Nearly 2 000 soldiers come to Christ at US army base

Troops at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. (PHOTO: Facebook)

Originally published in Faith Wire

A US army chaplain has described what he believes to be somewhat of a “revival” occurring on a military base in Missouri. The numbers are staggering: over the past six months, nearly 2 000 troops have reportedly come to the Lord.

Chaplain Jose M Rondon, who is stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, has been posting about the astonishing spiritual awakening on Facebook over the past few weeks, detailing personal testimony and uploading video footage of soldiers worshipping God.

“Today, 380 soldiers came to salvation in Christ once and for all,” Rondon wrote in one post. “Thanks CH Tony Cech for the excellent, clear, and powerful messages during the three services. Since March 11 2018, we have seen 1 839 soldiers coming to Christ. God’s doing an unbelievable work through our military at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. May God bring the same powerful conviction of sin and love for Him that we are experiencing at Main Post Chapel all throughout our Nation and His world.”

Rondon told the Baptist Press that the key to such astonishing results is being direct and intentional in sharing the gospel.

“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” Rondon said. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Saviour. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”

Rondon also posted a video showing hundreds of soldiers singing a heart-warming rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

“I’m excited about the future of our military for millions of our warriors who will sing God’s Amazing Grace. Glory to Christ, the only God, Saviour, and Lord in this life and the one to come,” he added.

Among the scores of soldiers coming to Christ, there are multiple testimonies of lives transformed and hearts turned to Christ.

“I used to have a lot of anger in me,” one soldier, Private Havens, explained in one of Rondon’s testimony posts. “I held grudges against people that have done wrongs against me. And I came here, and I realise that the Lord has forgiven me for my sins and I realise that I needed to do the same to others.”

He added, “I feel a thousand pounds lighter now that I’m able to let go of the burden of this, not hate, but just feeling wronged. And I have forgiven those that have wronged me. I feel better now.”

Rondon said Havens was just one example of the hordes of military personnel who have been coming to Christ in recent months.

“Private Havens is just one of many of the 1 000 and almost 800 soldiers, probably 1 000 by today, we will reach around 2 000 soldiers since March 11 coming to faith in Christ Jesus and growing into their faith as is the case with Private Havens,” he noted.

Retired Major General Doug Carver told the Baptist Press that such an unprecedented move of the Holy Spirit is indicative of these troops hungering after a sense of ultimate purpose in their lives, adding that the military men and women were on an insatiable hunt for the truth.

“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” he explained.

“God is doing great things,” Rondon said, imploring Christians to keep praying for a continued move of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these brave men and women.

“I’m asking you to please pray and help us to see not only today and since March 11th with almost 2 000 people coming to salvation in Christ Jesus, that the Lord is good and He desires not only to reconcile us, to reunite us to Himself, through His death, burial and resurrection but also that He desires for the whole world and mainly our country, United States to know that if He’s doing great things in the military, He’s going to keep doing great things, in and throughout us for His glory in our society so in need of Christ Jesus our King.”

Amen!




Colorado targets Christian baker again despite Supreme Court’s cake ruling

Cake artist Jack Phillips, pictured September 21 2017 decorating a custom cake in his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. (PHOTO: Rick Wilking)

Originally published in The Daily Signal

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is going after Christian baker Jack Phillips again, although the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner won a resounding 7-2 decision in June before the US Supreme Court.

The state commission moved against Phillips after a lawyer asked him to design and bake a custom cake celebrating a gender transition, pink on the inside and blue on the outside.

Phillips, who calls himself a cake artist, said the requested cake’s message would violate his religious beliefs.

“The state is doubling down on its hostility against my beliefs, even though that’s what the Supreme Court said they couldn’t do,” Phillips said in a prepared statement released by his lawyers. “It seems I’m the only person in the state of Colorado who can’t live out my beliefs.”

The religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented Phillips since he turned down a gay couple’s order six years ago for a cake celebrating their marriage, also represents him in a federal lawsuit filed late Tuesday to challenge the latest state action against him.

Shortly after its Supreme Court loss, the state Civil Rights Commission informed Phillips that it found probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires his bakery in Lakewood to create the requested gender-transition cake.

“I serve all customers,” Phillips said once again in his formal statement. “I simply decline to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of my deeply held beliefs.”

