Prayer News | Where Christians Pray Through the News

Prayer List: 17 Killed in School Massacre

Sheriff Scott Israel announced Wednesday, “I’m saddened to say that 17 people lost their lives.” The Orlando Sentinel reported, “Fifteen victims died at the school. Seventeen victims were taken to four area hospitals, and two of those victims died at the hospital.” Police are holding former student Nikolas Cruz as the sole suspect for the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

According to Time Magazine, “It also marked the 18th school shooting of 2018 for the United States.”

Prayer List

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the families, friends and acquaintances of the deceased. Pray for their emotional and spiritual health as they deal with grief and loss.
* Pray for speedy healing for the fifteen injured.
* Pray for people to compassionately reach out to mentally ill, depressed and angry students that are considering violent attacks on their classmates.

Unreached People of the Day

Saturday: Bania in India
Sunday: Hausa, North in Nigeria

Operation World Prayer Focus

Saturday: Brazil
Sunday: Brazil

Birthday Prayer Lists

Have you prayed for the salvation of all your friends? Why not turn your Facebook friend list into a prayer list? It shouldn't take long to pray for each friend on their birthday.

Some Christians also pray for entertainers, politicians and media personalities on their birthday.

Religious News Websites

Baptist Press

  • EDITORIAL: Cuando un Cristiano muere físicamente
    Recientemente, mientras presidía el funeral de uno de los diáconos de nuestra Iglesia, varios no creyentes en el servicio de memorial estaban admirados porque cantábamos con gran entusiasmo, himnos llenos de fe y de esperanza. ...
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 6:56pm -
  • Cavaliers coach leans on biblical principles
    The Virginia Cavaliers began the regular season unheralded and unranked. They ended it as the No. 1 team in the country and a favorite going into this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament -- with many giving credit to their faith-fueled coach.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 6:44pm -
  • Embezzlement ordeal leaves church 'anxious to move on'
    Days before its former treasurer faces arraignment in the alleged embezzlement of more than $300,000 from the congregation, Antioch Baptist Church remains focused on ministry, pastor Jack Emmite told Baptist Press today (March 16).
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 6:41pm -
  • Collegians in NYC witness 'the sadness, the lostness'
    In New York City, 223 Baptist collegians from across the U.S. engage in more than "just another short-term trip."
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 5:28pm -
  • At wedding, missions inspires creative gift
    At couple's wedding, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering inspired a creative fundraising effort for North American missions. Learn how the missions offering inspired other Southern Baptists to show support.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 4:09pm -

Berean Research

  • newThe Basic Spirituality of Yoga
    In an article I penned in 2010 titled A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity I expressed my concerns over churches that were offering “Christian yoga”: It seems everyone’s practicing yoga meditation these days. Physicians recommend it to their patients which means it’s beneficial…right? Meditation is said to relieve stress, anxiety, hypertension, acne and post-nasal […]The post The Basic Spirituality of Yoga appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 1 hour ago 19 Mar 18, 2:59pm -
  • 10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers
    Rick Becker begins his piece with, Scripture warns us that in the last days some will depart from the faith, and be deceived by evil spirits and teachings of demons. Those who teach false doctrines are not on the fringes of Christianity, they are in the center in the form of the Evangelical Industrial Complex.  Bethel, […]The post 10 invalid arguments in defense of false teachers appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 2 days ago 17 Mar 18, 3:02pm -
  • The entertainment-driven church
    Charles Spurgeon once said of church: If you have to give a carnival to get people to come to church, then you will have to keep giving carnivals to keep them coming back. So, why would church leaders want people to come to a Sunday worship service to be entertained? In the 1800’s, Spurgeon saw […]The post The entertainment-driven church appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 5:56pm -
  • Can You Change Yourself?
    Cameron Buettel urges Christian leaders to repudiate the philosophy that says you can change yourself that’s promoted by self-help gurus Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey and their ilk and replace that worldly philosophy with “the truth of biblical anthropology—that all men are, by nature, totally depraved sinners.” But instead, pastors with rock star status like Joel […]The post Can You Change Yourself? appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 7 days ago 12 Mar 18, 4:26pm -
  • The Apostle Mary Magdalene — More Christo-Feminist Madness
    Did Jesus give Mary Magdalene an apostolic commissioning?  According to Dr. Eddie Hyatt of Hyatt International Ministries, Jesus did just that. In 1991 Hyatt claims to have had a life altering experience where he saw Mary Magdalene receive the first apostolic commission from the risen Lord (here).  In the following piece, Anthony Wade raises a […]The post The Apostle Mary Magdalene — More Christo-Feminist Madness appeared first on Berean Research.
    - 12 days ago 7 Mar 18, 6:19pm -

