption kills people.”
The Rt. Rev. Dr
Benjamin Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos in Central Nigeria, spoke on
corruption as a global problem at Africa’s Transformation conference this year:
corruption in the West, Africa is an apprentice.”
The call for good
governance comes alongside firsthand evidence on the effects of corruption on
poverty released by multiple international stakeholders earlier this year.
Research in the World
Bank's Africa Development Indicators 2010
report highlights the severe effects of “quiet corruption” such as bribery,
weak regulation and poor service delivery in the health, education and
agriculture sectors of Africa. In one instance more than 50 percent of drugs
sold in Nigerian drugstores in the 1990s were found to be counterfeit. The
study also mentions that there are as many as 91 children per primary school
teacher in the Central African Republic, compared with 22 children per teacher
in Mauritius, due to absenteeism.
Case studies from
Peru, Cambodia and Zambia in a Tearfund report called Corruption and Its Discontentssimilarly establishes that corruption
and a culture of bribery form one of the biggest barriers to poverty
A female interviewee
from Moyobamba, Peru, said: “I took my
daughter-in-law to the hospital. She was really sick with appendicitis. She was
initially taken to one hospital but then she was referred elsewhere because
they needed to operate on her. When we arrived at the second hospital, the
nurse who was supposed to be supervising her said to me: ‘It is the end of my
day and I am very busy. I cannot see to her.’ I pleaded with her to take care
of her, and to give her the injections that she needed. I had to take her a
gift to persuade her to take proper care of her.”
Open for Service highlights the role that churches can play in
advocating for good governance in overcoming poverty. Former Director of the U.N. Millennium Campaign
Salil Shetty said in the
foreword: “The people in the frontend of the evangelical churches know that if
public resources are managed in a transparent and accountable manner, there is
nothing stopping the world from achieving the MDGs by 2015.”
President of Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe and Emminent Person of the Centre for Peace Initiatives
in Africa Goodwill Shana said: “The document captures the central role
that governance plays in the broad agenda of poverty reduction and
This paper launch follows Micah’s 10.10.10 campaign where
60 million Christians in over 70 nations prayed for an end to extreme poverty.
This global event formed part of a growing movement mobilizing the church to
play a greater part in alleviating poverty.
The end of the year is fast
approaching. It is a time of Christmas trees, Yule logs and year-end giving. But
as millions of Americans prepare to get out their checkbooks, the decision of
where to give has rarely been more difficult. In tough economic times,
nonprofit organizations are vying for decreasing resources and facing an uphill
battle in attracting the all-important year-end donor.
(Rob Hoskins pictured left; Lamar Vest
For decades, year-end giving has often been driven by the
stirred passions of a donor’s heart. We give
because we genuinely care. Our hearts are touched by images and stories of
children in poverty. Families living in
squalor. Individuals that have never heard the
good news that God loves them. Driven by these heart tugs, Americans currently give more than $3 billion to
charitable causes each year according to the Giving
President Barack Obama
sharply and unfairly criticized Israel while visiting Indonesia, the
world’s largest Muslim country. While visiting mosques and meeting Muslim
leaders and giving speeches about building better relations with Muslims, the
president gratuitously chose to criticize the Jewish state for daring to
announce the building of some 1,300 new apartments in Jerusalem to deal
with the city’s population growth. The president said such moves were an
impediment to the peace process with the Palestinians.
“This kind of activity is never
helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” said President Obama. “I’m
concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get
a breakthrough. … Each of these incremental steps can end up breaking trust.”
Unhelpful? Breaking trust? You’ve
got to be kidding me. Netanyahu imposed a 10-month
moratorium on new building in Jerusalem and the West Bank as a goodwill
gesture to the Palestinians to encourage them to begin direct peace
negotiations. Yet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas squandered
nine of those months by refusing to enter such talks. Then Abbas
engaged for a few weeks, but refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,
refused to agree to the Palestinians having a demilitarized state, and now has
broken off direct talks and refuses to re-engage with Netanyahu,
even though Israel is offering to allow the creation of a
Netanyahu, currently visiting the U.S., immediately responded to President
Obama’s criticism: “Jerusalem
is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel.” He
is absolutely correct. Israel has every right to build homes for Jews, Muslims
and Christians in her capital. The “unhelpful” intransigence is on the
Palestinian side. If Abbas wants a state, he should negotiate for one directly
and in good faith, not wait for President Obama to force Israel to
accept Abbas’ demands.