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the lawyer asked Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake the cake on June 26 2017, the same day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

“We told him we’d sell him anything in the shop, but we could not create that cake because of the message it conveyed,” Phillips said of the lawyer’s request.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an opinion joined by four conservative justices and two liberal justices, ruled that the Civil Rights Commission showed “hostility” toward Phillips and his faith in the process of deciding he had violated state anti-discrimination law in declining to create a cake marking the same-sex marriage.

The high court heard arguments December 5 and ruled June 4.

“It’s clear that the state of Colorado did not get the message from the Supreme Court, since it is still singling out Jack for punishment and showing hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a formal statement.

The transgender lawyer who requested the cake is not a defendant in Phillips’ lawsuit. The baker is suing the state commission members in their official capacities, as well as suing its director personally.

“In moving ahead on this new complaint, the government is yet again confirming that it applies its law in an arbitrary and unequal way, which the Supreme Court has already said that it cannot do,” Waggoner, who argued Phillips’ case before the high court, said.

“Jack and other creative professionals should not be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs,” she said.

As a policy, Phillips’ lawyers note, Masterpiece Cakeshop also does not make custom cakes that celebrate Halloween; that centre on alcohol or drug abuse or sexual themes; or that convey disparaging messages, including those targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals or others in the LGBT movement.

Phillips said, “The Bible tells us God created us male and female, and I believe that. A gender-transition cake is not something I’ve ever made, and it’s not an event I could celebrate. There are plenty of messages I won’t convey on a cake. I’ve turned down requests to make anti-American cakes, cakes disparaging the LGBT community, as well as those glorifying drug and alcohol use, mistreatment of women, divorce, and more.”

In the case Phillips won before the Supreme Court, his lawyers stress, the state of Colorado admitted that cake artists are free to decline to create custom cakes with a “specific design,” including wedding cakes with “a symbol of gay pride,” cakes that contain “pro-gay designs or inscriptions,” or cakes with images opposing same-sex marriage.

The state has not found probable cause when other bakers refused to create custom cakes, including those opposing same-sex weddings.

“The arbitrary basis on which the commission is applying the law makes it clear that they are simply targeting Jack because they don’t like his religious beliefs,” Waggoner said. “Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that.”




Bethel Church giving R13.4-million to families who lost homes in fire

Bethel Global Response volunteer teams assist Redding, California, residents who lost their homes in the Carr Fire, with Ash Outs, August 6 2018. (PHOTO: Bethel Church)

Originally published in The Christian Post

An influential charismatic church is giving $1000 (R13 423) to every household that lost their home in the Carr Fire, a move it says is a “God-sized step of faith.”

Bethel Church, which has several thousand members and is home to Bethel Music, announced on its website that it would be giving the money to those whose primary residence was destroyed in the fire that began raging near Redding, California, two weeks ago.

“We are incredibly blessed as a church by people all around the world praying for us, donating and supporting our community here in Redding. The generosity of gifts coming towards us is both humbling and much needed. Christians around the world are coming together and supporting a cause that is bigger than any one individual alone can carry,” the church explained.

“When we first made the decision to give a financial gift for the people in our city who had lost their home, the numbers being reported were 150-200 homes. Within just three days, that number had climbed to over 1000 homes, and the amount we had expected to raise and give went from $200 000 (almost R3-million) to over $1 000 000 dollars (over R13-million).”

God-sized step of faith
Bethel’s original plan to give $200 000 (almost R3-million) “was a challenge, but doable in our own strength and resources,” the church said.

“But $1 000 000 (over R13-million) is a God-sized step of faith. We are believing Him for it, and are now in the process of reaching out to our friends around the globe to be the hands of Christ to our city in this moment. We are determined to honour this commitment, whether the generosity comes from gifts from the global community or from our own church finances.”

The only Redding and Shasta County residents who will qualify to receive the sum of money are those whose homes were their primary residence. Their houses must also be listed on the Housing Authority report as more than 50% destroyed. The money will not benefit those who lost their vacation homes, second homes, or rental properties. Only one gift of $1000 (R13 423) will be given per household.

Days after the fire began, the church came under criticism on social media for not opening its doors for evacuees. Bethel maintained that it offered to be such a site but was told that it was situated too close to the fire zone and that it would not work to have people stay overnight given that there is only one road in and out of its premises. The Red Cross subsequently confirmed to local reporters this was indeed the case. The church is presently serving as a Salvation Army aid distribution site.

Bethel Global Response has also deployed “Ash Out” teams, in which hundreds of volunteers help residents sift through the ashes of their homes to recover any valuables.

