Author Archives: grelanmuse

Texas AG files brief urging the Supreme Court to protect prayer at public meetings

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Special to Inside The Pew

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and a coalition of 22 states are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the practice of lawmaker-led prayer at public meetings. The case, Lund vs. Rowan County, focuses upon a North Carolina county’s practice of opening its meeting with prayer offered by its commissioners.  The coalition’s friend-of-the-court brief supports the county.

The coalition filed a brief Nov. 16 asking the Supreme Court to hear arguments and reaffirm the constitutionality of the practice. Such a decision would clear confusion among the lower courts. The states argue that lawmaker-led prayer is woven into the fabric of American society. The practice also is fully consistent with the Constitution and our nation’s long tradition of non-coercive expressions of faith in the public sector.

“Lawmaker-led prayer has existed across the country for more than a century,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Opening legislative meetings in prayer has [sic] consistently involved lawmakers themselves exercising their own religious liberty.”

The brief further cites examples across the nation of states, counties and municipalities that open meetings with a government official’s prayer. It argues many governing bodies cannot afford to hire a full-time chaplain or recruit volunteer clergy.

West Virginia led the amicus brief in support of free expression of faith. States joining West Virginia and Texas were Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin, along with the Governor of Kentucky.

 

 

Wooding: ‘Persecution has finally come to America’

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International journalist’s comments came after the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, TX (ANS – Nov. 6, 2017) – While ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, was speaking on Nov. 5 at a Southern California church about persecution around the world on the occasion of the 2017 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, a rifle-wielding shooter burst into the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people – including children.

Wooding, 76, had been sharing with the congregation at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, Calif., about persecution that has been taking place in countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, and North Korea, when the alleged gunman, who has been identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, according to law enforcement officials, went on a shooting spree and was later found dead in his vehicle.

“When I heard the news, I knew that persecution has finally come to America,” he said. “For so long, terrible atrocities against believers have beendan-wooding-hosanna-christian-fellowship taking place in different parts of the world, but now it is here, and I wonder if we are ready to deal with it.”

Law enforcement officials have said the alleged shooter was formerly a member of the United States Air Force who was court-martialed with a dishonorable discharge for assaulting his wife and child, according to an Air Force spokeswoman, and who had a domestic dispute with his in-laws who at times have attended the church in Sutherland Springs.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are in Sutherland Springs, Texas, following the horrifying and deadly shooting rampage during a Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church.

“The evil at work in this tragedy is incomprehensible,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “It’s impossible to understand what could drive a young man to do something so inhumanly cruel. While we don’t have all the answers, we will do everything we can to comfort the grieving and give peace to those in despair as we bring the hope of Jesus.”

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared, “My heart is heavy for the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who have lost more than 20 of their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parents, and friends today in this senseless act of brutality. My prayers are with this community and church.”

Even as the shooting developed in Texas on Sunday, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains remained deployed in New York City following last week’s terror attack which killed eight people on a bike path. Both efforts follow closely on the heels of the group’s ministry in Las Vegas following the concert attack, which killed 58 people.

Among religious leaders who have spoken out in response to yesterday’s shooting, are Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), who has been working for four decades to build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews, and who called the deadly attack on a church near San Antonio on Sunday “terror” that seeks to undo decades of growing interfaith goodwill and return religions to past centuries of conflict.

“Terror that penetrates into a house of prayer is particularly evil and cruel, and seeks to undo decades of bridge building by and between people of faith,” Eckstein said. “Sadly, there are people who want to turn us back toward old circles of hatred.”

Eckstein added that The Fellowship was “shocked and sickened by this evil act, and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

“Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims should join together in condemning such attacks and work together to prevent further violence,” he said.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd, president of the National Day of Prayer said: “When attacks of hate and terror happen in our places of worship, they shake us to the core. We must beg God for His mighty hand of protection on our nation and the world. May God be with the victims of this shooting. Only God is our refuge in these times of trouble.”

Dr. Floyd is the senior pastor of Cross Church and president of the National Day of Prayer, which each year mobilizes millions of Americans to unified public prayer for the United States of America. He’s the immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, said: “Today’s horrific church shooting is every pastor’s worst nightmare and is proof of the reality of evil. Although the Bible never diminishes the pain of evil, it does promise that one day when Christ returns, evil will be defeated forever. Until that time, we pray that the members of First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, will experience the promise of Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the broken-hearted.’”