Christian Headlines

Christian Post

Christianity Today

  • How a Humble Evangelist Changed Christianity As We Know It
    Churches were divided. Believers eschewed cultural influence. Liberal modernism was on the move. Then God made Billy Graham.The first time Ruth Bell saw her future husband, he was dashing down the dormitory steps two at a time. Now there's a young man who knows where he's going! she thought. But in fact Billy Graham had no idea where he was going; no idea that he would travel the planet preaching the gospel to more people than anyone in history. Ruth's second impression, however, was spot on target: “He wanted to please God more than any man I'd ever met.” This desire, more than anything, set him apart. In an era when evangelicals lived expectantly in the shadow of the Second Coming, Billy Graham was odd in hoping the Lord would tarry: “I sure would like to do something great for him before he comes.”The Lord did tarry, and Graham made the most of it. If there were a Mount Rushmore for English-speaking evangelists, Graham would be the fifth in granite, alongside Whitefield, Finney, Moody, and Sunday. For the most part, it's easy to imagine why huge crowds pushed and shoved to hear them preach. George Whitefield—short and cross-eyed, with the voice of a tornado—cavorted, posed, and wept on outdoor platforms as he brought Bible dramas to life. Charles Finney had terrifying eyes that drilled out soft spots in the soul, his fiery preaching about the wrath of God going straight to the exposed nerves. Billy Sunday was charming, with jazzy suits, movie-star looks, and a smile that lit up auditoriums. But up on stage, after joking and mugging and flattering the VIPs, he would throw down his hat, rip off his tie, and jump onto the pulpit—sometimes waving a large American flag—attacking sin and beseeching sinners to come to Jesus.Dwight Moody's appeal is harder to figure. Of grandfatherly ...Continue reading...
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  • Faith in Russia: What Does It Mean?
    Many Russians, be they Orthodox or Evangelical, will understandably view their homeland with affection, loyalty, and patriotism. After brief instructions from the Lutheran Archbishop Dietrich Brauer, we processed up the center aisle of the St. Peter-and-St. Paul Lutheran Cathedral in Moscow, launching the 500th Anniversary observance of the Protestant Reformation.Robed in gowns and hats of all colors and shapes, leaders of various Christian groups gathered in this important Moscow celebration: Lutherans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, but there were no Russian Orthodox representative in the procession. As we passed the front row moving toward the raised platform, I saw an Orthodox priest standing.Even as we gathered around the altar for prayer, he remained apart. Later, I learned that while he would attend the service, he would not join in procession or prayer: according to the ancient Orthodox rule, a priest who prayed with heretics would lose his priesthood.This is Russia. A country in curious shifts and alterations more mysterious than the Trump/Putin insults and bravados. I live with memory of a state, the Soviet Union, ruled by atheists insisting that the Communist and Marxist dictum of “no God” be their country’s mantra.But it is wrong to assume that atheism rules, indeed, if it ever did. Make no mistake, this is a religious and, in fact, a Christian country, if one were to define a country by what its people believe. The Pew Foundation noted that 74 percent of Russians identify as Christian. However, even with this remarkable percentage of self-confessed Christians, Russia is dynamically secular, with a definite separation of Christian witness from its civil life, apart from official Orthodox ceremonies.Its Varied HistoryTo catch up on recent moves by Putin, a quick review of the role of faith in this grand country ...Continue reading...
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  • Changing Direction – Reflections on the Chicago River at St. Patrick’s Day
    When we follow Jesus, we do what the Chicago River did in 1900: we change direction. My husband and I live in downtown Chicago. Since I work at Wheaton College, people often ask, “Why don’t you live in the suburbs? Isn’t it a hassle to commute every day?” And from those who live in another state and only know the city fromknow the city the news, we often hear, “Is it safe to live in Chicago?”Living in the city was an intentional choice for us. We wanted to rub shoulders with men and women from all different backgrounds who might be open to hearing about God’s love and his invitation into a relationship. Plus it’s fun! We love the hustle and bustle of the city, the cultural variety of people who live here, and the great activities that happen throughout the year.As just one example, every year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the local Plumbers’ Union dyes the Chicago River green. This tradition is more than 50 years old and draws over 400,000 spectators to the banks of our river. Some years are a little more interesting than others. In 2013, we stood by the Wrigley Building and saw a flying leprechaun! Admittedly, most of the people who gather are just there to party, but it’s a tradition that we love to attend.What makes the whole process most amazing to me is where the plumbers put the vegetable-based dye: at the mouth of the river by Lake Michigan. Then the dye flows back through the city, slowly turning the river green. Your see, the Chicago River flows backwards, away from the lake. Until the dye starts to mingle with the water, you don’t really see the direction the water is moving. Once that emerald color starts to mix in, you can begin to trace the currents moving west.This reversed flow is because in the 1800s as the city boomed, ...Continue reading...
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  • Five Things that Keep Churches from Change
    Being a representative of Christ in a lost world requires change.Leading a church into revitalization is a daunting task. It takes much prayer, grace, and strength. Churches that need revitalization have often drifted into a place of complacency. The change they need often comes about because of a cathartic moment.Desperation is quite the motivator. The pastor who leads a church into renewal is doing a great service for the kingdom of God. But it is helpful to understand why churches resist change. I want to look at some of the things that lead to crisis, understanding that if the signs are recognized early enough, it may not come to drastic measures.First, self-focus.I’ve said many times that the church is God’s mission to the world. So a lot of time is spent making sure the church is what it should be. A large portion of the New Testament is Paul focusing on how churches and leaders should operate internally and outwardly. There is nothing wrong with self-awareness and examination. We need to take care of family, right?But because we are human, we have a tendency to create environments to fit our comforts. This happens to individuals, to leaders, and to churches. We do things the way we like them. Eventually, when we do this long enough, we conflate what we like with what God demands.Ultimately, as we find in the Old and New Testaments, this edges God out of the process. Ironically, we may not even recognize it until one day we are about to close the doors. Churches that turn their eyes from Christ and their hearts from the lost will end up with neither.Certainly the church is a place of sanctuary, worship, and healing. But Christ didn’t establish the church for its own benefit. So when we live to benefit ourselves, we end up losing our purpose and naturally our place. ...Continue reading...
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  • Ministries Can Do Better Than Inclusion-Rider Diversity
    Rather than wait for outside demands, faith-based organizations should proactively pursue representation as part of their mission. Once Oscar winner Frances McDormand ended her acceptance speech with the two words “inclusion rider,” so many people Googled the phrase that inclusion became the most-searched word of the night on Merriam-Webster’s site.In the entertainment industry, a rider refers to special provisions of a contract; in this case, the agreement would require producers to involve a certain level of underrepresented groups in the cast and crew in order for a prominent performer to take part.The concept was proposed by Stacy L. Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, in the Hollywood Reporter in 2014, as a way to have “women, people of color, people with disabilities, and members of LGBT and marginalized communities who are traditionally underrepresented be depicted on screen in proportion to their representation in the population.” Earlier this month, actor Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther became the first A-list actor to promise he would adopt the inclusion rider in contracts through his company, Outlier Society Productions.The aims of the inclusion rider, in the context of the film industry, seem straightforward: to incorporate more diversity on screen and behind the scenes, thus promoting employment and capturing more accurately the diversity of human experience.However, the concept of the inclusion rider has also raised questions of legality, particularly if possible quotas would actually violate certain nondiscrimination laws, like the federal Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination in classes such as race, national origin, and sex.An article in the American Bar Association Journal reports that Kalpana Kotagal, a partner with Cohen Milstein’s civil rights and employment ...Continue reading...
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Forum 18 News Service