“We cannot begin to describe the feeling of helping someone who lost their home find something that they thought was gone forever. This is part of what it means to live like Jesus — to link hands together as we move forward,” the church said on its Facebook page.

Map of the Carr fire perimeter as of July 31 2018 and locations of damaged infrastructure. Click here for an enlarged image. (PHOTO: LA Times)

Community coming together
Sources in Redding told CP Tuesday that the community is coming together wonderfully in the recovery efforts. From the Hearth Cafe, a popular eatery in town, has announced that it would be personal cooks for those families who lost their homes in the fire. Several announcements on the restaurant’s Facebook page read: “If you’ve lost your home in the Carr fire, we are your kitchen. #weareyourkitchen.” They will be serving these individuals free food for the month of August.

Bill Johnson, senior leader of Bethel Church, said Sunday that they have been thrilled to see “incredible cooperation” in the city as Bethel volunteers, other churches as well as various organisations have stepped up to help.

“What is happening really is a sign in the natural of a display of God’s power being released across the city,” he told the congregation.

“This destruction was not caused by a loving Father. As I mentioned last week, you heard the voice of the Devourer for several days, you’re about to hear the voice of the Restorer for months on end. God is going to restore at such a higher level, a greater place than anything we’ve seen happen.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Carr Fire is ranked the sixth most destructive fire in California’s history, seven people have died because of it, and the blaze is 47% contained, reports say. The fire began on July 23 as a result of a vehicular failure near Whiskeytown National Park and has devoured almost 170 000 acres and 1 599 structures, according to CalFire, the state’s fire agency.




Trump hits Turkish officials with sanctions over Pastor Brunson’s detainment

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, on July 25, 2018. (PHOTO: AP Photo/Emre Tazegul via Times of Israel).

Originally published in CBN News

President Donald Trump is following through on threats to sanction Turkey for the arrest and detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson.

“At the president’s direction, the Department of Treasury is sanctioning Turkey’s minister of justice and minister of interior, both of whom played leading roles in the arrest and detention of Pastor Brunson,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Wednesday.

The sanctions will freeze the US assets of Turkey’s minister of justice, Abdulhamit Gul, and its minister of interior, Suleyman Soylu. The penalties also bar any US transactions with the two men.

“Any property or interest in property of both ministers within US jurisdiction is blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them,” Sanders said.

President Trump called Brunson an “innocent man of faith” who “should be released immediately,” noting that the missionary pastor is “suffering greatly.”

The 50-year-old was arrested in December 2016 and later charged with links to a failed plot to overthrow the Turkish government – an accusation he denies.

His supporters claim that he’s a political prisoner being held as a bargaining chip by Turkey, which is seeking the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric blamed for a failed coup.

Brunson’s next hearing is on October 12.




Victory for pro-life sidewalk counsellors

Marilyn Nevarez, left, member of Church at the Rock in Brooklyn, counsels with a woman outside an abortion clinic in Queens, NY. (PHOTO: Thomas More Society)

Originally published in Baptist Press

Pro-life sidewalk counsellors may continue praying, preaching and handing out literature in front of a Queens, NY, abortion centre, a federal judge ruled on July 20.

The case began last June when former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit, charging the counsellors with harassment, physical obstruction and threats of violence against women seeking abortions at Choices Medical Clinic and the volunteers escorting them to the door. Schneiderman’s office carried on with the lawsuit after his resignation in May over sexual assault allegations.

“To the contrary, the record as a whole suggests that the defendants have endeavoured to toe the line between lawful and unlawful conduct,” US District Judge Carol Bagley Amon wrote in a 103-page opinion. She refused to grant a preliminary injunction against the 13 counsellors.

“We thank the Lord that our life-affirming work to counsel women considering abortion was upheld in federal court,” Kenneth Griepp, senior pastor at the Church at the Rock in Brooklyn, said in a statement. He noted that the group of sidewalk counsellors “will continue to offer compassion to those who see abortion as the only way out of an unexpected pregnancy.”

Martin Cannon, attorney with the Thomas More Society, argued in court that the suit violated the sidewalk counsellors’ First Amendment rights. He said the state’s accusations of force or threats of force were based on incidents initiated by the facility’s volunteer escorts. When a counsellor struck up a conversation with a woman on her way to the door, a group of escorts would crowd the woman away from the pro-life advocate. That produced incidental brushing of shoulders and other interactions, but not harassment.