Feature image: Mourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Darren Abate/The Associated Press). Left photo, Dan Wooding speaking at Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, Calif. (ASSIST News).

Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister, and an award-winning local cable-TV program host/producer who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. You may follow Michael on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelIrelandMediaMissionary.com, and on Twitter at @Michael_ASSIST. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael  

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, SiriusXM partner to launch channel

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Special to Inside The Pew

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced its partnership with SiriusXM for the launch of “The Billy Grahambilly graham station on sirius radio Channel,” a limited-run channel headlined by world-renowned Christian evangelist, Billy Graham.

“The Billy Graham Channel” debuted Monday, Nov. 6 and will run through Friday, Nov. 17, at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on channel 145 on satellite and via streaming.

Launching in celebration of the acclaimed preacher’s 99th birthday, SiriusXM listeners nationwide will have access to the preacher’s timeless, inspiring messages from his seven decades of ministry.

“On Nov. 7, Billy Graham celebrates his 99th birthday and we, along with SiriusXM, thought a channel featuring some of Mr. Graham’s most memorable messages would be a fitting way to mark the occasion. ‘The Billy Graham Channel’ is the kind of gift Mr. Graham would greatly appreciate: it helps point others to the hope found in Jesus Christ,” said Jim Kirkland, executive director of Audio Media at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

“Billy Graham has inspired millions of Americans with his uplifting messages of hope, courage, love, and forgiveness,” said Dave Gorab, vice president and general manager of Talk Programming at SiriusXM. “We are honored to be part of Billy Graham’s 99th birthday celebration by bringing this limited engagement channel to SiriusXM listeners coast to coast.”

In addition to the catalog of Graham’s motivational messages and sermons, “The Billy Graham Channel” will also include personal reflections on the pastor’s life by family and friends including Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, and his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz. The channel will also showcase remarks from Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Born in 1918, evangelist Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Since the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that vaulted Mr. Graham into the public eye, he has led hundreds of thousands to make personal decisions to live for Christ, which is the main mission of his ministry.

In addition to the SiriusXM partnership, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s audio ministry, Billy Graham Radio, accomplishes the mission of the association – to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world – by producing a number of online and broadcast programs. The newest program in the ministry’s line-up is GPS: God. People. Stories. Each weekly GPS podcast features an inspiring story of how God has worked in someone’s life. Decision Minute is a one-minute feature that airs on more than 600 radio stations. To listen to the programs, visit www.billygraham.org/radio.

 

Don’t buy the lie!

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By Marian Jordan Ellis
Inside The Pew

A few years back, I fell in love with a pair of jeans at a local department store. They were fabulous! The perfect cut, color, and length (and if you’re 5 foot, 11 inches like me, you know that is hard to do.) I adored everything about them … except one thing, the price tag.

Since I was on a budget, I would often go try them on and try to justify the price tag.  I told a friend about my dilemma, and she recommended I look online. Back then I hadn’t shopped much online (this was before my UPS guy knew me on a first-name basis) so I asked my friend where to search, and she recommended eBay.

A few hours of searching later, and I found them – the same exact jeans. Brand new! With tags! And get this, only a fraction of the price! Fast forward, a few days later, to when the little brown package arrived at my doorstep. I ripped open that package like a kid on Christmas morning.

Holding them up like Simba from The Lion King, I welcomed them to my little closet tribe. But as my hands wrapped around the denim, an alarm bell went off in my head.

“Something’s not right here?!”

The fabric was stiff… not soft and luxurious like the jeans at the store.

The color was off…and rubbed off on my hands.

“What in the world?”

The too-good-to-be-true deal was just that, too good to be true. I’d bought a lie. I was the sucker!

Don’t feel too badly for me, because this taught me a valuable lesson about how we can recognize the difference between a lie and the truth. The way I recognized that the jeans were fake was because I knew the real thing. I’d held in my hands the real deal. I knew what the true cut, color, and fabric was and when confronted with a fake, I could easily recognize it.