Moreover, the critical question
facing the U.S., Israel and the world right now should not be stopping the
building of apartments in Jerusalem but stopping the building of nuclear
weapons in Iran. Yet the Obama administration is not taking decisive action to
stop Iran from getting the bomb, and refuses to put a credible military threat
against Iran on the table.
Contrast President Obama’s deeply
unfriendy approach toward Israel with Canadian Prime
Minister Stephen Harper’s consistently courageous pro-Israel approach.
Harper was the first world leader to
order his U.N. delegation to walk out of a speech at the U.N.
General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad several years ago.
Harper was the first world leader to announce
Canada would not be sending a delegation to the U.N.’s Durban II conference,
which was supposed to be about opposing racism but turned into a vicious
anti-Israel forum whose keynote speaker was Ahmadinejad, a man who has
denied the Holocaust and has repeatedly called for the “annihilation” of
the Jewish State.
When the Gaza flotilla crisis unfolded,
Harper stood strongly with Israel’s right to defend herself from terrorist
and left-wing activist attacks, whereas the White House equivocated.
In contrast to President Obama, Prime
Minister Harper has built a warm and increasingly close professional
relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Harper has strongly urged the world
to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program before it is too late.
Harper has been so pro-Israel
that Canada recently lost a bid to be on the U.N.
Security Council because anti-Israel countries coalesced against
Canada and prevented her from attaining such a globally influential
This week, Prime Minister
Harper delivered a major address saying he and the people of Canada will
continue to stand with Israel and defend the Jewish people no matter what the
“As long as I am prime minister,
whether it is at the U.N. or the Francophonie or
anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost,” Harper told a
conference on anti-Semitism. ”Not just because it is the right thing
to do but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob
tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish
people are a threat to all of us.”
“We must be relentless in
exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is,” Harper said. According to a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Company,
Harper noted that Israel, like any country, may be subjected to fair
criticism, he said. But Harper said Canada must oppose what he called the
“three Ds—demonization, double standards and delegitimization.”
“And like any free country Israel
subjects itself to such criticism, healthy, necessary, democratic
debate. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very
existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for
condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.”
Please lift Harper
and his family, advisers and his country up to the Lord. Please ask the Lord to
bless them, to continue giving them courage and boldness. Please ask the
Lord, as well, what we as evangelical Christians can do to properly thank and
bless the Prime Minister for the courage of his convictions.
Lawmakers--both old and new--just got their next assignment:
repeal ObamaCare, says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American
Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Representing theWashington-based
constitutional law firm, which focuses on preserving religious liberties,
he says voters sent a powerful message to the Obama administration on Nov.
2. The results of the midterm
elections, he says, indicate Americans have rejected the president's agenda and
signaled a need to repeal the health care law. Sekulow outlines his thoughts
"The outcome of this election underscores the fact
that most Americans don't believe this country is on the right track and want a
change from President Obama's failed policies of the past two years. In addition
to jobs and taxes, voters
sent a powerful message about ObamaCare, the government-run, pro-abortion health
care law forced on the American people.
"This election was fueled by voters who were
concerned less about party labels and more about troubled policies.
Most Americans have said they want
ObamaCare repealed. And, now with a sweeping change in Congress, it's time to
do just that. The fact is with the outcome of this election--along with growing opposition to ObamaCare--this is the perfect time to act legislatively and
repeal the health care law.
"We have started a nationwide petition campaign to
demand that the new Congress repeal ObamaCare. We expect to hear from thousands of constitutional
conservatives and others who certainly want health care reform--but believe that ObamaCare is not the reform that
America needs or deserves."
In addition to legislative
efforts, the ACLJ has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington,
D.C., on behalf of five taxpayers challenging the
constitutionality of the federal health care law.