Thomas More Society special counsel Martin Cannon (left) represented Pastor Kenneth Griepp of the Church at the Rock. (PHOTO: Thomas More Society)

“The sidewalk counsellor is still trying to call out to her, maybe trying to hand her a pamphlet. That’s what’s supposed to be this harassment,” Cannon said. The pro-lifers, he said, “are out there just to offer assistance to women. And it’s not just empty words. They have little babies running around in their church and in their homes that have sprung from that sidewalk. They really put their money where their mouth is, and they don’t harass people.” Cannon added, “The case was an abuse of the rights of peaceful New York citizens.”

Amon tossed out much of the state’s evidence and several testimonies, calling them “unreliable.” The lawsuit claimed that counsellors Ranville Thomas and Ronald George, both affiliated with the Church at the Rock, had threatened volunteer escorts with death. The attorney general’s office quoted them saying, “You never know when you’re going to die.”

But “after years of sharing the sidewalk with Thomas and R George,” Amon wrote, the abortion centre escorts understood that the counsellors were urging them to repent, not making threats, and were not genuinely intimidated. The judge attributed the shoulder-bumping and jostling caught on camera to the “escorts often outnumbering the protesters two to one” on the sidewalk.

The state could appeal the decision, but Cannon said it will prove difficult because Amon ruled based on a lack of evidence rather than law.

“Planned Parenthood nationwide, all of the pro-abortion attorney generals nationwide were watching this case,” he said. “If Schniederman had succeeded, you’d see these brazen efforts at distorting law pop up against counsellors on the sidewalk everywhere in the country. So it’s a very significant case.”




Hopes dashed for release of US pastor held in Turkey

Pastor Andrew Brunson, pictured in January.

Originally published in World Watch Monitor

Hopes were dashed for the imminent release of an American pastor jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges as a Turkish court today ordered him to remain behind bars.

The court scheduled Andrew Brunson’s next hearing for October 12.

Some observers had believed that Turkey might release Brunson, who has been detained for nearly two years. The pastor of a small church in Izmir, he is accused of having links with supporters of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is blamed for the failed 2016 coup against President Erdogan, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Brunson denies all the charges.

Brunson’s supporters disappointed at outcome
Today, the court heard testimony from four witnesses: three for the prosecution, and one for the defence. Brunson’s lawyer’s request for his first choice defence witness was bypassed, so another witness appeared. Brunson’s supporters were disappointed at today’s outcome, having been encouraged by recent talks at the diplomatic level.

As the Al-Monitor news website noted this week, Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan were “all smiles as they were photographed exchanging fist bumps” at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels. That meeting was followed by a 15-minute phonecall on Monday (July 16), during which Brunson’s case was discussed, according to the Turkish pro-government daily newspaper, Sabah.

In April, Trump tweeted in support of Brunson, saying he was “being persecuted in Turkey for no reason”.

However, a former opposition member of the Turkish parliament told Al-Monitor that powerful forces are working against Brunson. Aykan Erdemir, now a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defence of Democracies, told Al-Monitor: “Both the pro-government media and the prosecutor’s office have dug themselves deep in framing Brunson as a terrorist, and it will be a challenge for them to pull a U-turn.”

He added that Erdogan’s nationalist allies “have a proven track record of anti-Christian and anti-missionary prejudice and would not welcome Brunson’s release.”

In late June, two US senators, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, met President Erdoğan in Ankara after visiting Pastor Brunson in prison in Aliağa, Izmir. The pair called for the US to enact sanctions against Turkey over Brunson’s detention. According to Al-Monitor, the senators had “not minced their words” in their meeting with Erdogan, and believed he may not have been “properly briefed” about the seriousness of the sanctions, but he “now understood”.

Scathing appraisal of proceedings
After Brunson’s previous hearing, in Aliaga in May, Sandra Jolley, Vice Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, released a scathing appraisal of the way the proceedings were carried out. After attending the 11-hour session, during which the judge dismissed all of Brunson’s witnesses, she said in a statement:

“We leave the courthouse with serious concerns. Today’s 11 hours of proceedings were dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and secret witnesses, but no real evidence to speak of. Upon these rests a man’s life.

“Worse still, the judge’s decision at the conclusion of today’s hearing to dismiss all of the witnesses called by Pastor Brunson’s defence without listening to a single minute of their testimony is simply unconscionable.”

The pastor and his Turkish lawyer finally learned the specific allegations on which his charges of alleged espionage and terrorism are based, most of them from “secret witnesses”, only a month or so before his first court hearing. The prosecution has demanded 35 years in prison if Brunson is convicted of these charges, all of which he denied in a six-hour defence before Izmir’s Second Criminal Court at his hearing on April 16.