  • Kazakhstan: One church, two prosecutions
    Shymkent's New Life Protestant Church was fined for having three not five fire detectors in a storage building and banned for one month. The ban will go into force if the church's appeal fails. The same court acquitted a church member of helping an attendee download a Bible onto her phone.
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  • Kazakhstan: 24 criminal convictions in 2017, more imminent?
    Zholbarys Zhumanazarov - jailed for one year in Almaty Region for alleged membership of the Tabligh Jamaat Muslim missionary movement - became the 24th known individual given a criminal conviction in 2017 for exercising freedom of religion and belief. The criminal trial of three more begins in Karaganda on 12 March.
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  • Russia: Ten years' jail for religious study meetings?
    Ilgar Aliyev - a Muslim studied Islam with others using books by theologian Said Nursi - faces up to 10 years' imprisonment if convicted at his Dagestan trial. Imam Komil Odilov faces up to eight years on similar charges. The criminal trials of two others have lasted nearly a year.
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  • Tajikistan: Conscientious objection appeal to UN Human Rights Committee?
    Prisoner of conscience Daniil Islamov is preparing to appeal for the last time to Tajikistan's Supreme Court against a six-month jail term for refusing compulsory military service. If this appeal is rejected, he is likely to appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee.
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  • Tajikistan: Almost 2,000 mosques closed in 2017
    Tajikistan has claimed to have closed almost 2,000 mosques in 2017. Officials claimed they were closed at the request of local residents, but have not been able to explain why they only allow mosques with a capacity far below the possible numbers of worshippers.
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Get Religion

