Category Archives: National

Daily: Some thoughts on surprise resignation of the Pope Benedict XVI

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By Dennis Daily
Special to ASSIST News Service

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (ANS) — As a journalist who was raised in a Catholic home and went through 12 years in Catholic schools — and, like many Catholic boys,

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

thought he wanted to be a priest at one time – I am watching closely the events that are happening in the wake of the resignation of the Pope.

I awakened to the headline, “Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy.” For there it was in black-and-white in the Washington Post, “Citing failing strength of ‘mind and body,’ Pope Benedict XVI stunned his closest aides and more than 1 billion Catholics by resigning on Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years and ending the tenure of a formidable theologian who preached a gospel of conservative faith to a fast-changing world.

“Keeping with his reputation as a traditionalist, Pope Benedict delivered his resignation – effective Feb. 28 – in Latin, to a private church body in Vatican City. ‘I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,’ he said. ‘For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter.'”

On hearing this news, I was startled for several reasons:

First of all, since this is only the second time in 2,000 years that a Pope has called it quits, I realized instantly that this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Actually, it’s a once-in-many-lifetimes kind of thing.

From a pure journalistic standpoint, this was QUITE a story.

Secondly, I began to realize all the things that must be going on in the Vatican to prepare for the election of a new Pope.

I’m fortunate, when I was in high school, a nearly ordained priest came to the parish and he taught religion to us. You have to remember that most Catholic kids, and others who go to religion-sponsored schools, have to attend a religion class every day. No Sunday school for us Catholic kids.

The young priest assigned to my high school would eventually, in later years, go on to teach at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that this youthful priest was a real rebel — a fire-brand.

He had spent his seminary time at Collegium Canisianum, located in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria.

It’s funny, after all these years, I can still remember his mailing address there, when he went back for a while as part of a project: Tschurtschenthalerstrasse 7. I guess had his school been on White Street of Alps Boulevard I would have never remembered its address.

Actually, Kress was more than a fire-brand. Some in the parish thought he was a radical. His sermons were full of questions and doubt that troubled many of the older members of the parish.

One week, after wondering aloud from the pulpit if there really HAD been a “Great Flood” and if the “Noah Story” were just a great parable, my own grandmother went to the pastor, Kress’s boss, asking that he be sent to some other parish.

Part of his reasoning about the existence of a Great Flood was based on similar stories in myriad other cultures. He seemed to be more excited about relaying the liberal Catholic thought in which he was immersed during his time in Innsbruck, than delivering a traditional sermon that would warm the hearts of the congregation.

But, that was Father Kress.

The reason he enters the story here, is that during those years in Austria, Kress had worked among many members of the Catholic Church there who were helping to prepare for the Second Vatican Council … that great assembling of religious leaders of all stripes, from around the world. It had been called lovable Pope John XXIII.

Kress’s seminary years were spent during an intense period of debate within the church. The conflict, of course, centered on whether the liberalization of the Church was indeed necessary.

John Paul XXIII had used an Italian word to describe what he wanted to do at the council; that word was “aggiornamento,” or “updating.” But the then roly-poly Pope who, while a bishop, had saved the lives of countless Jews who would have been swept up in the Holocaust, wanted more than an updating. He told media that he wanted to “open the windows and let some fresh air into the church.”

Liberals in the church in Europe were thrilled at the Pope’s announced intentions. They were even happier when John XXIII invited observers to the council from every known religion in the world.

Conservatives were worried that the Church would make a decidedly leftward shift. The church had already begun to look more catholic (with a small “c”) and more universal in John XXIII’s time; he had increased the number of bishops and cardinals from Third World countries and worked for the canonization of saints from lesser-known areas of the world.

So, we students in the 1960s, during the Vatican Council, were given a running play-by-play of what was going on in the halls of the Vatican by someone who had been in the thick of planning for the multi-year re-examination of the status of Catholicism.

We would watch news reports and Father Kress would point to the TV screen and say: “Oh, look, there’s Cardinal Konig,” or, “There’s Cardinal Frings.”

Kress had worked with these men, especially with Frings. The cardinal, who was from the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, had graduated from the Canisianum and maintained close ties with the school.

Frings, at the time, was one of the closest of confidants of another priest from the region, a teacher and writer who, at the time, was perceived to be on the liberal bandwagon.