Bill Campbell, Pastor of Hendersonville (NC) Presbyterian Church, attended the hearing in Aliaga, Turkey.

“As usual, there was much spurious testimony against Andrew,” Campbell said via encrypted text message following adjournment of the proceedings. “Andrew’s testimony was absolutely powerful. He presented the gospel with confidence and defended himself with boldness. The court allowed for the first time a favourable witness, and one who was to speak against him actually spoke in Andrew’s favour. It felt like they had decided the outcome before the trial.”

Andrew Brunson timeline
1993 – present

US Protestant pastor Andrew Brunson involved in legally recognised church-related Christian ministry in Turkey.

2016:

July 15 — Deadly military coup attempt against Turkish government fails; Ankara blames network of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen for coup, seeks Gulen’s extradition from US.

July 20 — Turkish President declares state of emergency (still in force), suspending certain judicial practices; 110 000 public officials dismissed, 35 000 Gulen suspects under arrest, awaiting trial.

October 7 — Brunson detained with wife Norine, in Alsancak police station, Izmir; told he would be deported within 15 days as “threat to national security”.

October 19 — Norine Brunson released from police detention.

October 20 — Andrew Brunson moved to Harmandali Detention Centre (outskirts of Izmir), placed in solitary confinement.

December 9 — Summoned (with lawyer) to closed hearing at Izmir 2nd Criminal Court. Charges changed to “membership in an [unnamed] armed terrorist organisation”. Placed under formal arrest in overcrowded group cell at Aliaga Sakran Prison (45 miles from Izmir).

December 20 — US Senator James Lankford meets Turkish Justice Ministry officials in Ankara, the capital.

December 29 — Izmir court rejects lawyer’s appeal to release Brunson.

2017:

January 3 — Unnamed senior Turkish official to Wall Street Journal says claim that Brunson’s arrest related to his religious affiliation is “ludicrous”.

February 15 — 78 US Congress members write to Turkish President Erdogan, urging him to release Brunson.

March 9 — Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim tells USA Today it’s a “nonsensical” idea that Brunson held hostage until Turkish cleric Gulen’s extradition from US; says pastor’s case could be “accelerated”.

March 28 — Brunson sends appeal letter to US President Trump.

March 30 — US Secretary of State Tillerson meets Norine Brunson in Ankara.

May 15 — American Centre for Law & Justice files petition to UN Human Rights Council for Brunson’s release.

May 16 — Trump asks Erdogan in person during Washington DC visit to release Brunson.

Late May-June — Flurry of Turkish media allegations against Brunson link him with Gulen movement, armed PKK separatists, CIA, “missionary” activities.

May 30 — Erdogan promises “retaliation” vs countries holding Gulen movement suspects.

July 7 — Washington Post reports Turkey’s swap offer to exchange Brunson for release of millionaire Turkish-Iranian prisoner Reza Zarrab, facing trial in New York for evading US-led Iran sanctions.

July 17 — Brunson moved to shared cell in Kiriklar Maximum Security Prison in Izmir’s Buca district.

July 24 — New charges of “espionage and insurgency” against Brunson reported in Turkish press.

August 24 — Izmir judge initiates video conference call with Brunson and his lawyer; pastor informed his official criminal charges are “spying and insurgency”.

August 25 — New “state of emergency” Executive Order No. 694 authorises Erdogan to arrange to swap Turkish citizen prisoners for foreigners jailed in Turkey.

September 28 — Erdogan publicly declares swap offer of Brunson for Gulen’s extradition.

October 5 — Two representatives of US Commission for International Religious Freedom visit Brunson at Kiriklar Prison.

November 15 — Brunson’s daughter Jacqueline addresses US Helsinki Commission hearing, Washington DC.

2018:

January 3 — Brunson’s 50th birthday.

January 11 — Erdogan vows no extraditions to US until Gulen returned from US to Turkey.

January 23 — US delegation visiting Ankara raises Brunson’s “wrongful detention”.

March 9 — Jacqueline Brunson addresses UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva.

March 13 — Written indictment against Brunson leaked to Turkish press.

March 16 — Indictment accepted by Izmir 2nd Criminal Court; first trial date set for April 17.

March 26 — Brunson’s North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis visits him at Kiriklar Prison.