  • newSeattle Weekly looks at Namasgay: An attempt to corral some form of LGBTQ spirituality
    In a blog devoted to religion news coverage, every so often I like to delve into reporting about what is happening among people who are at the edges of faith. This is the spiritual-but-not-religious crowd that longs for some transcendence in life.I found such a story in the Seattle Weekly, an alternative publication that has a fair amount of coverage of the local gay community.In its March 14 issue, we hear about an unsuspecting gay newcomer to the Queen City (Seattle’s nickname from 1869-1982) who goes to what he thinks is a Saturday-morning brunch, only to find only alcohol being served as a precursor to an orgy.The newcomer, business coach Frank Macri (who is the guy dressed in pink in the front of the above photo), realizes that his companions were searching for something, albeit not in the wisest fashion. He declined (the invite to the orgy) and returned home to ponder the opportunities for people like him in the LGBTQ community to connect. “I noticed that a lot of people feel like they need to have drugs in order to open up to someone and be vulnerable, or they need to have sex in order to feel connected to someone,” Macri said. “And I thought, what if there is a community out there of others who are mindful, compassionate, and wanting to have deeper connections with themselves and other people.” So shortly thereafter, Macri founded Namasgay, a group for spiritually-minded LGBTQ people who are tired of only connecting with others in clubs or on dating apps. Since its creation last October, the Seattle-based group has expanded to include thousands of members in Oakland, New York, and Chicago. Members meet through a couple of events each month, including meditations, dinners, single mixers, hikes, and yoga sessions.
    - 3 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 1:00pm -
  • newAbout that Michael Gerson think piece: Why (many) evangelicals got hooked by Donald Trump
    Here is a really obscure fact about American politics that you may not have heard about: Did you know that lots of white evangelical Protestants voted for Donald Trump in 2016?I know. It's really strange, but it must be true -- because it's in all the newspapers, week after week after week after week.As I have noted before, it's true that there were evangelical "early adopters" who helped Trump get the 30 percent votes that he needed to gain momentum in the early primaries. As his candidacy became inevitable, many other evangelicals bit their lips and signed on -- many keeping their hard choice private. The best story to read remains this feature at Christianity Today: "Pew: Most Evangelicals Will Vote Trump, But Not For Trump."Why has the press been so focused on white evangelicals? Trump isn't president today because lots of evangelicals -- for various reasons -- backed him. He is president because lots of blue-collar and labor Democrats voted for him in crucial states. Many of them were white Catholics. Where is the tsunami of coverage of those crucial niches in American politics?I bring all this up -- again -- because this weekend's think piece is the must-read Michael Gerson cover story at The Atlantic that ran under this double-decker headline: The Last Temptation How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memoryThe key part of that headline is the reference to "seeking political protection." Hold that thought, because we will come back to it. Meanwhile, here is the overture: One of the most extraordinary things about our current politics -- really, one of the most extraordinary developments of recent political history -- is the loyal adherence of religious conservatives to Donald Trump. 
    - 22 hours ago 18 Mar 18, 6:00pm -
  • What's the 'A Wrinkle In Time' news story? Flashback to wisdom from Madeleine L'Engle
    So what is the story with the new Disney version of the classic, Newbery Award winning novel "A Wrinkle In Time" by the late, great Madeleine L'Engle?I'm talking about a news story here.I'm talking about the attempt -- another one -- to make this beloved youth-fiction classic into a blockbuster movie. Why is it is causing discussion, debate and even controversy? Yes, I'm asking this because that's what we talked about this week in the GetReligion "Crossroads" podcast. Click here to tune that in.Is it news because it appears, to one degree or another, to be a box-office flop? Is it news because, at Rotten Tomatoes, only 40 percent of critics like it? That's bad, but the score from ordinary people in theaters was even lower, to the tune of only 34 percent positive reactions.Director Ava DuVernay was not amused and argued that race may have had something to do with it, since she -- as a star African-American director -- changed the racial mix of the cast.It's clear that some of the movie's supporters thought race was a crucial part of the mix, as seen in this NBC commentary: " 'A Wrinkle in Time' isn't a film for critics. It's Ava DuVernay's love letter to black girls." And over at CNN there was this: "Watching 'A Wrinkle in Time' is a political act."So one more question: Why write a religion column about this book and its author?That's what I did this past week, for the Universal syndicate. It did that because, nearly two decades ago, I had a chance to spend two hours talking to L'Engle about the crucial themes woven into her book. In particular, I asked her if there were concepts and even quotations from her novel that needed to be in a film adaption of it. Here is a key piece of that column: It would be hard, explained L'Engle, to grasp this book's cosmic war between life and death, good and evil, darkness and light without two crucial passages.
    - 2 days ago 17 Mar 18, 7:06pm -
  • Moscow speaking: GetReligion reader chimes in on Washington Post, the 'Putin Generation'
    Isn't the Internet an amazing thing?I am old enough that this thought still pops into my mind every now and then, just like in the old days when I would pause in wonder while doing a live chat session online with a friend of mine in New Zealand.Anyway, I would like to flash back to my earlier post that ran with this title: "Dear Washington Post international desk: Does Russia's 'Putin Generation' have a soul?" It focused on an international desk Post feature built on poll data showing that young Russians are among the biggest fans of that Vladimir Putin guy.This alleged "Generation Putin" liked their nation's current stability and its economic prospects. The Post feature, however, noted that they have, in the past, "taken to the streets in protest" of some Putin policies and that there are many who like Putin despite the fact that they "espouse some liberal values."This made me curious what kinds of values we might be talking about -- especially on issues linked to religion, culture and morality.What about faith? What about marriage and family? In other words, I wondered if this interesting piece was haunted by "religion ghosts."At the end of the post I added this note: Read the whole piece and let me know if you sense the same hole in this piece, the gap where the Russian soul is often discussed. I know, in particular, that GetReligion has readers in Russia. Care to drop me a note?Sure enough, I veteran GetReligion reader chimed in with feedback. Thus, I'd like to do something that I wish I could do more often -- which is run a long, news-focused note from a reader. I know who this reader is and confirm that he is a professional in Moscow. So here goes: Moscow speaking. I have only read this post and watched the interview clips on the page of the Washington Post article, but I am already cringing.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 10:00pm -
  • Friday Five: March Madness miracle, faith at the movies, newspaper layoffs and more
    Go ahead and enjoy the video.It's MercyMe's official music video for the "I Can Only Imagine" movie, which opens in theaters nationwide today.Speaking of which, USA Today has an interesting story on how that song became the biggest Christian single ever (selling 2.5 million copies) and inspired the movie.Promoters showed the trailer at the Religion News Association annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., last fall, and it looks interesting. The film stars Dennis Quaid, who talked to Parade about finding inspiration in the real-life story.As we dive into this week's Friday Five, we'll highlight another faith angle on a Hollywood hit.But first, a bit of March Madness:1. Religion story of the week: A divine 3-pointer won the game at the buzzer. That's how the Chicago Tribune characterized 11th-seeded Loyola's 64-62 upset win Thursday over No. 6 seed Miami in the NCAA Tournament.Enter Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, whose fans include former President Barack Obama:
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 5:00pm -

