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VIDEO: Life is a Race

Christian Heather Dorniden races the 600m at the Big 10 Indoor Track Championships in 2008. Watch to find out what she learned not only about racing—but also about life.

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Blast Near Church in Kirkuk, Iraq, Injures 13

The damaged interior of the Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church after an early-morning car bomb attack in Kirkuk on Tuesday. (AP Images/Emad Matti)

A car blast outside a Syrian Catholic church in Kirkuk, Iraq, Tuesday morning left 13 wounded as police located and disarmed two more car bombs targeting churches in the city, according to area sources.

Online video images of the attack against the Holy Family Church showed one of its walls blasted open and all its surfaces covered with broken glass, rubble and dust from the entrance where the explosion took place to the sanctuary on the far end of the building. The explosion occurred on the second day of the month-long Muslim fasting period of Ramadan.

Nearby houses in one of Kirkuk’s oldest quarters, where Muslims and Christians had lived together peacefully, were seriously damaged, and cars on the street were left in twisted piles of metal. Shattered glass wounded 13 residents as they slept, area sources said.


Global Initiative Aims to End Poverty by 2035

An alliance of global Christians, churches and faith-based poverty-fighting organizations are uniting to eradicate global poverty. The Christ-centered global initiative known as 58: was founded on Isaiah 58 where God calls on the church to to end global poverty.

Ten organizations have collectively worked through the 58: initiative to simplify the steps necessary to achieve what some may see as an impossible feat. But for Dr. Scott Todd, senior advisor at Compassion International and one of the architects of 58:, doesn't question the possibility itself. Instead he says, “The question is, 'How fast?'” At 58: partners are convinced it can happen within the next two decades. In fact, they have set 2035 as the end date.

Statistics prove the percentage of people living in extreme poverty continues to decline. In 24 years alone, the percentage of those living in extreme poverty has dropped from 52 percent to 26 percent. Child mortality rates and the rates of disease infection has declined as well. And now those behind 58: ask, “What will it take to finish the job?”


British Doctors Allowed to Pray for Patients

New guidance for GPs on praying for patients has been released by the Medical Defence Union (MDU) – with backing from the General Medical Council (GMC) and one of the country’s leading doctors.

The guidance quotes an official from the GMC suggesting that a ‘tactful’ offer to pray for patients could be appropriate:

“Nothing in the GMC’s guidance Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice precludes doctors from praying with their patients. … It must be tactful, so that the patient can decline without embarrassment—because while some may welcome the suggestion, others may regard it as inappropriate,” says Jane O’Brien, assistant director for standards and fitness to practice.


Moviemakers Discuss Spritually Inspiring Films

Making spiritually uplifting, religious, faith-based movies and television programs with inspiring content and messages can be a professionally and personally rewarding job.

That's the conclusion of a panel discussion, "Making, Distributing and Promoting Spiritually Uplifting Family Movies and Television Programs," held Friday at the InkTip Pitch & Networking Summit in Burbank, Calif.

Moderated by Radio and Website Manager Jeff Holder of Movieguide, which sponsored the event, the panelists gave a standing room only group of aspiring scriptwriters and producers a unique opportunity to hear from a panel of accomplished screenwriters and producers about what it takes to make spiritually uplifting, redemptive, faith-based movies and TV programs.

ACLU Continues to Target Ten Commandments Display

Photo courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) says the ACLU has no legal standing to challenge an Ohio courtroom display containing the Ten Commandments. In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the ACLJ contends that an appeals court erred in its decision declaring unconstitutional a judge’s poster on legal philosophy that included the Ten Commandments.

"The Supreme Court has a perfect opportunity to make it clear that a governmental affirmation of moral absolutes, symbolized here by the Ten Commandments, does not violate the Constitution," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ, which is representing Judge James DeWeese in DeWeese v. ACLU. "It's time for the high court to set the record straight: the display by Judge DeWeese is a constitutionally-permissible method of explaining his legal and moral philosophy - the same philosophy embraced by our founders."


British Film Warns of Sex Trafficking for London Olympics

With one year remaining before the London Olympics opening ceremony, a new movie warns about the possibility of girls being trafficked into the city to meet the increased demand for sex.