In support of other legal
challenges to ObamaCare, the ACLJ has filed an amicus brief in Virginia's legal challenge of the
health care law, representing 28 members of Congress and more than 70,000
Americans. The ACLJ will soon file an amicus brief supporting Florida's legal
by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on
constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C.
Here's a Christian response to the Millennium Development Goals.
In 2000, global leaders met for a United Nations summit and
agreed to "spare no effort" to rid the world of the scourge of extreme poverty,
which has kept more than 1 billion people in degrading and inhuman
Ten years later, 190 world leaders returned to the U.N.
building in New York to assess our progress on those promises to the world's
poor, and it was hard to escape a sense of significance, but outright
expectations were muted by the "outcomes" document that had already been agreed
upon by governments before they even met.
By common agreement it was little more than diplomatic
speech for, "We're doing OK, but we still have a long way to go."
You cannot fail if you never quit. What looks like failure today is merely a stepping-stone into your future. The lessons learned through the difficult places along the path will cause you to accelerate into a new level.
Don't allow the frustrations, losses and uncertainty of today cause you to miss your tomorrow. Declare that quitting is not an option. Declare that failure is not an option. Declare that your only option is winning and that today you are stepping into your future.
In this season of seeing and gaining new vision, the eyes of the church must be cleansed and focused. We cannot "see" through the traditions of our past or the fears of our future. We must restore a true vision of the one who liberated us to represent Him in sharing the Good News of the kingdom and take dominion in our generation. This rearrangement of vision is causing leaders for a new generation to see beyond the world's filters. These conforming screens have caused us to lose the same boldness and transformational change that Jesus of Nazareth displayed. He represented the Father and resisted the opposition of a supernatural foe that longs to mold us into an image denying the power of the King of all Kings.
A new governmental order will arise. The key to the civil government war will be the restored government of God regaining power to legislate the heavens. Binding and loosing, forbidding and permitting will be transferred to the hands of the apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists of the future. The government of God will lose the political spirit of Judas, align itself with heaven and represent the order of God. This means that these gifts-leaders in the church must be restored from territory to territory and nation to nation. The voice of God in His leaders must be restored and heard, just as Moses represented the Lord before Pharaoh, and as Jesus represented His Father before the Sanhedrin. We must do likewise!
Worldwide, more than 5 million Christian missionaries are connecting with people to share Christ's love with their neighbors. Of these, according to Todd M. Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, roughly 30,000 are in the parts of the world where little is known about Christ. Each day these people put their lives on the line to share the gospel with those who may otherwise never know Him.
Evangelism is built on relationships, which take years to establish. With the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, sometimes it's hard to imagine that in some parts of the globe people are beaten, jailed and killed for their faith. The danger of Christians taking an extreme approach to other belief systems is that it could bring about a tsunami of disaster for the missionaries and other humanitarian groups around the world.
The greatest mosaic of all is the kingdom of God. Diversity and multiethnicity exist not as an attempt to incorporate politically correct ideas into the church but as a manifestation of God's love toward all His children. Pentecost was a multiethnic, multilingual experience. American Christianity is not. That's about to change.
For too long the church in America has embraced defacto segregation whereby we define the church not only by its denominational affiliation but even more so by its racial and ethnic composition. This emerging generation is privy to a powerful truth: Only a multiethnic kingdom culture can repudiate the spirits of Herod, Absalom, Jezebel, and Sodom and Gomorrah.Racial diversity may very well save American Christianity. Historically, white evangelical believers focused on righteousness or vertical issues such as abortion and marriage while ethnic believers channeled resources into the horizontal issues of justice, poverty and equality. Next Generation believers will converge at the nexus of the gospel message-where John 3:16 meets Matthew 25; where righteousness marries justice while moral relativism, cultural decay and spiritual apathy simultaneously acquiesce before a robe of many colors.
In other words, American evangelicalism will be less segregated, more integrated and more committed to authentic community outreach. Be advised, our young people have no interest in sitting in the pews of a church that is entirely white, black or Hispanic. They desire diversity, not in the context of political correctness, but in the Spirit of Pentecost.
