Outspoken Christian NFL player Benjamin Watson recently issued a powerful Facebook post writing about the Islamic State and the rise of Christian persecution throughout the world, asserting that all Christians should be ready to die for upholding their faith in Jesus Christ.
"The images keep flooding our timelines and news feeds. Men being burned alive or beheaded by masked assassins. Stories of families on the run, fleeing their homes while they are pillaged and burned," Watson's Saturday Facebook post explained. "Their testimonies hold a familiar chord: 'Convert, Pay or Die!'"
Watson, an 11-year NFL veteran who's a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, wrote that although extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram in Nigeria have risen to prominence and are out to destroy Christianity, believers should never deny Christ in order to save their lives. more >>
"Why are we scared today preachers? Everybody's coming out of the closet but the saints." – Alabama Pastor Cedric Hatcher
Pastor Cedric Hatcher recently expressed his bewilderment over the "normalization" of same-sex marriage at a recent Birmingham City Council meeting. Watch video: http://youtu.be/L9ukYpLP6G0
He asked, "Why are citizens allowing same-sex advocates to parade gay couples in front of children as if it were normal?" He passionately argued: Gay marriage is not normal nor is it Biblical. more >>
The Jewish Festival of Purim, celebrated this year on March 5th, "commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia (modern day Iran) from Haman's plot 'to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.'" Instead, Queen Esther, a Jewess, stepped forward and bravely saved her people.
Tuesday on Capitol Hill, we heard about another grave threat to the Jewish people. As I sat in the House Chamber and listened to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I heard a leader who respectfully but urgently conveyed a single, compelling message, the same message Esther gave to the Persian King Ahasuerus: the Jewish people are under threat, and need immediate help.
This was not, contrary to some press reports, a partisan event. Seated in front of me were former Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. These men are divided over many things, but united in their understanding that the American-Israel alliance must never be compromised. more >>
Before recording my sixth album, "No Turning Back," I needed restoring. I was a bit tired, working a lot, feeling kind of uninspired. I prayed from Psalm 51 "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation." The more I prayed that prayer, the more I thought about where my journey began — at camp. I started thinking about where I was at that time in my life, 16 years old, struggling with tough circumstances. Then I met Jesus, learned to forgive, found joy. I pray you will find Him too.
As a high school student, I'd heard stories from friends about camp — staying up late, eating s'mores around a fire, zip lining through the trees. So when the leaders of a club I'd been attending suggested I spend a week at camp the following summer, I wasn't sure what camp was exactly, but it sounded fun — and I was in.
At the time, I didn't realize the camp was over 2,000 miles away. Born in Nashville, I'd never been west of the Mississippi River, but soon I found myself on a plane to Vancouver, British Columbia, followed by a boat ride from the city out to the middle of a Canadian inlet, to Young Life's Malibu Club summer camp. more >>
It is tempting to neglect incarcerated Christians in America. Labeled as lost causes, we justify our lack of attention to the needs of these brothers and sisters in Christ because of the public punishment they serve for their past wrongdoings. Thank goodness this is not the attitude of Jesus Christ.
In a letter to his parents from his prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "I wish I could be doing useful service somewhere or other, but at present that 'somewhere' must be in the prison cell, and what I can do here makes its contribution to the unseen world, a sphere where the word 'do' is quit unsuitable." Bonhoeffer spent two years in prison, yet he published wedding sermons, gave Sunday sermons and shared the Gospel with his prison mates and prison guards.
An imprisoned Christian does not lead a static spiritual life. There is much work to be done for the glory of God behind those high-security walls. Of course, ministry within a prison that is led by a prisoner is far from easy. The daily challenges of prison life are too well known to require further mention. The challenges that do go unheard are the emotional and spiritual struggles endured by incarcerated Christians, such as feeling abandoned and forgotten. more >>
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He…who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead—his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life…has also given rise to religion." No biblical prophet uttered those words. Instead they come from the greatest scientific genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein. His words capture the continuing public fascination with the Shroud of Jesus at Turin, Italy. His words also demonstrate that deep down; no conflict exists between science and religion—despite what atheists contend.
As a professor, I can attest that despite the miraculous benefits technology affords researchers, educators, and students alike—most of us in higher education are, by Einstein's definition, the walking dead: we "no longer wonder and stand wrapped in awe." Awe fails to constitute a measurable learning outcome required by a university-accrediting agency. Neither is it easily explicable to parents paying significant tuition and looking for return on their investment. Yet, sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Last week arguably the greatest living expert on the Shroud of Turin, the official photographer of the NASA scientists' investigation (STRP), Barrie Schwortz, visited my university. He arrived just days before CNN launched its six-part series: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery." The premiere episode highlighted the mysterious linen. Schwortz began as skeptical as a hardnosed journalist in 1978, equipped with specialized lenses and expecting to find a medieval forger's brushstrokes. Trouble was, no brushstrokes. And after five straight days and nights of unfettered access to the Shroud and scores of empirical analyses later—no scientific explanation emerged for how the forensically accurate image of a scourged and crucified man got on the Shroud. It wasn't a painting—there was no paint; it wasn't a photograph—no trace of silver left behind; and it wasn't a scorch—ultraviolet fluorescence proved that. What was it then? For lack of a better word, a mystery. more >>