The late rockstar Prince, who was known to be a devout Jehovah's Witness, regretted he didn't talk to Michael Jackson more about his faith before he died, recalls Dudley Brooks, photo editor at The Washington Post, who met the mononym pop icon in 2010.
"During a break in the shoot — which actually turned out to be the end of the session — we chatted about his faith as a devout Jehovah's Witness and the challenges of being a door-to-door evangelist," writes Brooks, of his visit to Prince's house in the suburbs of Minneapolis.
"It's not every day that someone like Prince comes to your door with the aim of putting you on a spiritual path, but he said that he used various disguises to deflect attention. Eyeglasses, conservative suits, a different way of combing his hair — he tried them all. People still recognized him, but he said that they never called him out on it. They listened to his message and respected his opinion," Brooks adds. more >>
Five Christian girls have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam just this month, according to a human rights group that monitors ongoing abuses of religious minorities in Pakistan.
"In April in the area of Kasur alone, five Christian girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam and forced to marry their captors. These girls are denied the legal protection of individual rights," said Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a lawyer with Legal Evangelical Association Development in Pakistan.
Fides News Agency reported Monday that the latest victim was 23-year-old Laveeza Bibi from the Kasur district in Punjab, who earlier this month was kidnapped by two Muslims who stormed her house armed with guns, kidnapping the girl and threatening her parents. more >>
Veteran actor Joaquin Phoenix is rumored to play the role of Jesus Christ in a film centered on Mary Magdalene.
The Oscar-nominated Phoenix is being eyed for the part, according to a recent story by Ali Jaafar of Deadline Hollywood.
"A deal is still some way off being done, with scheduling believed to be one concern, but if this goes down it would be a clear statement of intent from the filmmakers about the kind of film they're trying to make," reported Jaafar. more >>
Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Communist Party members that they must be "unyielding atheist" who will command Christians and other religious groups in the country.
"Religious groups... must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC)," Xi told senior party officials at a conference, as reported by the official Xinhua news agency.
He added that Communists must be "unyielding Marxist atheists," who are given the mission to "resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means." more >>
Lakewood Church's one-day Go Conference for Men was a pit stop where men could refuel, recharge and renew their inspiration in order to get back on track.
In a rare and candid chat hosted by pastor and author Phil Munsey on Friday, Lakewood Church senior pastor Joel Osteen and Life.Church senior pastor Craig Groeschel gave audience members a glimpse into more intimate aspects of their lives, opening up about managing their personal relationships, balancing church and family, and how they got where they are today.
On his relationship with his wife of 29 years, Victoria, Osteen shared that she has helped him become the man he is today, saying, "I wouldn't be who I am were it not for Victoria." He explained that 10 years before the death of his father, the late Rev. John Osteen, Victoria began telling him that he would one day preach. Osteen said that after his father passed, he felt empowered to preach because Victoria had been telling him for so long that he could do it. "We're better together," he told the gathering of men. more >>
In a message tailored to leaders within the local church, North Point Community Church senior pastor Andy Stanley cautioned attendees of Catalyst Cincinnati against putting theology above ministry, encouraging them to keep people first and to be good neighbors in their communities, loving enemies in order to "be the generation to awaken the culture to the wonder of God."
Seeking to help church leaders leverage their ministries, Stanley explained that rigid ministry systems and "lines in the sand" on cultural issues often "bump" people out rather than win them over. "There are no one-size-fits-all ministry rules," he said at the inaugural Cincinnatti event on Friday.
Stanley reminded the audience of 2,500 of how Jesus Christ disregarded status and appearances when he walked among the people, instead putting their needs first. "If Jesus was worried about guilt by association, he would've stayed in Heaven," Stanley said. The pastor added that the Church can have greater impact when it follows Christ's example of putting the needs of the people first. more >>