That priest was Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, today’s Pope.

Frings and Ratzinger and two other liberal thinkers, Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx, were Fr. Kress’s heroes.

Shortly before the first session of the council opened, Frings had given a speech in Genoa, about the First Vatican Council. It called in 1868 by Pope Pius IX, ostensibly to deal with a quickly changing world in the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Frings looked at the impact of that first council and wondered if Pope John XXIII was simply re-opening an old concept, putting a modern-day “aggiornamento” spin on it.

When the Pope was informed about Frings’ speech, he summoned the clergyman to the Vatican. The session was not negative, as Frings had feared. John XXIII actually liked the speech. Frings thanked him. He didn’t tell the Pope that the speech had been written by his friend, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

After leaving high school, and those five-day-a-week sessions with Fr. Kress, and the daily play-by-play of what was happening in Rome, my thoughts of the Second Vatican Council faded.

Occasionally, I would have dinner with Fr. Kress, during the time that both he and I lived in Washington, DC.

I remember one evening when he wondered what had happened to all the fire-brand liberals of the European church over the years. He told me that many of them had “converted” to the conservative cause. One of them was the man who would one day become the first German-born Pope in a long time … and who would startle the world by resigning.

There will be a lot of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” over why Ratzinger is leaving his post. As a close adviser to the late Pope John-Paul II, the current Pope saw his predecessor grow weaker and weaker and shakier and shakier, while still trying to minister to his flock.

I am sure that Pope Benedict didn’t want to be that kind of Pope.

It will be interesting for all of us, though, to see what kind of role a former Pope will play in society. The last time anyone had a chance to witness that was 77 years before Columbus first sailed to the New World.

 

Dennis Daily is a lifelong journalist and radio news anchor and programmer. He spent 20-years with UPI (United Press International). During most of his tenure there he worked for the now-defunct UPI Radio Network. During several of those years he served as the network’s Religion Editor. He previously worked as a national spokesman for the USDA in Washington, was a Congressional Press Secretary, all-news anchor and producer for “The Larry King Show.” Long associated with religious programming, Daily returned to his hometown in southern Indiana for 26 consecutive years to anchor and produce five hours from four churches on Christmas Eve. For several of those years the broadcast was relayed around the world via Armed Forces Radio. After his two decades with UPI he went back into local radio in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., where he is semi-retired. He continues to do freelance radio work, voicing daily reports on various topics. Dennis also produces the Religion & Ethic s Minute based on the stories of the ASSIST News Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at: newscaster@earthlinknet.

 

American Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran fears supporters have abandoned him

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

TEHRAN, Iran (ANS) The American pastor sentenced to eight years in Iran’s Evin prison is unaware of the groundswell of international support for him, and insteadSaeedAbedini fears he’s been abandoned, according to relatives who met with him this week.

According to Fox News, Saeed Abedini mentioned his doubt during a visit with relatives on Monday. It was a second time he was allowed to see members of his extended family since he was convicted. Abedini expressed apprehension and concern to his relatives about his fate and openly asked if there were international efforts to secure his freedom, according to advocacy group American Center for Law and Justice (http://aclj.org).

The story said that it is believed that Abedini’s downtrodden spirit is due to abuse and brain-washing techniques used by prison officials.

“It is no surprise that the Iranian prison guards are engaging in this kind of psychological abuse. We know that Pastor Saeed is undergoing physical beatings and torture. And we know there is growing concern about his health,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director for ACLJ, told www.FoxNews.com.

“Now, a troubling report that the guards are trying to take away his hope — by feeding him false information about his fate — trying to convince him that no one cares — that efforts to secure his freedom have ceased. This tactic is predictable, but also very tragic.”

“What the Iranian guards will never tell Pastor Saeed is that there’s a growing international network of support. … We continue to urge President Obama to personally call on Iran to release Pastor Saeed. And now that Secretary of State Kerry is on the job, it is time for him to follow through on earlier statements demanding that Iran release Pastor Saeed,” he added.

Abedini also has been unable to communicate with his wife, Nagameh, and their two children since being sentenced.

“When I heard this from my husband, I cried. It broke my heart. Behind those walls he feels helpless and relies on us to be his voice. It is so easy to feel forgotten in the walls of the prison. Please help me make sure he is never forgotten,” she said in a report posted on ACLJ’s website.

