For the first time publicly, evangelist Greg Laurie addressed the issue of gay activists calling for him to not pray as the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer at events in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The Southern California pastor's discussion on the topic came during a recent mid-week Bible study message on the prophet Elijah that was videotaped and shown at his Harvest churches in Riverside and Orange counties during worship services Sunday.
"When I was back in Washington, D.C., for the National Day of Prayer I didn't go back there to get into a fight with anybody," Laurie told his congregation. "I went back there to pray because I was asked to pray there at the meetings at the Cannon House office building and the Pentagon. It wasn't my choice to get into these engagements with these activists, homosexual groups that were calling me homophobic and all that."
Laurie explained that as a Christian, his beliefs are not any different from what is found in the Bible, however, much of society finds the biblical views offensive. more >>
MaryAnn McCormick, an internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, has been hailed in the press as "charismatic," "spell-binding," and "elegant." Performing roles such as Carmen to Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, McCormick has sung worldwide, won a Grammy, and just celebrated her 100th performance at the Metropolitan Opera – a feat not every accomplished opera singer can claim.
McCormick, a native of Pittsburgh, admits that her road to becoming as successful as she has, has been challenging and complicated, especially since she became a Christian seven years ago.
"Since becoming a Christian, it's not been as easy," she says. "Many performers wouldn't hesitate to do whatever they need to do to get ahead, but as a Christian I can't do that. This is a very ego driven and competitive career – it takes a level of expertise and training to sing in this environment under intense pressure, and to be emotionally savvy." more >>
More than 150 teams of filmmakers from the U.S. and as far away as Australia, Ethiopia and Zambia began shooting video to submit as their entry into the Christian-themed speed filmmaking contest, 168 Film Festival. The teams began filming last Thursday and have a total of seven days (168 hours) to complete a 10-minute film.
Earlier this month, an estimated 1,500 film professionals and amateurs alike – received a luck-of-the-draw Bible verse plucked from scriptures that relate to "Atonement," this year's theme. They were given ten days to prepare, including writing, casting, scheduling and rehearsals before the 168 hours of filming.
"This is the week our filmmakers put the rubber to the road," said 168 Film Project founder and director John David Ware. "They find out how effective their planning has been as they work to make memorable films that will earn them invitation to and nominations at the 168 Film Festival" (August 8-10 in Glendale, California). more >>
Three brothers from Oklahoma won the Game Show Network's "American Bible Challenge" that broadcasted Thursday night, and will donate their entire winnings of $140,000 to their family's ministry, Wagner International Ministries.
The Wagner brothers – Joshua, 23, Jesse, 21, and Daniel, 19 – said growing up in the family's ministry and training for the Assemblies of God Bible Quiz prepared them well. "All of us have memorized books of the Bible," Jesse told The Christian Post on Friday. "I have memorized 11 books, Josh has memorized 9, and Daniel, 14." Jesse said he has memorized many of Paul's epistles, the Gospels of Mark and John, and the book of Acts, as well.
"My favorite book to memorize was the Gospel of John. That's always been my favorite Gospel," Jesse said. more >>
President Barack Obama spoke to 841 men and 206 women at the Naval Academy commissioning ceremony in Annapolis, Md., on Friday, telling them that sexual assault threatens the entire military and it should be stopped.
"Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong," Obama told the Navy grads. "That's why we have to be determined to stop these crimes, because they've got no place in the greatest military on earth."
Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that in 2012, more than 85,000 veterans were treated for injuries or illness stemming from sexual abuse in the military. Analysts said that the actual number is likely to be even higher, since many victims decide not to report abuse, for a variety of reasons. more >>
A soon-to-be published study on World War II veterans found that those who had bad experiences of combat were more likely to pray and then attend church after the conflict.
Scheduled to appear online next week in the Journal of Health and Religion, the study was conducted by brothers Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, and Brian Wansink, professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University.
Titled "Are There Atheists in Foxholes? Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior," the study found that as combat became more frightening, the number of soldiers who reported praying during those times increased from 42 percent to 72 percent. more >>