Prayer and conviction are inseparable, as seen in the life of Christ. Theologians have rightly identified Christ's role as prophet, priest, and king, but prophet is often the most controversial. A prophet would encourage and build, but they would also warn, compel, challenge, and convict — they were not necessarily popular; they were often controversial. Pastors and preachers must balance the prophetic (convicting) with the pastoral (shepherding).
I recently spent a few days alone in a cabin to slow down, reflect, and pray — to renew my mind. The importance of time alone with God is invaluable. Renewal begins and ends with prayer.
"When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live" (E.M. Bounds). more >>
A group of at least eight Christian converts were beaten and arrested by Iranian authorities while they were gathered for worship inside a house church in the city of Karaj, an Iranian resistance group has reported.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, plainclothes officers raided the church earlier this month as part of a wide crackdown on house churches.
After raiding the house, the officers beat up the congregants and then confiscated their Bibles, other Christian literature and satellite dishes located on the premises. more >>
Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and son of the Rev. Bill Graham, will be speaking at the "Good News Festival," a multi-day revival, held in Oklahoma City this weekend.
Danny Little, festival director for the BGEA, told The Christian Post that the evangelical organization has held similar events in Oklahoma City in 1956, 1983, and 2003.
"These were crusades held by Franklin's father, Billy Graham. Franklin has held festivals in Enid, Shawnee and Bartlesville. This is his first invitation to Oklahoma City," said Little. more >>
An Italian Catholic priest and his church are offering Christian couples willing to have a third child the equivalent of $2,200 in Euros to help increase the country's dwindling population of native Italians.
The money is being offered by Father Stefano Bimbi of the parish of Staggia in Tuscany, and it can only be received after the couple has baptized the child. The couple must have also been married in the Catholic Church and have to be native Italians, according to TheLocal.it.
Bimbi hopes the money will help parents "with the courage to accept the gift of a child." He also said the Church does not have a large amount of money for the initiative, but he promised that it would continue until all the funds run out. more >>
The percentage of Americans who are categorized as "post-Christian" has increased from 37 percent in 2013 to 44 percent in 2015, with the highest percentages residing in urban areas of the northeast and Pacific Northwest, according to a Barna Group study published this month.
"Across the United States, cities in every state are becoming more post-Christian — some at a faster rate than others," the study reveals.
While 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian, Barna used 15 metrics to track indifference to Christianity, and those surveyed had to meet nine of those factors to qualify as post-Christian. Individuals who met 12 or more of the factors are categorized as "highly post-Christian." more >>
A Sydney-based evangelist as well as the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), both recently condemned the crackdown on Christians under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had promised better treatment of religious minorities before taking office, and called for the release of prisoners of conscience, including Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini.
"The Iranian government actively pursues Christian ministers and believers, placing them in prison under trumped up political charges, or simply killing them in accordance with their law," asserted Christian worker Marlene Mathew, who works with immigrants from the Middle East, to The Christian Post on Monday. "These people are innocent and need to be set free....In recent weeks the Iranian government has openly declared that 'Christians are enemies' who are a major threat to the state."
The USCIRF also condemned the detention of prisoners of conscience, and called for their immediate release, adding that since President Rouhani assumed office, he has failed to fulfill his promise to improve the climate for religious freedom, despite sparking hopes in 2013 when he said, "All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice," as reported by The Jerusalem Post. August marks the second anniversary of Rouhani's presidency. more >>