Abedini, a 32-year-old father of two, denied evangelizing in Iran and claims he had only returned to his native land to help establish an orphanage. Authorities pulled him off a bus last August and threw him into the notorious prison in Tehran, the story continued.

“The exact crimes he was accused of only became public late last month, when the prosecutor outlined charges that Abedini undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and that he was attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam,” added the Fox News story.

“Supporters of Abedini believe the charges stem from his 2,000 conversion to Christianity and his involvement several years ago with house churches in Iran.”

Although Abedini’s lawyer has appealed the sentence, experts following the case think Abedini’s only chance at freedom lies with a grant of clemency from the religious clerics that rule Iran.

According to Jeremy Reynalds of ASSIST News, the American Center for Law and Justice recently reported award-winning musicians, Christian radio stations, and concerned citizens all across America and around the world are trying to get #SaveSaeed trending on Twitter and encourage people to sign the petition at www.SaveSaeed.org to free Abenini.

Reynalds said Ricky Skaggs, TobyMac, Bart Millard (Mercy Me), Kevin Max (DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline), Steven Curtis Chapman, Skillet, Rhett Walker Band, Air1 Radio, and thousands of others are helping to #SaveSaeed.

Fantasia among gospel celebration performers; Lewis honored

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Pew Talk Radio

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis won a Super Bowl with his team on Feb. 3, but the win is not the only accolade the now retired three-time defensive player of the year earned in New Orleans.

On Feb. 1, Lewis was honored with the Lifetime of Inspirations award during the 14th Super Bowl Gospel Celebration. The event was held at Lakefront Arena at University of New Orleans.

An extremely emotional Lewis accepted the award from his eldest son, Ray Lewis III. The all-pro was joined on stage by his two daughters, younger sons, and his mother, Sunseria Jenkins.

Lewis shared with the audience the importance God plays in his life and the relationship he has built with his family. He discussed a conversation he had with his biological father that changed his life.

“One day I went on a six-hour ride with my biological father. I wanted my dad to tell me all the things he had to say to me that he didn’t tell me as a child and all the pain he had within him. I wanted to hear it. After that, we put it in the past. Now, we have a better relationship.”

Lewis said the move also helped him become a better father to his children.

“I encourage you all to be responsible for rearing their children and teaching them respect. Be a parent and not just their friend.”

The bond Lewis has with Jenkins has always been his strength. He said he started lifting weights at an early age to become strong enough protect her from an abusive relationship.

Lewis is only the second person the celebration has honored. He joins former NFL coach and current Sunday Night Football analysis Tony Dungy as the other award winner.

The NFL-sanctioned gospel celebration featured a star-studded show with Grammy winner Fantasia as the headlining act. The singer said it was a blessing to be able to appear in the show.

“My life has been up and down. I had to make God the center of my life. Doing so, I had to go back to my foundation, the church and singing gospel music and re-establish the relationship I had with God,” Fantasia told Pew Talk Radio during a brief interview on the red carpet. She attended the event with her mother, Diana Barrino.

Additional performers included Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Lecrea, Myron Butler, and Pastor Marvin Winans. Kirk Franklin will serve as host of the music portion, with “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd as MC for the event.

The NFL Players Choir also performed selections for the audience. The choir, in its sixth year of existence, includes former and current NFL players and coaches.

‘God has brought me this far’: A glance at Super Bowl warriors Kaepernick, Lewis

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By Aimee Herd
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW ORLEANS, La. (ANS) — “God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.” — Colin Kaepernick

On Feb. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers will wrangle on the grid iron in Super Bowl XLVII.

The faith of a few members of the NFL has been increasingly highlighted in recent years, and it is certainly not lost on some of this year’s players.

Colin Kaepernick is the first. In fact, forget the eye-black-with-Scripture so significant when worn by Tim Tebow in his time as a Gator; 25-year-old Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers has plenty of it-in the form of tattoos on his arms.

Perhaps literally guilty of “wearing his heart on his sleeve” (pun intended), Kaepernick seems to back up the tatt depictions of his Christianity with a personal devotion to the God he follows.

