Persecution Fridays: Algeria

June 10, 2011 at 7:47 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

Algeria: Churches Threatened

A provincial governor ordered seven churches in the province of Béjaïa to close recently, but Christian leaders do not intend to comply. On May 22, 2011, the Béjaïa police commissioner sent an official letter to the head of the Algerian Protestant Church Association (EPA), stating that all churches in his province and around the country should be closed immediately. The notice cited a May 8 decision from the governor of Béjaïa province.

The police commissioner wrote, “Close down all the worship places around the country once for all, the places which are used now and the places which are under construction.” According to the notice, if the churches do not comply, they may face “severe consequences and punishments.”

After delivering the notice, police summoned the leaders of seven churches in Béjaïa to sign a document accepting the order. But the leaders did not comply, citing the regional governor’s limited authority. They will continue to hold regular church services as scheduled.

“They said we have to be in conformity to the law,” Mustapha Krim, a president of the EPA, told Compass Direct News. “We’ve always tried to do this and have submitted all that they requested. Now it’s up to them to give us the authorization and do what they need to do.”

Church registration is required under Ordinance 06-03, a law enacted in 2006. The churches have tried to register, but officials have refused to grant or even respond to applications for registration, EPA leaders told Compass Direct. “This first notification may be the beginning of permanently closing every place of worship other than Islam throughout the national territory,” a church leader in Tizi Ouzou told International Christian Concern. “We must begin to make noise and to not allow this to pass over in silence, or else the authorities will crush us.”

What has Jesus done for me? (long)

April 22, 2011 at 11:08 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems that more and more these days people are asking one simple question. It may take a few different forms, but at it’s root, it’s all the same: “What has Jesus done for me?”. Sometimes it comes out in the attitudes, sometimes in actual words but it’s there none the less. Man’s pride puts himself at the top of the pyramid with everything else beneath him. Even family and friends are often under self. Some that ask this question, do so because they can’t see how Jesus has done anything for them. They think that they are responsible for their own success. Ironically, they always seem to blame God for their failures. Continue Reading What has Jesus done for me? (long)…

Persecution Fridays: Cuba

March 4, 2011 at 10:17 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 

Cuba: Persecution Increases

Pastors and Christian leaders in Cuba are reporting a shift in how the government treats Christians. The government appears to have moved away from higher profile forms of oppression, such as threatening to shut down or destroy churches, and is now focusing pressure on church leaders, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Church leaders both within and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) report receiving frequent visits from state security agents and Cuban Communist Party (CCP) officials. The CCC is an umbrella organization representing Protestant churches. These visits and meetings seem to have the intent of intimidating church leaders and making them aware they are under close surveillance.

In October 2010, Pastor Homero Carbonell decided to resign as leader of La Trinidad First Baptist Church in Santa Clara after prolonged government pressure and threats, according to CSW. He hoped giving up his leadership position would alleviate some of the demands on the congregation, but nothing has changed.

Pastor Carbonell, a respected high-level denominational leader, denounced the government persecution in an open letter, according to CSW. He wrote that spurious accusations against him, including allegations that he is associated with the counterrevolution, brought a series of penalties to his church. The pastor also described how the Religious Affairs Office has treated the church over the past three years. In one meeting with the Religious Affairs Office, officials told Pastor Carbonell to “behave himself.”

CSW reports that the government’s attention on Pastor Carbonell and his church may have been prompted by the church’s refusal to expel family members of political prisoners and members of human rights or pro-democracy groups.

Religious groups in Cuba are under the authority of the Religious Affairs Office of the CCP’s Central Committee, rather than a government body. Church leaders have complained for years about difficulties dealing with the Religious Affairs Office, especially with regard to permission for church repair or construction. Many of VOM’s partners in Cuba have faced conflict with authorities while building or repairing churches. Some get around requirements by constructing structures with roofs but no walls.

Bibles and Christian literature may be imported into the country only through the Cuban Council of Churches, which, according to CSW, represents a minority of churches. This limitation has led to a severe shortage of religious materials in Cuba. VOM friends help bring Bibles and other materials into the country through other channels and also sponsor a clandestine printing press for Christian literature.

Newslinks 01/09/11

January 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

 

Passion to 22,000 Students: Be Free, Fully Alive in Jesus
People want to be here. That’s the sense you get when you come to the Passion 2011 conference that opened Saturday, New Year’s Day, with 22,000 students.