Mission Network News

  • Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history (MNN) -- Over 300 people were killed in Somalia's bloodiest attackThe post Somalia sees bloodiest terror attack in country’s history appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery (MNN/MAF) -- Conjoined twins saved through ministry’s medical flightThe post Emergency medical flight gets conjoined twin infants to life-saving surgery appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • Christmas short-term mission opportunities!'l (MNN) -- Short-term mission trip opportunities this ChristmasThe post Christmas short-term mission opportunities! appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 17 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • The faces and stories behind World Food Day (MNN) -- On World Food Day, ministry spotlighting long-term solutionsThe post The faces and stories behind World Food Day appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -
  • State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment (MNN) -- Christians are being watched closely The post State elections draw near in India, spark anti-Christian sentiment appeared first on Mission Network News.
    - 16 Oct 17, 4:00am -

PE News

  • newPulling the Pin on Unforgiveness
    Evangelist Dave Roever explains why forgiveness is not an option — it's a pleasure.
    - 5 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 11:00am -
  • newRevitalizing the Heart of Sacramento
    A spiritual awakening enlivens the downtown of California’s capital.
    - 10 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 6:00am -
  • PE News to Become AG News
    The official Assemblies of God online news service will change its name to AG News
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 3:00pm -
  • Regional Benefactors
    Small New Mexico church blesses half a dozen school districts in trio of states.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 9:00am -
  • This Week in AG History -- March 15, 1947
    A Methodist orphanage's director's baptism in the Holy Spirit ultimately led to famed missionaries Mark and Huldah Buntain establishing their ministry in Calcutta, India.
    - 4 days ago 15 Mar 18, 11:30am -

Persecution Blog

  • Missionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' Story
    Growing up the home of missionary parents in Ecuador, Gene Jordan has always known the story of five men—Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian—who gave their lives in the jungle to reach an isolated Indian...      Related StoriesNate Saint Memorial School: End of an EraVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 24 Jul 17, 4:06pm -
  • After Arrest, "I Was Terrified"
    “Dr. Andrew” is working to share the gospel in the Middle East, but he hasn’t always had a heart to share Christ’s love with Muslims. Growing up in a nominal Christian family, Andrew was harassed by Muslims his whole life....      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio in Central Asia 
    - 27 Jun 17, 10:07pm -
  • Being a True Vessel for God's Use
    “Brother Matthew” is a pastor and church planter in South Asia, working among Muslims to share the gospel. After threats against his life and an attack on his brother, he was encouraged by family members to leave his country. He...      Related StoriesVOM Radio in Central AsiaAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified"Openness in Pakistan? 
    - 7 Jun 17, 4:56pm -
  • VOM Radio in Central Asia
    "Tanya" is a Christian worker in Central Asia, living and ministering in a country where she must always be cautious about what she says openly and who she says it around. Listen to hear how Christians in the former Soviet...      Related StoriesBeing a True Vessel for God's UseMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryAfter Arrest, "I Was Terrified" 
    - 9 May 17, 7:17pm -
  • Nate Saint Memorial School: End of an Era
    The end of an era comes next month. In August 1985, I clutched my mom’s hand and squeaked my rubber flip-flopped way down the gravel path from the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) “base” to the cinderblock Nate Saint Memorial school....      Related StoriesMissionary Pilot Shares The Rest of the Auca Martyrs' StoryVOM Radio: "When We Say Yes to God"Missions: "Safety Is Not Our Primary Goal" 
    - 27 Apr 17, 8:14pm -