Jesus called our enemy the “Father of Lies.” His mode of operation from the very beginning has been deception, and he is still at work today – aiming sex-and-the-city-undercovered to deceive us about our identity, destinies, power and worthy. I pray this lesson brings freedom to many reading this today. So often we are duped by the enemy to buy lies about ourselves but we don’t know that we’ve been deceived.

When we buy into these lies, it affects everything about us, our self-worth, relationships, callings and experience of the Christian life. And since we behave how we believe, we end up in all kinds of messes, simply because at some point, we bought a lie.

I know this one from experience. I was once the girl who severely struggled with insecurity and feelings of rejection. I believed the lie that my value was based on people’s opinions or my own performance. If I was pretty enough, smart enough or successful enough, then I would earn love. This lie kept me in a prison of fear, people pleasing and self-hatred.  This pattern of thinking was so ingrained in me that I had no idea that I believed it. This was just my normal, relationship drama, roller coaster emotions, and disappointment.  I had no idea that everything I was feeling and experiencing was based on the lies I was believing.

Then, something powerful happened, I discovered the truth!

After living the “Sex and the City” life for most of my college years and young 20s, I was redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ. When I fell in love with Jesus, the next thing that happened was I fell in love with His word, the Bible. I would sit for hours and read the scripture. I discovered that these are not just words on a page, this is the living, breathing word of God. As I dove into God’s word, I found a surprising result – I began to change from the inside out. After all, it was Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

As I immersed myself in God’s word, I began to experience real freedom. The reason? I finally knew the truth. And by knowing the truth, I could recognize the lies of the enemy when they landed on my doorstep.

As we renew our minds with the truth, we begin to see the world and ourselves differently. It is my prayer that you will dive deep into God’s word. Allow the truth to expose any deeply held lies you may believe about yourself with God’s truth and experience the freedom and abundance that is yours in Jesus.

Photos: Top, Marian Jordan Ellis. Bottom: Ellis’ Sex and the City Uncovered.

Marian Jordan Ellis is the author of “Sex and the City Uncovered” and her new book, “Stand,” releases August 2017. She is the founder of Redeemed Girl Ministries. You can follow her on social media @marianjordan.

160 Christians arrested during Eritrea’s fresh crackdown on Christianity

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By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service

ASMARA, ERITREA – Human rights groups have reported that the number of Christians arrested in the Eastern African nation of Eritrea since the government began its most recent crackdown against Christians in May has reached at least 160.

Sources who spoke with the international religious persecution advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide have put the number of Christians detained in raids in the capital of Asmara and seven other towns at about 170, according to a press release shared with The Christian Post.

Meanwhile, Release International, an organization that monitors and reports on Christian persecution in numerous nations across the globe, reported on Wednesday that around 160 Christians have been arrested, according to Christian Post reporter Samuel Smith.

The Christian Post says that in May, it was reported that nearly 100 Christians were detained, including 49 evangelicals who were arrested at a wedding party on May 21.

The outlet says the authoritarian government’s recent crackdown on Christians comes 15 years after the government closed many non-sanctionedmap-of-eritrea churches and banned religious practices not affiliated with state-recognized denominations such as the Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran and Orthodox Christian churches and Sunni Islam.

“Worryingly, this latest phase has been described to Christian Solidarity Worldwide as ‘unprecedented in its intensity and rough treatment,'” CSW said.

CSW, which recently earned accreditation with the United Nations, notes that among the 160-plus Christians arrested are 33 women who are being held a Nakura, “a notoriously harsh prison island in the Dahlak Archipelago that was created by Italian colonialists in the late 19th Century to crush political dissent.”

Most of the 33 women being held at Nakura are reported to be young mothers who have left approximately 50 children without parents to care for them.

A local source told Release International that 12 children are actually in prison with their parents, with the youngest child believed to be about 2 months old.

“Unbelievably more than 30 children have been left without parents or guardians and the security police are monitoring them to make sure they do not get support from the Christian community,” the Release International report states.

CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement that the increase in Christian arrests is a “clear illustration that the persecution of unrecognized faith groups in Eritrea is continuing.”

“Moreover, the detention of these women, many of whom are young mothers, in a notoriously harsh facility simply on account of their religion or belief, is unwarranted, deplorable and in violation of Eritrea’s obligations under international law,” Thomas said.