April 17 — First trial hearing: Brunson denies all charges, three prosecution witnesses testify; observed by US Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Senator Thom Tillis.`




‘Greeneville Awakening’ tent revival enters 13th week

Originally published by CBN News

As the #GreenevilleAwakening spiritual revival enters its 13th week in Northeastern Tennessee, United States, more than 250 people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, the evangelist leading the services told CBN News.

Evangelist DR Harrison said people from 10 states have made their way to the big tent near Greeneville, Tennessee

“Tonight an entire family from Ohio got saved!! PTL!” Harrison exclaimed Saturday in a text to CBN News.

Organisers held a “Youth Explosion Rally” on Saturday, with young people ranging in age from 9 to 22, coming to the altar to receive salvation through Jesus Christ, Sheldon Livesay, a freelance writer reporting on the revival, shared with CBN News.

Livesay spoke with local residents who have attended the revival every night so far.

“We should be tired, but we’re not,” one local attendee told him. “We are more excited now than ever before due to the miracles we are seeing and prayers being answered.”

The freelance writer reported that young people, middle-aged and older adults are giving their hearts to Jesus.

“In today’s society, churches see youth come to Christ in their teens, but national statistics suggest rarely do adults, especially older adult(s) make decisions for Christ,” Livesay wrote to CBN News.

“Yet, that is what this revival is producing, people in their 40’s up to their 80’s are attending and making decisions they have neglected all their lives,” he continued.

Livesay shared powerful testimonies from the event.

“Nick Bailey, another organising pastor leads music every night,” he wrote. “Saturday Nick wept and shouted for joy as his dad walked the sawdust aisle accepting Christ.”

The journalist also told CBN News about a miraculous story involving a man named Rex, whose wife faithfully prayed for him for more than 40 years.

“Rex, a stately looking man, 80-years-old with (a) white long beard was known by local residents as ‘Mountain Man,'” Livesay wrote. “Rex came four nights raising his hand (that) he had never made a decision to accept Christ.”

“One night after an extended invitation, Rex pushed through his aisle towards the front crying: ‘I can’t take it anymore – God save me!'” Livesay continued.

Harrison said he originally was scheduled to preach a one-week revival beginning on April 15 at the Greystone Freewill Baptist Church. He said in week three, the crowds increased to standing room only.

Harrison said he and the pastor began to pray because they were running out of room at the church, and God provided a large tent through a North Carolina man.

The evangelist told CBN News the #GreenevilleAwakening is a multi-denominational revival.

“That’s our prayer that revival would just spread across America,” he shared.

Harrison said this revival in Tennessee reminds him of the Burlington, North Carolina Revival of 2016, where both he and his wife accepted Christ.

He said Jesus set him free of alcoholism and pornography addiction and rescued his wife from a life of being a stripper.

“When God came on the scene, he took it all away, and we give God all the glory for what he’s done in our lives,” Harrison said.

“And I can’t praise him enough – I wish I could shout it to the entire world that if Jesus can save a drunk like me, and if Jesus can save a stripper if you will, like my wife was – if he can change our lives, he can change anybody’s life!” he exclaimed.

And now, he told CBN News, lives are being changed supernaturally at the #GreenevilleAwakening as well.

“Just how God has just moved and how he’s speaking to hearts and how he’s putting marriages back together and changing lives, and no man can make that happen,” he explained.

“No man can work hard enough to make that happen,” Harrison continued. “It’s just a God-thing from the start to the finish. It’s all God.”

Revival services are held on Monday through Friday, starting at 7 pm, at the big tent located at 1005 Quaker Knob Road, Chuckey, Tennessee.




President Buhari, please stop the Muslim slaughter of Nigerian Christians

People react as a truck carries the coffins of people killed by the Fulani herdsmen, in Makurdi, Nigeria January 11 2018. (PHOTO: Reuters)

In this hard-hitting article Dr Michael Brown, a prominent US radio host and Christian leader, challenges the Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari on “religious cleansing” in Nigeria and challenges the West to take action.

Originally published in The Christian Post

Babies are being hacked to death. Children kidnapped. Women raped and savaged. Young and old burned alive. Houses destroyed, livestock plundered. Muslim herdsmen are massacring their Christian neighbours while the Nigerian media misreports and the Nigerian government refuses to act. Some even claim the government is complicit in these attacks.

President Buhari, as the watching, worldwide community, we appeal to you to act decisively and put an end to this horror. Right now, sir, many believe that there is blood on your hands. Please show the world that this is not true.

