Persecution Fridays – Eritrea

July 1, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Eritrea: Unimaginable Suffering

Eritrean Christians fleeing persecution often face appalling conditions in Egypt, according to a report on the Christian Today website. The report cites The Barnabas Fund as saying that Egypt is the most common destination for Christians escaping from Eritrea, one of the most hostile countries in the world for believers. The Eritrean government sees Christians and evangelicals as a threat to national security because of their allegiance to God over the state. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Eritrea…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion

May 22, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Authentic Religion
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

“Rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30)

“Nothing but leaves” (Mark 11:13)

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
(1 John 3:18).

“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1)

If we profess to have any religion at all, let us be careful that it is authentic.  I say it emphatically, and I repeat the saying: Let us be careful that our religion is authentic.

What do I mean when I use the word “authentic.”  I mean that which is genuine, and sincere, and honest, and thorough.  I mean that which is not inferior, and hollow, and formal, and false, and counterfeit, and sham, and nominal.  “Authentic” religion is not mere show, and pretense, and skin-deep feeling, and temporary profession, and works only on the outside.  It is something inward, solid, substantial, intrinsic, living, lasting.  We know the difference between counterfeit and authentic money–between solid gold and tinsel–between plated metal and silver–between authentic stone and plaster imitation.  Let us think of these things as we consider the subject of this paper.  What is the character of our religion?  Is it authentic?  It may be weak, and feeble, and mingled with many defects.  That is not the point before us today.  Is our religion authentic?  Is it true?

The times in which we live demand attention to this subject.  A want of authenticity is a striking feature of a vast amount of religion in the present day.  Poets have sometimes told us that the world has passed through four different states or conditions.  We have had a golden age, and a silver age, a brass age, and an iron age.  How far this is true, I do not stop to inquire.  But I fear there is little doubt as to the character of the age in which we live.  It is universally an age of cheap metal and alloy.  If we measure the religion of the age by its apparent quantity, there is much of it.  But if we measure it by its quality, there is indeed very little.  On every side we want MORE AUTHENTICITY. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion…

Persecution Fridays: Vietnam

April 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Vietnam: Evangelism Thriving

Evangelist Luis Palau made history on April 9 when he preached at the Protestant centennial celebration in Vietnam, becoming the first U.S.-based evangelist to preach at a major event there since the 1975 communist takeover. The 76-year-old evangelist preached on two consecutive nights at the Thanh Long Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, which was not the venue the event organizers had originally sought. Event organizers had planned to hold the event in an open field, but government officials allowed the event only on the condition that it be held in the soccer stadium.

Organizers requested permission to hold the event months in advance, but the government granted approval just three hours before it was to begin. These delay tactics seem to have become standard procedure for the Vietnamese government. For the past two years, the central government’s Bureau of Religious Affairs has waited until the last minute to approve Christmas events held by house church groups.

It was an “absolute miracle” that the event was held, said the leader of Vietnam’s Evangelical Fellowship of house churches. Hundreds of volunteers and technicians worked heroically to move equipment from an open field in one part of the city to the soccer stadium in another part of the city. Organizers had to notify thousands of people of the venue change. They used word of mouth, website announcements, Twitter, Facebook and text-messaging to get the word out. The evening began at 9 p.m., just two hours late.

Luis Palau began his message at 11 p.m., delivering a clear evangelistic sermon. When the service ended, after midnight, about 800 people came forward to receive Christ. On the following day, Sunday, April 10, more than 12,000 people filled the stadium, and more than 1,000 came forward at the call to follow Christ.

Dr. Nguyen Xuan Duc, president of the Vietnam World Christian Fellowship, told Compass Direct News that he was very encouraged about the future of the church in Vietnam. “These are watershed days for Protestantism in Vietnam,” he said. “There is no fear, but rather wonderful spontaneity and irrepressible joy. Events like this happen in spite of the government and without the blessing of some overly conservative church leaders. What we see is young, vibrant, lay-led, internationally connected and very media-savvy.”

