Posts belonging to Category Current Events

Sunday Worship at Emanuel AME Church after the Massacre

Kate Shellnutt reports on the first Sunday of worship at Emanuel AME church following the shooting incident earlier this week:

Rev. Gillison welcomed members, guests, and media, saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Tucked away in the back row of the balcony, part of me wondered, “Rejoice? Right now? On this day?” I was overruled by the 500-plus crowd below, who shouted along with him.

It kept coming. Prayers thanking God for his blessings. For waking them up this morning. A reading from 1 Thessalonians: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (5:16-18, KJV). They literally sounded the trumpet, making a joyful noise with praise anthems and soloists walking the aisles until the cordless mic started cutting in and out.

“Many hearts are broken and tears are still being shed, but through it all we are reminded we serve a God who still cares,” Gillison told the congregation, the first of several messages coupling the tragedy with a testimony of God’s faithfulness. (Source: CT)

Related post: Relatives of Church Shooting Victims Address Charleston Shooter in Court [Video and Transcript]

Relatives of Church Shooting Victims Address Charleston Shooter in Court [Video and Transcript]

This is a powerful video as relatives of the church shooting victims at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston address Dylan Roof, the shooter, in court. (Transcript follows below.)

Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance: “I forgive you. You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgive you. And I forgive you.”

Anthony Thompson, representative for the family of 59-year-old Myra Thompson: “I forgive you and my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, and give your life to the one who matters the most: Christ. Because he can change your ways no matter what happens to you. And then you’ll be okay.”

Felicia Sanders, mother of 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders: “We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautiful people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts, and I’ll never be the same. Tywanza Sanders was my son. But Tywanza Sanders was my hero. Tywanza was my hero. But as we said in the Bible study, we enjoyed you, but may God have mercy on you.”

Alana Simmons, grand-daughter of 74-year-old Daniel Simmons: “Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof, everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love. So hate won’t win.”

Sister of 54-year-old Cynthia Hurd: “On behalf of my family for not allowing hate to win, for me I’m a work in progress, and I acknowledge that I am very angry. But one thing … she taught me is that we are the family that love built. We have no root in hatred, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul, and I also thank God that I won’t be around when your judgment day comes. May God bless you.”

Related post: Sunday Worship at Emanuel AME Church after the Massacre

National Day of Prayer 2014

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer for the United States. The purpose of the National Day of Prayer is to gather the people of our country to come together and pray, particularly for our nation and for those in leadership on all levels of local, national, church and educational areas of influence.

Let me encourage you to participate in this special day of prayer for our nation. Over 40,000 prayer events are scheduled to take place this year across the country — at churches, schools, government buildings and other public gathering places. We will be hosting an event here in Plantation, FL at City Hall during the lunch hour. Click here to find an event near you.

A Pastor’s First-Hand Response from Newtown, CT

For those of you who have been praying for the Newtown community in the wake of Friday’s shooting, I recommend this first-hand account from Pastor Joey Newton, pastor-teacher of Newtown Bible Church in Newtown, Connecticut.

Weeping with those who weep–a first-hand response from Newtown:

The church I pastor is three miles from the site of Friday’s slaughter, where 26 people were murdered. Certainly this event will in some way define and shape the spiritual life of the community for decades to come. I know it will profoundly affect my family; many of those killed were the same age as one of my three daughters.

I spent last Friday in the counseling center the town set up, where families had gathered waiting to hear the names of their child, or to see if any new information came out. (Click here to read the full article.)

Prayer Suggestions for Newtown, CT

We are all grieving over the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT this morning. My sister Sharon, who is the USA National Director at Moms in Prayer International, sent out the following prayer suggestions which I recommend to you as you pray for those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Please pray for:

  • The families of those who lost their lives.
  • The family of the troubled soul who did this.
  • The students, faculty, and administration of Sandy Hook Elementary School as they cope with what happened.
  • All our schools and communities across the USA especially during this time of year.
  • Revival among our young people, that every student will have an opportunity to hear of the mercy and grace afforded us through Jesus Christ.

Happy 200th Birthday, Mexico!

Mexican Flag

Our family is of Mexican heritage, so I definitely wanted to mark this occasion. Allen Yeh over at the Scriptorium has put together a nice article on this 200th anniversary for Mexico:

Two hundred years ago today (September 16, 1810), Mexico received its independence from Spain. A lot of Americans mistakenly think that May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) is Mexico’s independence day. Actually, Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday celebrated only in one part of Mexico (the state of Puebla). September 16 is the big day for the whole country.

Today is not the only significant celebration of Mexico this year—in about two months, Mexico will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its revolution, which occurred on November 20, 1910! So, enjoy these next few months of fiesta. Our neighbors to the south will be partying it up, celebrating the bicentennial of their independence, and the centennial of their revolution.