Religion News Service

  • newA new streetwear line for Muslim women takes the frills out of modest fashion
    (RNS) — Seek Refuge, a new crowdfunded streetwear brand for millennial Muslim women, issues a challenge to the traditional modest fashion industry — all while taking up the cause of refugees.
    - 7 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 9:00am -
  • Vatican bows to pressure, releases retired pope’s letter
    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The so-called "Lettergate" scandal has embarrassed the Vatican's communications operations and fueled the growing chasm between supporters of Francis' pastoral-focused papacy and conservatives who long for the doctrine-minded tenure of Benedict.
    - 1 day ago 18 Mar 18, 10:54am -
  • Streets deserted, airport closes for Bali’s Day of Silence
    BALI, Indonesia (AP) — Aside from no Facebook, Instagram or instant messaging apps, television and radio broadcasts cease and Balinese stay indoors, covering the windows and not even turning on a light, for the day of reflection that is the most sacred in Balinese Hinduism.
    - 2 days ago 17 Mar 18, 10:46am -
  • Photos of the Week
    (RNS) — This week's picks for our weekly gallery of religion photos from around the world.
    - 2 days ago 17 Mar 18, 10:00am -
  • I’m a millennial Catholic activist — that shouldn’t sound strange
    (RNS) — At a time when statistically many millennials have left the church behind because they no longer feel welcomed, I reaffirmed my decision ... to stay Catholic and to work for a church that fully promotes justice.
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 8:03pm -

Today's Creation Moment

  • newOl' Blue Eyes
    It was singer Frank Sinatra who was known as Ol' Blue Eyes because of the piercing color of his irises. But now evolutionary scientists are suggesting that those, who, like me, share Sinatra's eye color, might also share a common ancestor. Frank might be my cousin!read more
    - 11 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 5:00am -
  • Hurricanes: Are They Our Fault?
    One leading left-wing UK newspaper headlined a report on Hurricane Harvey with these words:"It's a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly."read more
    - 3 days ago 16 Mar 18, 5:00am -
  • The Most Beautiful Verse in Genesis
    Genesis 1:1 is pretty cool. It tells us that God made the world, the universe, and everything from nothing. It is a verse that gives the lie to all the great philosophies of the modern age. Yet, if I had to choose what I thought was the most beautiful verse in Genesis, that first verse would be close, but not the more
    - 4 days ago 15 Mar 18, 5:00am -
  • The Floodwaters Rise
    Imagine that the tide went out much farther than it had ever done before. Imagine that you lived in a world full of evil, but this day it seemed like something big was about to happen. One man and his family had been building an enormous vessel while warning people of the coming judgment of God. You had joined in the laughter with everyone more
    - 5 days ago 14 Mar 18, 5:00am -
  • The Gods Who Did Not Create
    One of the fundamental lessons we learn from Scripture is that there is only one God. There are, however, a lot of false gods. In biblical times, these would often have been idols of wood, stone, or metal. But there are idols all around us today which demand our worship. These could be anything that people have put in the place of more
    - 6 days ago 13 Mar 18, 5:00am -