While these Nigerian Christians weep, the West remains in the dark.

A Christian colleague texted me from Nigeria on June 25, “Did yesterday’s killing of over 200 in plateau state make the news? Babies chopped to death. Charred bodies loaded into trucks and buried in mass graves. Many missing including my host’s friend. Herdsman to blame. Weeping here.”

I could only shake my head in sadness. Not a word about the slaughter in our media.

While these Nigerian Christians weep, the West remains in the dark.

Five days later, on June 30, I received an email Prof Gerald McDermott, a respected educator and Anglican Church leader. He sent me a series of his recent blog posts from Nigeria, where he has been ministering in recent days.

“Many police and army officers, we are told, want to search aggressively for the bad guys but do not get permission from their superiors.” — Prof McDermott

Here is a sampling of his blogs from Jos, a city in the Middle Belt of the country. These are posted here with the encouragement and support of Prof McDermott.

June 25: “Jos has been the epicentre of conflict between the Islamic and Christian civilisations in Africa. Anglican Archbishop Ben Kwashi, revered by Christians and Muslims alike here, had his church burned a few years ago by Muslims. Thugs came to kill him but savaged his wife instead, leaving her near dead.

“Christians here complain that the government does not do enough to fight the terrorists, who are divided between Fulani and Boko Haram. The president of Nigeria is both Muslim and Fulani, so Christians here wonder if that is why the government does nothing. Many police and army officers, we are told, want to search aggressively for the bad guys but do not get permission from their superiors.”

June 27: “The Christians in Jos live in fear. Last week terrorists targeted several villages just outside Jos. All were well-known as Christian villages. The houses were razed, crops destroyed, and people burned alive. Their charred corpses were heaped in piles of blackened bodies.”

This is absolutely outrageous.

But it gets worse:

“Christians here are incensed that the Nigerian president is telling the world that the explanation for this brutality is conflict between Fulani herdsman and farmers. As a Nigerian headline put it, ‘Bukhari [the president] says 300 Fulani cows were stolen.’ In other words, the Fulani herdsmen retaliated because their cows were stolen.”

“Christians here are incensed that the Nigerian president is telling the world that the explanation for this brutality is conflict between Fulani herdsman and farmers.” — Prof McDermott

But reliable reports on the ground refute this.

“The Fulani herdsman, who are Muslims, have lived in peace with their Christian neighbours for decades. Also, they cried out ‘Allahu akbar [Allah is great]!’ as they swooped in upon these villages with death and terror.

“The real story, Christians tell me, is that Islamists from other countries (like Niger and possibly Saudi Arabia) have radicalised previously-peaceful Muslim herdsmen. And the government, which is controlled by a Muslim administration, is taking advantage of this to consolidate its hold on this Middle Belt of Nigeria. Right now Jos is majority-Christian. But if the government can use these radicals to drive Christians out, Jos can become a majority-Muslim area.”

And what does the world media say about this?

“The world media is reporting this as an ‘ethnic clash.’ Some call it ethnic cleansing. But it is really religious cleansing. As Anglican Archbishop Ben Kwashi . . . told us yesterday, a mere ‘clash’ does not murder women and children.”

“The world media is reporting this as an ‘ethnic clash.’ Some call it ethnic cleansing. But it is really religious cleansing.” — Prof McDermott

And note that Archbishop Kwashi is not some marginal player. He was just elected the general secretary of the Global Anglican Futures Conference. He himself has been threatened with death, his cattle have been stolen, and his own wife raped and left half-dead.

June 28: “Just a few days ago 300 Christians were killed when Muslim terrorists targeted several Christian villages on the outskirts of Jos.

“Jos has always been mostly Christian and has been coveted by Muslims for generations. It is one of the best places in Nigeria to live, and has always resisted Muslim encroachments. Now, with a Muslim president and Muslims in control of the army and every branch of government, Muslims feel emboldened. . . .

“More disturbing to Christians, who are still the majority of not only Jos but also Nigeria as a whole, is that top government and army offices are infiltrated by Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorist movement that has slain thousands of Christians and several years ago kidnapped hundreds of Christian girls. Some have never been returned. When President Obama offered intelligence and technological help to Bukhari to find and destroy the Boko Haram kidnappers, Bukhari refused the help. Knowledgeable Christians here tell me that Bukhari himself has ties with Boko Haram.”

Can we sit idly by while our brothers and sisters suffer such unspeakable atrocities?