DemandSupply2012 is a new short narrative film about the possible increase in sex-trafficking for and during the London 2012 Olympics. It was recently screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival as part of the shortfilmcorner and is currently being submitted to U.K. film festivals.

"Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of slavery and sexual exploitation," says J. John from Philo Trust. "Jodi De Souza creatively communicates the horror of this injustice in her compelling short film DemandSupply2012. My prayer is that this shocking film will compel us to prayer and action."

VIDEO: Medical Mix-up Miracle

After enduring the process of infertility treatments, Sean and Carolyn Savage learned there had been a medical mix-up. Carolyn was carrying another couple's embryo. Watch this video and learn how the couple decides what to do and how God is blessing them. 

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James Pendergraft

Abortionist James Pendergraft Sued for $36.7 Million

Dr. James Pendergraft (center), his bodyguard and
attorney enter the Golden-Collum Memorial Federal
Building and U.S. Courthouse in 2001, in Ocala, Fla.
(AP Images/ Ocala Star-Banner, Bruce Ackerman)

Flip Benham of Operation Save America describes the civil lawsuit verdict against James Pendergraft.

A Florida abortionist who frequently has run afoul of the law, James Scott Pendergraft, was in court last month facing damaging testimony in the case of a baby born alive after a botched abortion.

A few years ago, I began to chronicle the numerous criminal activities and botched abortions that surround James Pendergraft's chain of Florida abortion centers. Pendergraft is featured in the new DVD, The Abortion Matrix, and more prominently in abortion clinic 911 Calls.


Charismatic Chaplain Helps Troops Keep the Faith in Afghanistan

It’s another hot and dusty Sunday morning, and service is about to begin at the Camp Kunduz Chapel.

No, this place of worship isn’t nestled in a small town in the heart of the Bible belt. It’s about as far away from there as one can get. Furthermore, the small plywood structure is nothing reminiscent of a massive cathedral capable of housing a huge congregation of worshipers.

Still, for soldiers of faith stationed in the heart of northern Afghanistan, the place serves its purpose quite well.


Terrorist Groups Block Africa Famine Relief

While almost 13 million people are on the brink of starvation in the Horn of Africa, relief agencies are frustrated that they may be unable to help those most desperate. It's not because they don't have the food. It's because terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda are preventing the aid from getting there.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says Somalia is the biggest challenge. "The al-Shabaab militant terrorist group has made it a stated goal to completely rid the country of Christians. They literally are hunting down Christians, and anyone who is thought to be Christian or rumored to be a Christian is a potential target."

Well-known Christian aid groups have been forced out of the country in areas where al-Shabaab cell groups are in power. Nettleton says: "There's so much lawlessness. And in the midst of that, you have so many people who are starving to death. But the reality for someone who identifies themselves as a Christian to go in: they really paint a target on their back just to go into the country."

fetus in sac

Florida Gov Signs Historic Pro-Life Bills

Over the weekend on Saturday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott held a ceremonial bill signing for a package of four pro-life bills in the library of the Governor's Mansion, marking the culmination of one of the most successful legislative sessions the pro-life movement in Florida's history.

Scott was joined at the ceremony by the legislative bill sponsors and representatives from the Florida Family Policy Council, the Florida Baptist Convention and the Florida Catholic Conference. Legislators present included State Representatives Dennis Baxley, Rachel Burgin, Larry Ahern, Keith Perry, Mat Gaetz, Kelli Stargel and Elizabeth Porter.

Rasul Gupta

Indian Believer Escapes After Family Threatens Death

His heart pounding, Rasul Gupta hurried into hiding to escape from angry family members who wanted to beat him. What did they have against him? He chose to follow Christ.

A few months ago, Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Pallab Singh met Rasul, a member of the Brahmin caste, and the two struck up a conversation. As they talked, Pallab had the opportunity to share about how Jesus had touched his life. He also explained the gospel to his new friend. After thinking about Pallab's words, Rasul ended up deciding to surrender his life to the Lord. At the church where Pallab serves as pastor, Rasul testified that he wanted to follow Jesus, and he joined the congregation.

But his new faith sparked frustration from his family members. Staunchly devoted to their traditional religion, his parents, in-laws and even his wife chastised Rasul for his decision to serve Christ. Like many other Brahmins, they believe any connection with Christianity, which is often considered a low-caste religion, would make them impure.