I believe the church will experience
five radical shifts by the year 2020. First, there will be a renewed
emphasis on integrity, purity and example—the three pillars of Paul’s
model. Results will no longer substitute for character, and gifts will
no longer replace anointing. Secondly, I believe that discipleship will
be more prominent than events or attendance. A new generation of
American believers will be on the scene emphasizing radical prayer,
radical evangelism and radical discipleship. Thirdly, there will be a
new missions movement sweeping our nation. Churches that have lost
their world vision will be planting thousands of churches at home and
abroad. Fourthly, along with harvest will come hostility. The darkened
minds of people will see the church as their enemy and focus on
eliminating us as their primary threat to their new morality and
Christ-less religion. Finally, the power of God will return to the
American church. The need for deliverance and healing will spark a
hunger for the gifts of the Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit and the
testimony of signs and wonders.
Larry StockstiII is senior pastor at Bethany World Prayer Center.
last few weeks have provided a fascinating insight into U.S.-Israel relations
and how the leaders of both countries see the Iran nuclear threat. Monday’s Oval Office meeting was important,
but it needs to be put in context with recent statements by CIA Director Leon
Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Let me
this was the first meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu,
it would have been great. The President was warm and friendly. He reaffirmed the
“special relationship” and “unbreakable bond” between the U.S. and Israel. He
said he trusted the Prime Minister and appreciated the steps Mr. Netanyahu is
taking towards peace and security. Netanyahu publicly invited Obama to come to
Israel and meet there, and Obama smiled and said, “I’m ready.”
With the advent of the Internet,
advanced telecommunications and satellite uplinks, technology has
changed how we communicate. Most of us never would have imagined these
developments would also impact how we worship. However, in recent
decades, the church has entered a new era: technology.
Traditionally the church brought the
people to the message; now the challenge is taking the message to the
people, regardless of geographic location or status. Today technology
enables the church to reach multitudes worldwide through various modes:
movies, television, podcasts, satellite, streaming and social Web sites
such as Facebook.
The church is using these advancements
to bridge the generational gap. Although baby boomers are accustomed to
human interaction, this new generation isn’t. Progressive churches must
use both the personal and the technical contact of the times. This
generation will sit at the dinner table and text one another, even
though they’re sitting nearby. Because churches are beginning to
utilize technology, they are now able to effectively reach younger and
older generations globally.
For the church to continue reaching
people, we must be willing to change with the times. The Bible says for
us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but who would
have thought that the assembling could one day include a chat room
called the sanctuary?
Bishop T. D. Jakesis pastor of The Potter’s House in
It is a decision that is both disappointing and
troubling. By a vote of 5-4, the
Supreme Court dealt a damaging blow to First Amendment law for religious
organizations in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez.
The Supreme Court was presented with the
following question: "May a public law school condition its official
recognition of a student group-and the attendant use of school funds and
facilities-on the organization's agreement to open eligibility for membership
and leadership to all students?"
Christianity has always had its controversies and robust debates. The charismatic movement alone has been riddled with arguments over flamboyant ministers, the so-called prosperity gospel and modern-day apostles and prophets.
The same types of debates also have rattled atheism. The most recent major controversy was the defection of the late Anthony Flew—once called the most famous atheist in the world—who in 2004 said evidence and science led him to conclude there was a God.
encouragement. Encouragement helps you reach goals that you thought were
impossible. Discouragement will cause you to operate at a lower level than your
optimum potential and it will limit your vision.
I read the
story of a man who was told by a teacher that he was not very smart. He needed
to quit school and learn a trade. He followed the advice of the teacher and
became an itinerant worker for 17 years. When he was in his 30s he took an IQ
test and discovered that he was a genius. He later became the chairman of the
Mensa Society, which requires an IQ of 140 for membership. For so many years of
his life, this man operated far beneath his potential. Why? Because someone
discouraged him. How different could this man's life have been if he had
Things are tough for many people right now. Give someone a word of
encouragement. Give that person a word of hope. Meet their need for
encouragement and watch that person achieve a great goal in their life.