According to Release International’s website, whole families are being arrested during this most recent crackdown on faith. The organization states that in the past, most arrested Christians were detained at Bible studies or Christian events. But now, “believers are being arrested at their homes.”

“Security officials accompanied by an Orthodox priest are turning up at homes and questioning people over their religious affiliation,” Release International explained. “All except Muslims, Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran are liable for arrest.”

Eritrea ranks as the 10th worst nation in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.

An Open Doors fact sheet states: “The government’s attempt to control all religious institutions was particularly evident in the deposing and replacing of the Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC) [Abune Antonios] in 2007, and he has remained under house arrest ever since. The EOC itself persecutes those who leave the EOC and become Evangelical or Pentecostal believers.”

CSW’s Thomas praised the United Nations Human Rights Council for passing a resolution earlier this month that extended the mandate of the special rapporteur on Eritrea for one year.

“Obviously, there has been no improvement in Eritrea’s human rights situation, and CSW warmly welcomes the renewal of the special rapporteur’s mandate, which will ensure continued human rights monitoring and follow up of Eritrea’s implementation of recommendations from the special rapporteur’s reports and those of the COIE,” he said in a statement.

“It is time to prioritize accountability for human rights violations; thus we reiterate our call for the international community to facilitate justice for victims of atrocity crimes, and to maintain pressure on the Eritrean regime until every prisoner of conscience is freed without precondition.”

 

Photos: Featured image: Sunset Over Enda Mariam Orthodox Cathedral, Asmara, Eritrea (Eric Lafforgue Photography); Eritrean Christians worship in prison (courtesy of Barnabas Fund); Map of Eritrea

A Matter of Faith: Understanding the paradox of freedom

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By Carol Round
Special to Inside The Pew

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” – Galatians 5:1 (NIV).

To most Americans, the word freedom connotes images of the American flag. We associate July 4 with the freedoms we’ve been granted by the U.S. american-flag-and-christConstitution. We celebrate our country’s independence with fireworks and parades.

According to dictionary.com, freedom means “the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.”

Physical freedom is denied those locked behind prison walls. But those who have discovered a relationship with Jesus while in prison will tell you they are; indeed, now free, in spite of the iron bars they peer through each day.

Found throughout the Bible, the word, “freedom,” is familiar to those who’ve read God’s Holy Word. John 8:32 says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

In an article by Roger Olson, he writes, “Unfortunately, two very different ideas of freedom get confused in many people’s minds. The biblical idea of freedom is different from, but easily confused with, the cultural value of the same name. And neither one is the same as “free will.” It can be confusing to the average Christian who wants to know what “real freedom” is. Is it having choices? Is it lack of coercion and constraint? Is it being able to do whatever you want? In what sense does Christ set us free, and how is that different from what Madison Avenue and Hollywood promise?

“At the very heart of the Christian gospel is the strange truth,” he continues, “that real freedom is found only in giving up everything secular culture touts as freedom. The gospel, it turns out, requires a distinction between the enjoyment of true freedom and the mere possession of ‘free will.’ Not that free will or independence from tyranny is a bad thing; they’re just not true freedom. True freedom, the gospel tells us, is trusting obedience, the obedience of faith. That’s not exactly the image one finds portrayed in popular culture.”

So, what does true freedom mean for those who choose to follow Christ? According to St. Augustine, true freedom is not choice or lack of constraint, but being what you are meant to be.

For too many years of my adult life, I was a slave—a slave to other’s opinions, a slave to the false image I portrayed as someone who had her life together, a slave to the identities I slipped into because of cultural demands. I wasn’t experiencing true freedom. I wasn’t completely free until I embraced the woman God has created me to be.

“Humans were created in the image of God. True freedom, then,” writes Olson, “is not found in moving away from that image but only in living it out. The closer we conform to the true image of God, Jesus Christ, the freer we become. The farther we drift from it, the more our freedom shrinks.”

Only Christ can set us free.