The Palau team traveled north to Hanoi, where they planned to host a similar event the weekend of April 16–17. At the time of this writing, government officials had not approved the event.

“Again they said today, ‘Of course you have the permission, but not in a large open field,’ said Palau in a statement to BosNewsLife. “It will be held in a covered coliseum, which means smaller crowds, and less visible,” he added.

Persecution Fridays: Nigeria

April 1, 2011 at 9:22 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Nigeria: Churches: Bomb Targets

Two failed bomb attacks on churches in Jos, Nigeria, have magnified the fears of Christians in the region. On Sunday, March 20, a bomb exploded prematurely, killing three men who were carrying it toward two churches. The intended targets were worshipers at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and the nearby Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN)

The same day, a bomb planted at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church on Jengre Road in Jos failed to detonate. The two men who placed the bomb escaped on a motorcycle. It is not known whether the two attempted bombings were related or committed by the same group.

In neighboring Bauchi state, more than 4,000 people were displaced in a series of night attacks by Muslim Fulani tribesmen that began March 10. In the Tafawa Balewa area, 463 homes, 11 shops and 13 churches were burned.

Attacks by the tribesmen have continued even after the deployment of security personnel. Locals attributed the attacks to a group of 2,000 militants from other northern Nigerian states who assembled in the area. The attackers reportedly wear army and police uniforms.

Anti-Christian violence has increased in northern Nigeria since January of this year, when 200 armed Fulani youths attacked churches and Christian homes. Sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria began in 2001 with a large-scale riot in the city of Kaduna.

Persecution Fridays: Iran

February 4, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Iran: Government Cracks Down

Since Christmas, more than 70 Christians have been arrested in Iran in a large, well-coordinated strike. Most of those arrested belong to the house church movement. Many were released from custody, but a dozen or more remain in detention. Those charged with trying to convert Muslims face the possibility of a death sentence. Officials say that more detentions are possible, and Tehran’s governor said in a recent speech that evangelicals are “corrupt and deviant.”

According to a Washington Times report, Saman Kamvar of the Iranian Christian News Agency attributes the increased persecution of evangelicals to remarks made last year by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Khamenei denounced the house church movement during a speech on Oct. 19, warning Iranians against the “network of house churches” that “threaten Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims.”

Christians, including traditional groups such as Armenians, Assyrians and Chaldeans, make up less than 1 percent of the population. About 0.2 percent are evangelical Christians, and many of those are part of the house church movement. Because the Iranian government cannot monitor them, house churches present a greater threat than historically established churches.

VOM works closely with house churches in Iran, supporting them with literature, Bibles and other ministry tools. Contacts tell us that Iranians are very open to the gospel right now, after a generation of living under the heavy hand of Islam. House churches are growing daily as Iranians trust Christ with their lives. Pray that these recent arrests will only strengthen the commitment of new Christians. Pray that house church leaders who are under surveillance will find creative ways to continue sharing the gospel.

Persecution Fridays: Egypt

January 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Egypt: Killer Sentenced to Death

An Egyptian court has sentenced a man to death for killing six Coptic Christians and a Muslim policeman in January 2010. Mohamed Ahmed Hussein was found guilty of premeditated murder for his role in a drive-by shooting outside a church in Nag Hamadi, in southern Egypt. VOM assisted some of the Nag Hamadi victims with medical care and recovery.

The sentence was issued just two weeks after a suicide bomber killed 23 people at a Coptic church in Alexandria. AFP news agency reports that the bishop of Nag Hamadi, Anba Kirolos, said his congregation was “satisfied” with the ruling. Two other men are also on trial in connection with the 2010 shooting.

A VOM rescue team has been caring for several survivors of the Nag Hamadi shootings, like this 20-year-old man.The lack of action on the case had frustrated Egypt’s Coptic population, who feel more and more marginalized by the Muslim majority as anti-Christian sentiment against them grows. Copts often complain of discrimination and harassment, and protest that attacks against them go unpunished or result in light sentences. The harsh sentence against Hussein may indicate that the government is listening to the complaints from Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the population in Egypt. Evangelicals make up less than 4 percent.