Mackenzie Turner

Church Van Crashes, Leaving One Girl Dead, Others Injured

Mackenzie Turner, 14, lost her life when a church
van flipped.

A church van carrying 12 people from Destiny Church (Assemblies of God) in Columbia, Tenn., crashed off Interstate 40 Thursday morning around 9 a.m.

Investigators say the driver, 24-year-old youth pastor Bobby Sasser, apparently lost control of the vehicle near exit ramp 143 to Highway 13 when the van ran off the road, struck a pole, flipped over and landed on its roof.

A 14-year-old girl, Mackenzie Turner, was killed in the crash. She was an only child.

Operation Christmas Child

Back-to-School Drives Collect Supplies for Needy

Photo Courtesy Operation Christmas Child

As schools nationwide prepare to open their doors for another year of learning, most parents are shopping for back-to-school bargains using a school-issued supply list as their guide. But this year, U.S. kids are thinking beyond their own backpacks and buying supplies for kids they have never met.

Americans are stocking up on items for Operation Christmas Child—a massive year-round project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse—where participants fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items and letters of encouragement for kids overseas.


Two Bible Organizations Merge to Deepen Impact

After a year of discussion and surrendering their ideas to the Lord, Bible League International (BLI) and World Bible Translation Center (WBTC) announced on Friday their plans to merge in an effort to deepen their impact and ministry around the world.

“We began to understand that if any of us in the Christian ministry world are going to be successful it will not be on our own. It has to be through partnership,” President and CEO of Bible League International Robert Frank told Charisma News.

The decision to merge came as a result of a unanimous vote by both organizations' boards.

Historically BLI has provided training materials and has worked through networks of churches and other community organizations around the world in 63 countries to get the Word of God in the hands of people in order to bring them into fellowship with Christ and His church. For more than 30 years, WBTC has provided accurate translations of God's Word into various languages of the world.


OpEd: Campus Crusade Defends Name Change

On Monday, posted an op-ed from Michael Youssef questioning the timing of Campus Crusade for Christ’s pending name change. Mike Adamson, director of communications for the organization, believes the article contained significant error. Here he offers a deeper explanation of the name change.

I understand that magazines and websites are not able to fact-check everything that gets reprinted. But unfortunately, today that resulted in the repetition of statements that are simply not true. Thanks for the opportunity to correct and clarify those.

First, Michael Youssef indirectly quoted Campus Crusade for Christ Vice President Steve Sellers as saying the name of Christ was hampering our effectiveness. That was never said. It is not remotely true. It does not reflect, in any way, our thinking and motivation. It’s our hope that Youssef was himself repeating an unverified fallacy from another source.

What is true? The words Crusade and Campus were limiting our effectiveness as we take the initiative to approach people with the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Crusade was a flashpoint that carried negative associations that were at odds with the heart and message of Jesus. Campus was confusing to those who were looking for options to live out their faith beyond the university.

Twenty percent of non-Christians willing to talk about the gospel with us were less willing to continue the conversation once they heard our name. Ten percent of believers were less willing to live out their faith in the context of our mission once they heard our name.

The only hurdle to the gospel should be the cross itself. That cross is part of our new logo. As we live out our calling to proclaim the name of Jesus and to share with people the good news of our desperate need and God’s magnificent provision, we changed our name, simply out of love for the people who need Jesus.

We understand not everyone will like the new name. Change is always difficult, especially when it’s something so dear to our hearts. It’s vital to know that we are not running away from Jesus, but moving intentionally toward lost people in Jesus name. Our new tagline prominently describes us as “a caring community passionate about connecting people to Jesus Christ.”

Second, Youssef also wondered if Campus Crusade for Christ’s leaders may “feel so secure with their sizable endowment that they no longer feel wholly dependent on Christ.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Campus Crusade for Christ is a faith-based missions agency. Each of the missionaries who carry the gospel to the world raises their support from like-minded individuals and churches. This includes the president, Steve Douglass. Most often these missionaries have little margin in their accounts and they trust God to provide for them on an ongoing basis. In addition, some followers of Jesus will directly fund specific evangelism and discipleship efforts. There simply is no sizable endowment. Youssef made an inaccurate assumption, which led to false conclusions.