Photos courtesy of Carol Round and Anglican Pastor

Need a speaker or workshop leader? Carol Round is an author, a columnist, and a speaker. To learn more about Carol and her ministry, visit  her website or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

Christian History Institute details the Catholic Reformation

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Special to Inside The Pew

Worcester, Penn. – Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine, announces its latestcatholic-reformation-christian-history issue, titled: The Catholic Reformation – Art, piety and the fight for renewal.  The issue is the fourth and final in a series of four, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation period, beginning in October of 1517.

This issue, #122, contains ten in-depth articles that explore responses to the Reformation within the Catholic Church and two related Protestant movements (the Arminius challenge to Calvin’s reform movement and the Puritan’s movement in America). The issue brings to a conclusion the editor’s four-issue series commemorating the 500th anniversary of the European Reformation period, generally considered to have begun with the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, in protest.

The issue’s contributing authors (see content link below) examine responses by both Catholic Church insiders and evangelicals. While Catholic piety and discipline reactions spawned numerous formal orders, including the 1540 formation of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), they also encouraged underground “justification by faith” movements which have remarkably experienced revival in modern times. Both responses, in spite of papal reluctance, lead to the Council of Trent, started in 1545 and lasting until the end of 1563.

In addition to exploring Europe’s Thirty Years’ War and its stamp on the relationship between the church and state, contributing authors explore how Protestant rejection of church statuary and images resulted in an art explosion as an expression of Catholic Church doctrine. Set upon a stage of Protestant reforms, the Council of Trent did more to clarify and affirm Catholic Church doctrines rather than to be a move toward actual reform.

“As I immersed myself in the Catholic Reformation, I encountered a cast of characters and events seeking an answer to the same question that troubled Protestants: Something has gone wrong here—how can we fix it?,” said CH managing editor, Jennifer Woodruff Tait. In service of that question, [Catholic] religious leaders dialogued with Protestants, rooted out heretics, and eventually convened the Council of Trent, which forged a uniquely Catholic way of reform. If you are a Protestant, reading this issue will require you to think differently about what reform looked like in the sixteenth century, where it happened, how, and why.”

CH issue 122, contains 10 feature articles; a special bonus time-line chronology pull-out; an archive of rare and beautiful art-work & photos; a ‘letters to the editor’ section and an extensive reading list compiled by the CH editorial staff. The magazine is available on-line and can be conveniently read, on screen at: www.christianhistoryinstitute.org.

The entire CH archive collection of 122 issues can be searched, along with books and study-guides, using the website’s robust search engine feature. The website, combined with a magazine subscription is offered at no-cost as a study resource for the home & homeschoolers, church libraries, middle/high schools, as well as to colleges & universities. It is the mission of CHI donors and staff to make this resource as widely and freely available as possible (donations gratefully accepted).

The following articles can be accessed on-line at: What’s Inside?

Articles in issue #122, titled: The Catholic Reformation – Art, piety and the fight for renewal, include:

Helping Souls –  How religious orders of the sixteenth century pursued reform and holiness
author:  Katie M. Benjamin, a Th.D. candidate at Duke University working in Reformation history and theology.

The Road Not Taken – Evangelical Catholics worked for reform without leaving their mother church
author: Edwin Woodruff Tait, managing editor, Christian History

Picturing Saints – What Catholic piety in the Sixteenth century looked and felt like
Virginia C. Raguin, Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the College of the Holy Cross and author of Stained Glass: Radiant Art and Art, Piety, and Destruction in the Christian West, 1500–1700.

The Persistent Council – Catholic reform came to a head at the Council of Trent
Martin J. Lohrmann, assistant professor of Lutheran confessions and heritage at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa; author of Book of Harmony; and coeditor of a volume in the Reformation Commentary on Scripture series.

A Renewed and Global Faith – After Trent, changes were in the air
Thomas Worcester, S.J., professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross, the author of Seventeenth-Century Cultural Discourse, and the editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Jesuits.

Reasons of State – The Thirty Years’ War: Europe’s last religious war
Roger G. Robins, associate professor in the Center for Global Communication Strategies at the University of Tokyo.

Defender of God’s Justice – Arminius questioned some aspects of Reformed faith, but he never meant to launch a movement
William den Boer, postdoctoral researcher in church history at the Theological University of Kampen and the author of God’s Twofold Love: The Theology of Jacob Arminius (1559–1609).