Beth Moore: Control Your Mind, Focus on ‘One Thing’

 

American Churches Begin 2011 with Prayer, Fasting

 

Atheists Declare Religions as ‘Scams’ in New Ad

 

Global Church Body Condemns ‘Vicious Attack’ in Egypt

 

Islamic Extremists Protest Efforts to Change Blasphemy Laws and Free Christian

Louie Giglio Surprises Passion Crowd with Haitian Family
Attendees of the Passion conference on Sunday heard about a family that survived the Haiti earthquake that destroyed their home and killed two family members. What the crowd did not expect was to see them walk out on stage. Continue Reading Newslinks 01/09/11…

Genesis 3:14-19

November 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Continue Reading Genesis 3:14-19…

A Scout is…

August 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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On February 8th, 1910, William Boyce began an organization that has impacted millions of people over the course of 100 years. Mr. Boyce wanted to instill in young men the values of citizenship and morality, as well as life skills that will help them build solid relationships and families. Mr. Boyce is the founder of the Boy Scouts of America. This past week, thousands of scouts from all over the world converged on Ft. A.P. Hill in Virginia for the Jamboree celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts. The news focused on the fact that the President decided to go tape a session of “The View” rather than preside over the Jamboree as the honorary leader of the scouts. The news of the Jamboree struck a chord though.

I went through the scouting organization from Cub Scouts at eight years old to Eagle scout at eighteen and then on to be a leader for 4 years. The time that I spent in scouts allowed me a lot of things. It provided strong friendships that I still have today. It also gave me something consistent and conrete at a time when I moved around a lot and didn’t have a father figure to help me out. The men in my troop taught me the things that I would need to know as a man. One of these men eventually became my stepdad.

As I continued to think about the scouts, my mind drifted to the different things that we had to memorize. Things like the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout Motto, and Scout Slogan were things that we said at every meeting. These things were the foundation of why we were scouts and they gave us guidelines for our troop as well as our individual lives. I can still recite all of these things after years of not being affiliated with the scouting organization. In honor of my time in the scouts and the 100th anniversary of the organization that gave me so much, I just wanted to offer up some food for thought. Going over the Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan; I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if more people adopted these things in their lives. These different ideals are completely based in Christianity. They shouldn’t be used in place of Christ, but they could definitely be used as a pointer and guide to Christianity. Continue Reading A Scout is……

How did we get here?

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a moment to stop and look at your life? Have you ever stopped, examined your life and where you are, and wondered: How did I get here? I’ve done that a few times and it’s always been eye-opening. I never seem to have been where I thought I was. Sometimes I was further along than I thought and other times I wasn’t as far along as I expected. As I looked back on the path that I trod to get where I was, when I began studying where I walked, I could easily see the things that had gotten me off track. Things like disobedience, willful blindness, and sin led me off of the narrow path and out into the weeds. Because of my lack of diligence or awareness I had to work harder to get back on the path. I had to push through painful thorns and cut through the vines of worldliness that were trying to hold me down and choke me out. Through God’s grace alone, I am here. I’m cut up, bruised, and worn out, but I’m here. As I was pondering these things, I couldn’t help but wonder if the body of Christ has ever done this. I can think of one time when I would say this happened, but other than that, I don’t think that something like this has ever taken place. I wonder why? Does the church not see where it is? Do they not care where they are going? Or are they afraid of what they’ll find? Regardless of the reason, I think that the church would benefit from taking a little time to look at where it is in the face of the state of the world. Continue Reading How did we get here?…

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

Our Heritage

September 22, 2007 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Not long ago, there was a meeting of over 2,000 spiritual leaders in Europe to discuss the effect of Christianity on Europe and to remind the European nations of the impact that Christianity has made on that continent. I knew from the stance of many of the nations of Europe they had a dwindling population of devout Christians, but I never realized just how small they were in some countries. In Great Britain, 33 percent of those polled said religion was “very important” in their lives, compared to 27 percent in Italy, 21 percent in Germany, 11 percent in France, and 11 percent in Czech Republic. This is compared to 60 percent of people in America saying that religion is “very important” to them.
Why the decline of Christianity in Europe? Why are so many turning away from the faith? Let’s get a little closer to home and be a little real. Why are so many in America turning away from Christianity? The numbers say that 60% of people believe that religion is very important to them, but is that accurate? And what about the ones who are leaving? Many of America’s professing atheists grew up in fundamental Christian homes.

What happened? Continue Reading Our Heritage…


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