Then this closing appeal:

“Only international pressure on Bukhari will change anything. So if you are reading this and can get a message to your government leaders in the States or UK, please do so.

“And pray for the Christians in Jos. They covet your prayers.”

To each one reading this article, I beg of you to do three things: 1) Share this article with others and do your best to bring it to the attention of your national government. 2) Pray for these persecuted Christians, who are standing strong in the midst of hellish attacks. Their dedication rebukes our spiritual complacency in the West. 3) Pray that President Buhari and his administration would do the right thing and that these Fulani herdsmen would come to saving faith.

Can we sit idly by while our brothers and sisters suffer such unspeakable atrocities?




Pro-life centres can’t be forced to advertise abortion services, Supreme Court rules

The Supreme Court of the United States as arguments for NIFLA v Becerra are heard inside on March 20 2018. (PHOTO: The Christian Post)

Originally published in The Christian Post

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a California law that compels pro-life pregnancy centres to advertise abortion services is unconstitutional.

In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas and released Tuesday, the high court ruled in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v Becerra that the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act “unduly burdens protected speech.”

“The unlicensed notice imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from California’s informational interest,” wrote Justice Thomas.

“California has offered no justification that the notice plausibly furthers. It targets speakers, not speech, and imposes an unduly burdensome disclosure requirement that will chill their protected speech.”

Thomas also wrote that the law not only forced pro-life centres to promote abortion, but to do so while diminishing their own message on pregnancy care.

“As California conceded at oral argument, a billboard for an unlicensed facility that says ‘Choose Life’ would have to surround that two-word statement with a 29-word statement from the government, in as many as 13 different languages,” continued Thomas.

“In this way, the unlicensed notice drowns out the facility’s own message. More likely, the ‘detail required’ by the unlicensed notice ‘effectively rules out’ the possibility of having such a billboard in the first place.”

Thomas was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a dissent and was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan.

In 2015, California passed Assembly Bill 775 or the FACT Act. The law mandated that all licensed pregnancy health centres, among other things, include a sign that refers patients to abortion clinics.

“The notice shall state: ‘California has public programmes that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women,'” read AB 775.

Failure to comply with the law could result in a $500 fine on the first offense and then a $1 000 fine for each offense thereafter.

In October 2015, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a complaint in district court against California over the law on behalf of a few California-based pregnancy care centres.

In October 2016, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, agreeing with a lower court decision that the FACT Act “survives any level of scrutiny” and “does not discriminate based on viewpoint.”

“Instead, the Act applies to all licensed and unlicensed facilities, regardless of what, if any, objections they may have to certain family planning services,” read the Ninth Circuit opinion.

In March 2017, the ADF filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court. Last November, the high court agreed to hear the appeal, with oral arguments being held in March.

“Even if you are not pro-life, do you want the government setting up its own advertising mandates for non-profit organisations and then punishing any who disagree?” stated ADF CEO Michael Farris following oral arguments.

“The First Amendment does not allow the government to force you to speak its message. That’s especially true when you are pursuing a religious mission of simply providing resources and support to women free of charge.”




Christian law school loses religious freedom fight at Canadian Supreme Court

Originally published in The Catholic Herald

The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that law societies can refuse to give accreditation to a proposed Christian law school over claims that it discriminates against LGBT people.

Students at the evangelical Trinity Western University must agree to abstain from sexual activity outside marriage – which the Supreme Court ruled was discriminatory.

Trinity Western had proposed opening a law school in 2012 and sought accreditation. They received it from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the province’s Ministry of Advanced Education, but law societies saw Trinity Western’s views on sexuality as discriminatory against the LGBT population.

A high court in British Columbia ruled that Christian schools could not be denied accreditation due to their beliefs. Two groups from Ontario and British Columbia appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that law societies can refuse to license graduates from Trinity Western.

Russell Brown and Suzanne Cote were the only two justices who ruled in favour of the law school.

Approval of [Trinity Western University’s] proposed law school would not represent a state preference for evangelical Christianity, but rather a recognition of the state’s duty… to accommodate diverse religious beliefs without scrutinizing their content,” the justices wrote in their dissent.

ADF International, who represented multiple groups in the case, argued that religious institutions should be allowed to adhere to their own beliefs.

We are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Paul Coleman, the group’s executive director. “Freedom of religion and association is not only essential for faith-based organizations, but for the functioning of democracy itself. Following this ruling, that vital freedom is now in jeopardy.”

Trinity Western released a statement on June 15 saying they will be considering how to move forward in light of the ruling.