Coming to America – The Puritans left us a profound, ambiguous legacy
Malcolm Foley, Ph.D. student in the history of Christianity at Baylor University.

Remaking the World – Five men with very different ideas on the reform of Sixteenth-century Catholicism
Edwin and Jennifer Woodruff Tait – Edwin Woodruff Tait is contributing editor at Christian History. Jennifer Woodruff Tait is managing editor at Christian History.

The Ecumenical Dilemma – Protestants and Catholics share their experiences from the Reformation until the present day – with John W. O’Malley, S.J., Paul Rorem, Ernest Freeman, John Armstrong, and Thomas A. Baima.

Ilatov: ‘Let’s launch the Jerusalem prayer breakfast movement’

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Robert Ilatov Story and pictures by Annabel Foery
Special to ASSIST News Service

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – At the main event of the first National Prayer Breakfast held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem on June 7, Chairman of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (KCAC) Robert Ilatov said that he is launching the Jerusalem prayer breakfast movement.

“Our time has come,” he said, “to stand in the gap, just as it is written in scripture” (Ezekiel 22-30).

Now that Israel has reached the milestone of 50 years of having a united Capital, he asked everyone to stand together and undertake praying for Jerusalem.

The KCAC has the mission to build direct lines of communication cooperation and coordination between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world in both the political and the faith communities. Goals are to recognize the contributions that Christians in America, Europe and around the World, are making to the security of the State of Israel and to the welfare of the Jewish people; to bring to the attention of the population of Israel the unqualified support Christians have given, and continue to give to, Jewish aspirations in the holy land.

Event MC, Albert Veksler, speaking to the more than 550 attendees from 56 nations, pointed out that scripture doesn’t just say that there is blessing for those that “know Jerusalem” but “those that love Jerusalem.” He went on to say, “We want to make Jerusalem a house of prayer for all nations. How big must this house be? Well, we are ‘building’ this house of prayer – will you join with us to make this city a house of prayer – a House of Prayer for All Nations?”

Distinguished politicians from many nations read potions of scripture and prayers were given by pastors from around the world, amongst whom, Pastor Tom Hess, spoke of praying for reconciliation with the Arab people – Jerusalem is the heart of the “Isaiah 19 Highway” (see Isa.19:22-24).

Billy Wilson, President of Oral Roberts University, called for a “wave of intercession” for the country and the city of Jerusalem.Menora at the Knesset

Coordinator of the Allies Caucus, Josh Reinstein, said that “a united city of Jerusalem is not a political issue, it is a biblical issue. There is not a West Jerusalem and an East Jerusalem – there is only one City of Jerusalem. This is the most important issue of our time.”

The concluding speaker, former United States Representative, Michele Bachmann, instead of speaking her own thoughts passionately prayed scripture after scripture, which brought many to tears throughout the room.  Afterwards, she said she didn’t know what she was going to say until she stood at the podium where she just let herself be led by God.

Photo captions: 1) MK Robert Ilatov. 2) Full Ballroom at the Breakfast. 3) Menora at the Knesset, where attendees were able to visit during their time in Jerusalem.

Annabel Foery, an English transplant to the USA, has been a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, (Yeshua Ha-Mashiach) learning to know the heart of God and encouraging others to do likewise.  She lives in Alexandria Virginia and helps volunteer with hosting overseas guests at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC, and can be contacted by e-mail at: foery@icloud.com.

5 foundational leader traits grounded in religion

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By Major General Michael J. Diamond, US Army (retired)
Special to Inside The Pew

In order to be a complete leader, those in charge must possess certain character traits. Workers need leaders whom they can admire and respect. It should be no surprise that many of these foundational traits can be developed through religious teachings.

We will look at my five most important character traits; integrity, work ethic, discipline, courage, and decisiveness. Imichael-diamond-the-diamond-process have found in client organizations that subordinates crave a leader that has at a minimum these five elements. They are also very dismissive if their positional leader does not have and exhibit all these traits. Without them they tend to not be as supportive and go that extra mile when crunch time comes into play, e.g. putting in overtime, weekends, working late to meet a deadline. Character does matter to subordinates while their positional leaders tend to discount it because they are in fact the boss.

With each of these character traits, we will look at a biblical connection and how that carries over to today’s leaders.