United Methodist News Service

World Magazine

  • newSchool officials wanted Cruz committed
    New documents filed in the case against Nikolas Cruz reveal school officials tried to get the teen involuntarily committed to a mental institution for evaluation in 2016. Cruz, now 19, faces a possible death sentence for killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. With a commitment on his record, Cruz likely would have had a hard time purchasing the AR-15 rifle he used in the shooting at his former school. According to the court filings, two school officials and a sheriff’s deputy recommended Cruz get mandatory treatment. Cruz reportedly told classmates he wanted to buy a gun and use it and had cut his arm after breaking up with a girlfriend. His mother, who died in November, requested a psychological assessment after Cruz punched a hole in the wall of their home. The counselor who evaluated him said Cruz claimed he had acted out because he was lonely but subsequently felt better. It’s not clear from the documents why officials did not pursue commitment proceedings. Several people called the FBI to report Cruz’s dangerous behavior. Despite all the scrutiny and warnings, Cruz still managed to buy several guns legally.Image: Category: CrimeArticle Title: School officials wanted Cruz committedKeywords: Parkland ShootingCrimeAuthor: Leigh Jones
    - 54 mins ago 19 Mar 18, 3:18pm -
  • newPutin wins fourth term
    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday won an expected landslide reelection victory in his bid to secure a fourth term. Putin garnered 76 percent of the vote with 80 percent of the Russian precincts reporting early Monday. The victory gives him six more years in power. Putin faced seven other minor candidates after Russia banned his biggest opponent, Alexei Navalny, from running based on fraud charges. Electoral observers and voters noted the election process included ballot stuffing and forced voting. In his victory speech, Putin thanked voters for their support. “Everyone who voted for me today is part of our big national team,” he said. His reelection comes amid accusations that Russia poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent in Britain. Putin called the accusations nonsense but said the country is ready to work with London on the investigation. On Saturday, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats and said it would shut down the British Council’s activities in the country after Britain last week expelled 23 Russian diplomats over the attack.Image: Category: InternationalArticle Title: Putin wins fourth termKeywords: InternationalRussiaElectionsAuthor: Onize Ohikere
    - 58 mins ago 19 Mar 18, 3:14pm -
  • newFirst weekend of March Madness lives up to its name
    A historic first weekend in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament saw unprecedented upsets and comebacks. The field of 64 teams dwindled to 16 during the last four days, breaking many fans’ bracket predictions along the way. Virginia, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, lost to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) by 20 points Friday—the first time a No. 1 seed has lost to a No. 16 seed in tournament history. The madness continued in the South Region with the next three highest seeds following Virginia’s lead and going home early. Since seeding began in 1979, this is the first time a region will not include a top four seeded team in the tournament’s second weekend. In the West Region, No. 9 Florida State knocked off No. 1 Xavier on Sunday during second round. Florida State joins Kansas State in the Sweet 16 after the KSU ended UMBC’s Cinderella run Sunday—the first time two nine seeds have advanced to the second weekend of play. Two 11 seeds also remain alive: Loyola Chicago in the South Region and Syracuse in the Midwest. And two seven seeds—Nevada in the South and Texas A&M in the West—pulled off upsets against No. 2 seeds on Sunday to advance. Nevada was down 22 points to Cincinnati but came back to win 75-73. A&M overwhelmed the tournament’s defending champion, North Carolina, winning by 21 points. The next round of games begins Thursday.Image: Category: SportsArticle Title: First weekend of March Madness lives up to its nameKeywords: SportsHigher EducationBasketballCollege BasketballAuthor: Evan Wilt
    - 1 hour ago 19 Mar 18, 3:06pm -
  • newTrump assails Mueller, Republicans defend investigation
    WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump lashed out against special counsel Robert Mueller on Sunday, drawing rebukes from several Republicans. The president has maintained his innocence since the beginning of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He has called the probe a witch hunt against his administration, but until this weekend, he never attacked Mueller directly. “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Another Dem recently added … does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” Trump’s comments provoked Republicans to rush to Mueller’s defense, fearing the president might try to fire the special counsel. “If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule-of-law nation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN Sunday. “When it comes to Mr. Mueller, he is following the evidence where it takes him, and I think it’s very important he be allowed to do his job without interference, and there are many Republicans who share my view.” Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of Trump’s biggest critics within the GOP, tweeted on Sunday that Republicans need to protect Mueller as investigators finish their review. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who serves on the House Intelligence Committee that concluded last week the Trump campaign never colluded with Russia, told Fox News Sunday if the president is innocent he needs to “act like it.”Image: Category: White HouseArticle Title: Trump assails Mueller, Republicans defend investigationKeywords: RussiaWhite House2016 electionPoliticsFBIAuthor: Evan Wilt
    - 2 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 2:31pm -
  • newTurkish-backed forces take Syrian town
    Turkish-backed Syrian forces on Sunday secured control of the Syrian town of Afrin after a nearly two-month offensive, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed. Turkey on Jan. 20 intensified its operation in Afrin against the Kurdish militia, which Turkey considers a terror group. Erdogan in a statement said the troops seized control of the town Sunday morning and started to clear out landmines. The allied troops raised their flags in Afrin and fired celebratory shots. “In Afrin’s center, it is no longer the rags of the terror organization that are waving, but rather the symbols of peace and unity,” Erdogan said. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Monday said Turkey would hand over the town to “its real owners.” The Kurdish militia vowed to respond to the takeover with guerrilla tactics. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the intensified fighting drove out more than 200,000 civilians in less than three days and killed dozens of others.Image: Category: WarArticle Title: Turkish-backed forces take Syrian townKeywords: InternationalTurkeySyriaWarAuthor: Onize Ohikere
    - 2 hours ago 19 Mar 18, 2:28pm -