On a more personal note, to hint that our “allegiance and affections” have shifted from dependence on Christ to something else is simply unkind and unsubstantiated. To “wonder” in print as if it were true, in order to make a teaching point to the audience feels inappropriate. It was not speech seasoned with grace.

As followers of Jesus we welcome the privilege of “walking in the light” and of taking our thoughts (and actions) captive to Christ. We also believe that “it is to a man’s glory to overlook an offense” and we hold no ill will toward Michael. We simply ask that a leader of his influence think carefully before he leads readers down paths that are unjustifiably hurtful to others in the body of Christ.

Today, as much as any point in our history, we in Campus Crusade for Christ approach the world on our knees and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We stand arm-in-arm with the body of Christ, including Michael Youssef, to proclaim the gospel with the knowledge that only God can open eyes that are blind and turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. This will only happen as God chooses to draw men and women to Himself in response to our obedient faith. It’s always a miracle.

In light of the billions of people who currently have not experienced the saving grace of Jesus, it’s our prayer that we as believers trust God for whatever it takes to reach them. May God give us all the grace to represent Him in ways that extend far beyond the name on the door. May we all trust Him as we take the initiative daily to connect people with Jesus through our words and actions. May God honor our obedient faith and draw men to Himself.

Youssef quoted Vice President, Steve Sellers as saying “the name of Christ was hampering their effectiveness.” That was never said. It is not remotely true. It does not reflect, in any way, our thinking and motivation. It’s our hope that Mr. Youssef was himself repeating an unverified fallacy from anotherYoussef quoted Vice President, Steve Sellers as saying "the name of Christ was hampering their effectiveness." That was never said. It is not remotely true. It does not reflect, in any way, our thinking and motivation. It's our hope that Mr. Youssef was himself repeating an unverified fallacy from another source  source.
GFA widows

South Asian Widows Find Healing Hope in Christ

Widows like Swati Baidya and Mridula Das don't often hear that someone loves them. Swati and Mridula live in South Asia, where being a widow is something like being a pariah: Widows are kicked out of their homes, rejected by society and often find themselves begging for even a little something to eat. In spite of their lot in life, Swati and Mridula have found real hope in their lives.

Mridula's Story
Mridula is only 33, but she felt as though her life was over. This young widow was left alone with three children to feed when her husband died. And her society did not do anything to help. Rather, it blamed her for causing her husband's death.

As if Mridula's status in society wasn't bad enough, her life got worse when she started having serious health problems. She had to spend more and more of her meager earnings on medicine, but she kept working. She tried to work, but after several years of fighting her weakness left her unable to work.

When GFA-supported missionary Kerketta Rai started a prayer fellowship in her village, Mridula started going. She heard the gospel and began to understand the power of prayer. So she asked everyone who attended the prayer meetings to pray for her. As a result, she was completely healed. Slowly, she began to understand the truth about Jesus and she chose to give her life to Him.

prayer meeting

Public Meeting Prayer Ban Upheld by North Carolina Court

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Friday upheld a district court’s ban on prayers by clergy that may mention a particular deity prior to public meetings in Forsyth County, N.C.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith, is representing the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners. ADF attorneys point out that the decision of the lawsuit Joyner v. Forsyth County is in conflict with other federal court decisions and out of step with the history of invocations in America.

“America’s founders opened public meetings with prayer. There’s no reason that today’s public officials should be forced to censor the prayers of those invited to offer them simply because secularist groups don’t like people praying according to their own conscience,” said Mike Johnson, an ADF-allied attorney and founding dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law, who argued before the 4th Circuit in May. “The legal team will confer with the county about the process of appealing [Friday's] decision.”

ReachGlobal Justice

ReachGlobal Justice Initiative Tackles Sex Trafficking

A half a million minor girls are working as prostitutes across India.

The problem is especially significant in West Bengal. In just one year, 2,500 teenage girls were trafficked from the region. Some girls were kidnapped, others coerced into a life of sexual slavery.

Women with children sometimes choose to enter the realm of brothels and slavery as a means of survival. According to the EFCA ReachGlobal website, the average daily wages for rural women laborers in India is 34 to 43 upees (76 to 96 cents) a day, but prostitutes routinely make 100 to 300 rupees ($2.25 to $7.75) per customer and average three or four customers per day.

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