  1. Integrity – “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3). “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy” (Proverbs 12:22). “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the lord but also in the eyes of men” (2 Corinthians 8:21).
  2. Decisiveness – “The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that,the-diamond-process purpose must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6– 8). “Part of decisiveness is a) praying for knowledge and wisdom (Ephesians 5: 15– 17), b) seeking counsel from others (Proverbs 15:22); and c) submitting to the Llord’s will (Proverbs 19:21).
  3. Work ethic – Colossians 3:23, “whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart.” Matthew 5:16 “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works”.
  4. Discipline –  Titus 1:7– 9 “For an overseer, as God’s steward must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine, and also rebuke those who contradict it.”
  5. Courage –  Joshua is a great example of leadership as Moses instructed him to courageously lead his people into the Promised Land.

Although it did not make the top 5, there is one overarching theme to all these and that is the concept of humility. Humility supplants all and enables people to lead others much more effectively. It is this potential to build longer, lasting relationships that causes subordinates to want to follow others who are humble yet very gifted leaders of people. These 5 traits have served me well in my leadership experiences as well as the many that I have served with and mentored throughout my career. It will pay huge dividends for all of us in this day and time if we learn and continue to strive to live up to these to our subordinates.

Photos: Top, Major General Michael J. Diamond; middle, book cover, “The Diamond Process: How to Fix  Your Organization and Lead People More Effectively.”

Major General Michael J. Diamond, US Army (retired) is author of The Diamond Process: How to Fix Your Organization and Lead People More Effectively. Diamond served a combined 35 years on active duty and in the Reserves. He brings this wealth of experience in military, manufacturing, retail, consulting, IT and many other sectors to help improve performance in organizations. His new book is co–authored by his son, Capt. Christopher R. Harding, presents the Diamond Process Model referenced above. The book is available on DiamondStrategyGroup.comAmazon and other fine booksellers.

Trump draws ‘deeper path for friendship with Israel’

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zion-yossi-zamir

By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

President Donald Trump’s trip to Israel is a promise that goes beyond words. Trump, the only sitting U.Strump-visits-western-wall. president to visit to holy sites in Jerusalem, said the visit to the Western Wall was a “great honor,” one that could build “a deeper path to friendship with Israel.”

Trump’s visit to Israel was historic and welcoming. Billboards and signs proclaiming, “Trump Is A Friend of Zion” and “Trump Make Israel Great” have lined the streets of Jerusalem in a very public welcome to the president. The initiative, launched by Michael Evans, founder and chair of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center and a member of the Founding Trump Faith Board.

“Donald Trump won the election because of a historic evangelical voter turnout – the largest in American history. Evangelicals tend not to be monolithic except on two issues – the Supreme Court and Israel.

Evans, among others, point to Trump’s campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. By moving the embassy, Trump would signify that the United States recognizes Jerusalem at the capital of Israel.

“President Trump promised us he would recognize Jerusalem and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  We wholeheartedly believe that this promise is non-negotiable and will happen while he is president.”

Don Horwitz, executive director of Christians Care International, told Inside The Pew the bond between the U.S. and Israel is based on the shared Judeo-Christian values of our two nations. He said both nations cherish personal liberty, religious freedom, and human dignity.

“When the President of the United States visits Israel, he sends the world a powerful message that this bond will Don Horowitznever be broken and that our two nations will forever be united in friendship and mutual support.

Horwitz added that Trump’s visit also puts Israel and the Jewish people into the world’s focus, and reminds us that many thousands of Jews remain subject to virulent anti-Semitism and persecution.

“Christians have also become increasingly subject to persecution and religious violence – Jews and Christians must stand together in the face of this violence.

“As the Bible tells us, Israel is a light unto the nations. It is time for the world to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital.”

Trump’s next stop in this tour is a meeting at the Vatican with Pope Francis on May 24.

Photos (top to bottom):

President Donald Trump prays before the Western Wall in Jerusalem. (AP)

A banner hangs on a building in Jerusalem. (Yossi Zamir)

Don Horwitz, executive director of Christians Care International (http://www.christianscare.org/)

Tonya Whitaker contributed to this story.

© 2017 Inside The Pew