World Watch Monitor

  • Sunni Arabs ‘helped drive out’ Mid-East Christians
    Amid the push by Iraqi government forces to retake Mosul from Islamic State (IS), some former inhabitants of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains and northern Syria are refusing to go back because they believe their former Sunni Muslim neighbours were complicit in driving them out, says Middle East analyst and former journalist, Patrick Cockburn, in News Deeply. Christians returning to Nineveh believe Sunni Arab villagers were complicit in “taking their houses, killing and raping people,” he says.Cockburn adds that, in Syrian towns occupied by IS, Christians believe their Sunni Arab neighbours were similarly cooperating with IS and that returning Christians might drive Sunnis out in turn. There’s a “real, very high level of friction and hostility on the ground, which I think is going to be extraordinarily difficult to reverse”, he says.“A longer-term and very dangerous shift in both Iraq and Syria is that communities in general can’t live together any longer.”In November Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana, a priest in the Assyrian Church of the East and head of CAPNI (Christian Aid Program Northern Iraq), said that defeating IS won’t guarantee Christians’ return. “What are the guarantees that it will not happen again?” he asked, noting that Iraqi Christians had been targeted not only since IS’s sudden appearance in 2014 but since the US-led invasion in 2003, after which he said the fabric of Iraq “was broken”.In the decades before IS, more than a million Christians left Iraq, which had turned increasingly hostile towards them, the minority population felt.
    - 13 Mar 17, 1:01pm -
  • ‘Freedom of religion or belief must be protected’
    Countries around the world are urged to act now to promote and protect the right to freedom of religion or belief by a UN expert.The Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, made his appeal at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, as he set out his priorities for the mandate of freedom of religion or belief, which he took up last November.Mr. Shaheed expressed concern about a rise in the number of incidents of violence - for religiousreasons - by extremist groups, vigilante mobs and others.“State and non-State actors, alike, continue to impose restrictions, or limitations, and engage in targeted harassment, intimidation of, or discrimination against religious minorities, unrecognised religious communities and dissidents, who are often confronted with threats to their freedom, safety and security,” he said.“I am particularly alarmed by continuing reports of mass atrocities and violence that threaten the very existence of religious minority communities, including some groups that have existed for over two millennia.”Mr. Shaheed pointed to a number of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief that have already been developed, and for which consensus among states already exists. He said his agenda for the next three years would be focused on the implementation of these state obligations.The Special Rapporteur stressed that policies adopted to enhance the capacity of security forces to combat terrorism by limiting fundamental rights (such as freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly) often have dire consequences for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.He welcomed efforts to promote that right at national and international levels by governments, parliamentarians, national human rights institutions, human rights and faith-based organisations, and educational institutions.
    - 10 Mar 17, 6:39pm -
  • Iraq urged to allow UN investigation into genocide
    International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has called upon the Iraqi government to allow a UN investigation into the treatment of Yazidis by the so-called Islamic State (IS), reports Reuters.A year ago, the UK Parliament joined US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US House of Representatives, the EU Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in describing the actions of IS (or Da’esh) as genocide. In June last year, UN experts reported that IS militants seek to destroy the Yazidi group, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions, through murder, sexual slavery, gang rape, torture and humiliation that amounts to genocide.Some religious leaders and other sources, including Vienna-based legal counsel Ewelina Ochab, believe that the campaign of genocide also extends to Christians. Prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there were 1.4 million Christians in the country. Today there are thought to be fewer than 200,000. World Watch Monitor reported in May last year that Christianity “could disappear” from Iraq and Syria withinfive years, according to Catholic sources. Britain is drafting a UN Security Council resolution to establish an investigation, but Clooney said the Iraqi government needs to send a letter formally requesting the inquiry before the council can vote.Clooney, who represents Yazidi victims of IS, told reporters, “We do want to see an investigation take place with the cooperation of the Iraqi authorities, but ultimately if that support is not forthcoming in terms of real action, then the UN has to think of other ways in which to achieve accountability.”Since 2014, when IS took control of parts of Iraq, Yazidis and Christians have been under severe, and often violent, pressure with many Christians being given four options: to leave, convert to Islam, pay the jiyza (tax), or be killed. A report last October highlighted this accelerated targeting of “disproportionately suffering” Middle East Christians.
    - 10 Mar 17, 1:08pm -
  • Iranian mother and son Christian converts arrested
    An Iranian mother and son who converted to Christianity have been arrested in the north-western province of West Azerbaijan. Anousheh Reza-Bakhsh (known as Veronika) and her son Soheil (known as Augustine) were arrested on 20 February at their home in Urmia, the provincial capital. Mohabat News reports that it is the first known arrest of Christians in the city since 2008. Urmia, with nearly 700,000 inhabitants, is famous for housing the Cathedral of St. Mary the Mother of God, whose origin dates back to the 16th Century. Middle East Concern (MEC) reports that the mother and son, who had become Catholics, were baptised in Istanbul in August last year, after which they returned home and “continued to read and learn about the Christian faith”. Christian material was reportedly found at their home, as Augustine, reported to be a psychology student, had been “a keen follower of online Christian theological training programmes and Christian satellite TV channels”, according to MEC. There has been no further update on their whereabouts or safety, though they are believed to have been taken to an intelligence office of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. They are both reported to have health issues. Iran, which is no. 8 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, continues to monitor and persecute Christians across the country. Often, detainees are subject to psychological and physical harm by the authorities. Iranian and European human rights and religious rights organisations have urged the international community to use new opportunities for trade with Iran since the nuclear agreement to hold the government there to account over its treatment of Christian converts.
    - 9 Mar 17, 3:23pm -
  • Pope: ‘Persecutors don’t care about denominations’
    Pope Francis has urged all Christians to pray for fellow believers who are persecuted for their faith, saying that “those who persecute them make no distinction between the religious communities to which they belong”.“How many people are being persecuted because of their faith, forced to abandon their homes, their places of worship, their lands, their loved ones!” Francis says in the video that shows three representatives of different denominations: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox – standing as if in a police line-up accused of a crime. “They are persecuted and killed because they are Christians,” the Pope continues, adding, “I ask you, how many of you pray for persecuted Christians?”The one-minute video, which also includes images of broken religious statues and a burnt-out church, is the latest to be produced by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network and contains his prayer intention for March: the support of persecuted Christians through prayers and material aid from all the Churches.Francis has spoken frequently about an “ecumenism of the blood” to emphasise that persecution is affecting many parts of the Church and should be met with ecumenical solidarity.
    - 8 Mar 17, 2:31pm -