The evangelical humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse airlifted over 60,000 gift-filled shoeboxes on Wednesday to the Kurdish-controlled region of Northern Iraq, intending to provide hope to children living as refugees after they were forced to flee their homes to escape from the wrath of the Islamic State.
Through Operation Christmas Child, a program run by evangelist Franklin Graham and his Samaritan's Purse organization, people from all over the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have combined efforts to fill up 60,000 shoeboxes with small gifts and uplifting messages, which will be flown from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
With Samaritan's Purse already supporting a major refugee camp in the town by airlifting supplies in October, the Operation Christmas Child airlift is the second that Samaritan's Purse has conducted to support the refugees living in Iraq. more >>
One of the largest churches in America, Oklahoma-based LifeChurch.tv, is looking to possibly add another campus in Johnson County, Kansas to its multi-campus system.
Life Covenant Church, Inc. of Edmond, more commonly known by the name LifeChurch.tv, has recently purchased approximately 15 acres in Overland Park. The church purchased the property for an estimated $3.95 million but has not made a final decision as to the land's usage, according to Rob Roberts of the Kansas City Business Journal.
Southern Baptist International Mission Board President and megachurch Pastor David Platt said the reason why many Christians balk at the idea of allowing God to send them anywhere in the world for His purpose is because churches have watered down what it means to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
The megachurch pastor preached in a Dec. 1 podcast entitled, "Our Obligation to the Unreached", that Christians should give God a "blank check" when it comes to missions, expressing a willingness to let go of everything and spread the Gospel even in the most violent and deadly places in the world. However he said most people sitting in the church pews on Sunday mornings believe this call is foolish and terrifying.
Referring to Paul's Romans 12 command to Christ followers to become "living sacrifices," Platt admonished "You know why blank check language – surrender to do whatever, go whatever – seems so foreign to so many of us today? Isn't because we've so diluted the gospel invitation?" more >>
Alabama megachurch pastor David Platt urged Christians to give God a "blank check" when it comes to missions, allowing Him to send them anywhere in the world for the sake of the Gospel, even if that means relocating their family to Syria, Somalia or Iraq.
Platt, who is also the Southern Baptist International Mission Board president, said in his recent podcast, "Our Obligation to the Unreached," that Christians' salvation demands that they offer "a blank check before God with no strings from you, from me, from our churches to say we know we must work, we must strive, live, and die to get the Gospel to people who never heard it."
By his estimation, there are 2 billion people in over 6,500 people groups who do not have access to the Gospel. Putting ourselves in their shoes, Platt described, "that would mean that we have the knowledge of God, we've rejected God, we stand condemned before God and if we don't hear the good news of what God has done in Christ then we will die in that state and go to an everlasting hell without ever hearing the gospel." more >>
Florida police are searching for Andres "Andy" Avalos, 33, who is wanted for questioning in relation to three murders, including that of a pastor, that took place on Thursday afternoon.
Avalos is believed to have shot and killed Pastor James "Tripp" Battle, 31, at the Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida. While responding to that call, police also learned of two women who were shot and killed at a nearby home. One of those victims was Avalos' wife, Amber, 33, and the other was her friend, Denise Potter, 46. The couple had six children, and they are all in the custody of a relative.
Avalos' father, Andy, is also a minister at the Bayshore Baptist Church. He was unharmed, and the younger Avalos has not been seen since the shooting. Authorities found the vehicle he was last seen driving on Thursday night but there was no evidence of Avalos. He is still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities warned. more >>
A living nativity display in Utah has broken the Guinness World Record for the largest nativity in the world, with 1,039 people taking part in the display that was presented to the city of Provo Monday evening. Volunteers and YouTube stars played roles like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and numerous angels.
"Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, angels, shepherds ... and A LOT of angels, really," Austin Craig, one of the organizers of the record making living nativity scene, told KUTV. "It's a great way to bring focus to Christ and we wanted to spread that message as widely as possible."
In addition to the 1,039 human participants, there was also a camel and a donkey added to the scene, which was held at Rock Canyon Park from 2 to 8 p.m. MST. more >>