Continue to pray for unity in Egypt. Pray for the physical healing of those injured in the church attacks, and pray for families who lost loved ones. Ask God to give strength to Christians suffering harassment, torture and ill treatment.

Newslinks 11/21/10

November 21, 2010 at 11:23 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Obama’s Asia Trip Not Seen As a Success
(CNSNews.com)
– As he ended a 10-day visit to Asia, President Obama told reporters on Air Force One he believed that “all of Asia is eager for American engagement and leadership,” but his upbeat assessment sharply contrasted with the view of critics who have characterized the trip as disappointing – if not a downright failure.

Q&A With Virginia Attorney General: State’s Lawsuit Against Obamacare ‘Is Not About Health Insurance, It’s About Liberty’
(CNSNews.com)
– Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli told CNSNews.com that the lawsuit his state has filed against the health-care reform law signed by President Barack Obama in March is about preserving the liberty of individual Americans against a federal government that is over-reaching its legitimate constitutional authority.

Obama’s Claiming More Power Over Americans Than King George III, Says Virginia Attorney General
(CNSNews.com) – Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, who has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama last March, says Obama and the Congress that enacted that law–which mandates that individuals must buy government-approved health insurance plans–are seeking a power over the lives of Americans that even King George III did not claim to possess. Continue Reading Newslinks 11/21/10…

Newslinks 10/24/10

October 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

 

National Debt Increases for 53rd Straight Fiscal Year; Jumped $1.65 Trillion in FY 2010
(CNSNews.com)
– The national debt increased for the 53rd straight fiscal year in fiscal 2010, when it jumped $1.65 trillion, according to data posted online by the Bureau of the Public Debt and confirmed by a spokesperson for the agency. The bureau says its reporting of the federal debt at the end of each fiscal year (as posted here) states exactly to the penny the full and actual amount the U.S. government has borrowed as of that date.

Value-Added Tax Would Hurt Economy, Kill Jobs, Business Group Study Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– An economic analysis sponsored by the National Retail Federation shows that a Value-Added Tax would damage economic growth and kill hundreds of thousands of jobs. The study showed that a large reduction in federal spending would be better for the economy. President Obama’s Fiscal Commission reportedly is considering a VAT as one option for reigning in out-of-control federal deficits.

Iran Elected to Chair OPEC Next Year; Dismisses Western Energy Sanctions as Ineffective
(CNSNews.com)
– For the first time since the Islamic revolution, Iran has been handed the rotating presidency of the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations. The move comes at a time when Western governments are seeking to target Iran’s energy sector over its nuclear programs. Iran is pushing for oil to be priced against a currency, or basket of currencies, other than the U.S. dollar. Continue Reading Newslinks 10/24/10…

Ecumenism

October 6, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | 5 Comments
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Everyone has a cause or number of causes that they are passionate about. We seek out others of like mind to band together and make our voices heard. Depending on the cause, we may or may not agree with everything said and we weigh the causes based on this. Recently, Glenn Beck held a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that drew 300,000 – 400,000 people. The rally was labeled as a religious one and not a political one. Among those gathered were Muslims, Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, and other faiths. Throughout the day, the group was encouraged to turn to God and to rule themselves. This brings me to a question that I think that the church needs to consider very carefully. Continue Reading Ecumenism…

Newslinks 09/19/10

September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Stephen Hawking Takes on Sir Isaac Newton; Christians Respond
Physicist Stephen Hawking made headlines this past week for taking on arguably the most influential scientist in human history, Sir Isaac Newton.

12-Hour Prayer, Fasting Rally Hits Sacramento

Emergency in Pakistan Will ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better’

Church Mourns Loss of U.S. Army Chaplain in Afghanistan

Poll: 2 in 3 New Yorkers Want Park51 Mosque Moved

Parliament of the World’s Religions Calls for 9/11 Solidarity Continue Reading Newslinks 09/19/10…

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