Longtime financial scammer Ephren Taylor and his accomplice have been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for an elaborate investment scheme they used to pilfer $16 million out of more than 400 people, many of them churchgoers.
"Taylor's 'Building Wealth' tour accomplished exactly the opposite, victimizing hundreds of investors and leaving many of them financially ruined," Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a press release. "At churches across the country he touted himself as a socially conscious investor, but his investment opportunities were nothing but a Ponzi scheme designed to build his own personal wealth. This sentencing brings a measure of justice to those who remain devastated by his actions."
The U.S. State Attorney's Office in Georgia adds: more >>
The Luis Palau Association, Jesus Culture and youth leaders in New York City have teamed up for three days of gatherings "designed to mobilize and encourage students to become passionate, faithful followers of Jesus."
Around 5,000 young people were expected to attend the three-day event, according to Kevin Palau, president of the Portland, Oregon-based Luis Palau Association.
The Friday evening gathering will see Jesus Culture, Misfit youth pastor Chris Durso of Queens megachurch Christ Tabernacle, evangelist Andrew Palau, and God Belongs in My City founder and youth leader Daniel Sanabria come together to inspire those 25 and younger to impact their city. more >>
In a recent sermon, Texas megachurch pastor Matt Chandler proclaimed that showing favoritism and partiality toward the rich while turning a blind eye to the weak and poor is as much of a sin as murder or adultery.
Preaching on the first chapter of James on March 1, Chandler challenged his congregation at The Village Church in Flower Mound not to "cuddle" up with the rich and powerful just because they have elite status and are seen as relevant. He explained that Jesus called on his followers to help the poorest and weakest in society and it "dishonors God" for his followers to be more interested in cozying up to the wealthy.
"We hear about partiality, we hear about favoritism, and the unregenerate heart says, 'I didn't kill nobody. I didn't commit adultery. I didn't break any major law.' And James' point is, so what if you didn't murder or commit adultery, if you are showing impartiality, you have broken the law," Chandler asserted. "You discriminate; you broke the law. [If] you are a racist, accidentally or not, you have broken the law. If you avoid the poor, you have broken the royal law of love. You have sinned against God." more >>
A Texas organization that has investigated financial fraud in the American religious community is in the process of expanding their efforts globally.
The Dallas-based Trinity Foundation recently announced their plans to investigate religious fraud on a global scale following the release of research earlier this year indicating that religious fraud globally may total $100 billion in the next decade.
In a recently released statement, the Trinity Foundation noted that for 2015 alone it's estimated that international religious fraud will exceed donations to global missions. more >>
The first-ever film based on the Australian megachurch Hillsong is set to premiere in May, offering audiences everywhere the chance to partake in their world-famous worship services.
"Hillsong – Let Hope Rise" chronicles Hillsong UNITED's journey from humble beginnings into what is considered one of the most famous Christian worship bands in the world today. Furthermore, as one of the film's producers Jon Bock pointed out, "Let Hope Rise" will continue leading people to Jesus upon its release date on May 29.
"Everything Hillsong does is about one name only, and that's Jesus," Bock told The Christian Post. "Everything they do, everything they're about, is leading people toward Jesus. And that's what the goal of the film is as well." more >>
Although multiple real estate interests were in the running to purchase the prime urban Seattle property owned by the now-defunct 15,000-member megachurch Mars Hill, the Ballard neighborhood church facility will remain a sanctuary, as a nearby congregation won the bidding on Tuesday with a $9-million offer.
After Mars Hill, which owned 15 properties across five states, announced its plans to dissolve into a number of independent churches last fall, after controversy sounded the leadership of its head pastor, Mark Driscoll, the congregation put up for sale nearly $25 million worth of its properties in late October.
The real estate company Colliers International announced Tuesday that nearby Quest Church won the sale of the 40,000 square-foot property with a $9-million bid, even though the facility in the bustling Ballard shopping district was bid on by nine different real estate developers. more >>