Allen also lists a number of interesting facts about Mexico. Here are the first three:

  • Remember that California belonged to Mexico before it belonged to the United States of America. Back then, it was called Alta (“Upper”) California, as opposed to the peninsula to our south, Baja (“Lower”) California.
  • The official name of Mexico is the United Mexican States. There are 31 states in the nation, of which Baja California is one. Mexico City is not part of any state but instead is a special territory called Distrito Federal (“D.F.”), just like Washington is part of the District of Columbia (“D.C.”).
  • The “x” in Mexico is pronounced like a Spanish “j” because it comes from the Aztec language (Nahuatl), not from Castillian Spanish.

Be sure to visit Allen’s post for more information and fun facts about Mexico. Here is the link: Happy 200th Birthday, Mexico!

Update: Check out some great pictures of Mexico’s Bicentenniel here.

Book Burning in the Digital Age

So when ebooks take over the world, will protesters just get together and delete files?

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Court Rules World Vision Can Hire/Fire Based on Faith

From Christianity Today:

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling this afternoon allowing the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision to base its hiring decisions on matters of religious belief.

Ninth Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain authored the three-judge panel’s majority opinion, which declares World Vision a “religious organization” and therefore exempt from the rules on hiring practices that Congress set down in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, mainly because it is a nonprofit entity which self-identifies as religious.

“This is a significant victory for World Vision’s religious hiring rights,” said Dean Owen, World Vision’s director of media relations. “The right of faith-based organizations to hire people who are co-religionists, who are of their own faith, has been law in this country for nearly 50 years.”

So basically, faith-based institutions can make their employment decisions based on faith. Makes sense to me.

Keith Green 28|28|28

28 years ago on July 28th, Christian musician Keith Green went home to be with the Lord. He was only 28 years old. Tonight at 7:30 p.m. (EST) Last Days Ministries will present a free live web event remembering Keith. Tune in tonight at for this free event hosted by Melody Green, John Dawson and Loren & Darlene Cunningham.

Keith Green 28|28|28 (Video length: 3:36)

Video includes live performance clips of “Soften Your Heart” and “My Eyes are Dry.”

Related posts:
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    • New Keith Green Music Coming


Avertible Catastrophe

Lawrence Solomon on the Dutch and U.S response to the BP oil spill:

Financial Post: Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.

To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.

The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company’s expense. “If there’s a country that’s experienced with building dikes and managing water, it’s the Netherlands,” says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston … The U.S. government responded with “Thanks but no thanks,” remarked Visser, despite BP’s desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer –the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge …

Why does neither the U.S. government nor U.S. energy companies have on hand the cleanup technology available in Europe? Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico …

A catastrophe that could have been averted is now playing out. With oil increasingly reaching the Gulf coast, the emergency construction of sand berns to minimize the damage is imperative. Again, the U.S. government priority is on U.S. jobs, with the Dutch asked to train American workers rather than to build the berns. According to Floris Van Hovell, a spokesman for the Dutch embassy in Washington, Dutch dredging ships could complete the berms in Louisiana twice as fast as the U.S. companies awarded the work. “Given the fact that there is so much oil on a daily basis coming in, you do not have that much time to protect the marshlands,” he says, perplexed that the U.S. government could be so focused on side issues with the entire Gulf Coast hanging in the balance.

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Army!

U.S. Army Logo Today is the 235th birthday of the United States Army. Take a moment and pray for our troops today. (And while we’re at it, happy Flag Day as well!)

Baptist Pastor Speaks Out about Haiti Ordeal

Pastor Paul Thompson was one of the ten Baptist volunteers arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges this past January. Laura Silsby, the last volunteer still in prison, was released yesterday after more than 100 days in jail. Now that all ten volunteers have been released, Pastor Thompson finally feels free to share his side of the story. From the Baptist Press:

Paul Thompson reads the media accounts describing the journey of him and nine other jailed Baptist volunteers in Haiti who are all now free, and scratches his head. He was there. What he reads is not what he experienced … “It’s radically different,” Thompson said. For instance:

– The 10 Americans did not, as has been alleged in some accounts, go through the streets of Port-au-Prince passing out flyers and going door-to-door looking for children, Thompson said. Instead, the 33 children they were trying to take across the border in a medium-sized bus came from two orphanages, and orphanage workers told them that none of the children had parents.

– The group was told multiple times before they got to the border that their documentation and paperwork — the source of the controversy — was sufficient, Thompson said. A Haitian child services official said as much, as did a Haitian policeman and an orphanage director who has extensive experience transferring orphans from Haiti to the Dominican Republic.

– The 10 Baptists were arrested in Port-au-Prince, and not at the border. They thought they would go free until UNICEF — a United Nations agency — got involved and pressed charges, Thompson says.

– They were arrested on Jan. 30, and not Jan. 29 as has been reported repeatedly.

Visit the Baptist Press website for the full story with many fascinating details.