“My faith is the basis from where my game comes from,” Colin explained in a Daily Sparks Tribune interview last year. “I’ve been very blessed to have the talent to play the game that I do and be successful at it. I think God guides me through every day and helps me take the right steps and has helped me to get to where I’m at. When I step on the field, I always say a prayer, say I am thankful to be able to wake up that morning and go out there and try to glorify the Lord with what I do on the field. I think if you go out and try to do that, no matter what you do on the field, you can be happy about what you did.”

Regarding his tattoos, Kaepernick told Reuters, “I don’t really care what people think about my tattoos. I got them for me and to show people this is what I believe in. God has brought me this far, He’s laid out a phenomenal path for me and I can’t do anything but thank Him.”

On the young quarterback’s right bicep the word “Faith” is inscribed, and “to God the glory” and a scroll with Psalm 18:39 elsewhere on the same arm.

On the other side of the field, there is equal passion for the Lord, probably most prominently displayed by the Ravens’ defensive leader and linebacker, Ray Lewis.

“I just know that when you put your trust in God, that anything is possible,” Lewis told a CSN reporter about making it to this year’s Super Bowl contest. Earlier this year, after returning from an injury, Lewis announced that he would be retiring at season’s end.

Lewis’ fiery on-field persona is balanced by a strong faith in the Lord, one that has helped lead the Ravens through the season, as Lewis reads and preaches from the Bible in the locker room, prior to games.

While Lewis’ faith has risen out of troubling circumstances and a very different scenario than that of, say, Tim Tebow-Ray is just as passionate, and has had a huge impact on his teammates, especially this year.

Orlando Magic vice president Pat Williams described Lewis’ faith this way, “He’s come from a totally different background than someone like Tim Tebow. He has come to Christ later in life but isn’t that true of so many? The Bible teaches us that not only are our sins forgiven but they are forgotten.”

What does Lewis say?

“Don’t look at my yesterday, look at my tomorrow,” explained Ray in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes interview. “I’ve said it before, God never changes. The relationship was there all along.”

Super Bowl inspiration: Gospel celebration set for Feb. 1 in New Orleans

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – The great sounds of gospel music will take center stage at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Friday, Feb. 1 with the 14th Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.

The musical celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans, 6801 Franklin Ave. in New Orleans.

Slated to perform at the NFL-sanctioned event are some of the best gospel artists today, including Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, LeCrea, Pastor Marvin Winans, and Fantasia Barrino. Kirk Franklin will serve as host of the music portion, with “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd as MC for the event. Also, the audience will be treated to performances featuring the sixth annual NFL Players Choir. The 40-member ensemble includes current and former players and coaches. The choir allows NFL players who are Christians to share their love for Him in song. Past participants have included Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, Cris Carter, Darrell Green, Deion Sanders, John Elway, and Lovie Smith.

Melanie Few Harrison, creator and producer of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, announced Jan. 28 the celebration will feature a tribute to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as the second Lifetime of Inspirations award winner. Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy is the only other winner of the prestigious award, as he was present the award in 2009.

“His (Ray Lewis) accomplishments and triumphs have inspired football fans, teammates and colleagues – a true representation of what the essence of the convergence of faith and football is all about,” Harrison said. “As a big supporter of the event, Ray Lewis has attended many Super Bowl Gospel Celebrations and sang in the NFL Players Choir, so we are beyond thrilled to honor him in what is sure to be a memorable year.”

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Learn more about the SBGC and the performers at http://www.superbowlgospel.com/

Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

By now, you’ve seen the clip.

When 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s challenge of the catch made by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas was denied, coach went into a rage. Fortunately, for him, the call had no bearing in the result of the Jan.20 NFC Championship game, as his 49ers held off the Falcons, 28-24, to advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Harbaugh’s sideline rants have been the ridicule of many since he has become the 49ers head coach. Some sports journalists don’t care for the guy, especially since Harbaugh is hush-hush on issues related to his team that would probably make a great story.

Just when the reporters have the chance to learn about a different side of Harbaugh, they sorta passed it by. But I don’t completely blame them. When Harbaugh took his annual trip to Peru to do the Lord’s work in June 2012, the mainstream reporters asked about it, but he didn’t really elaborate.

However, Harbaugh was more than willing to discuss the trip with media that could relate, such as The Catholic News Agency. Judging from the quote, the trip was quiet personal for him. “The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow. Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.”

If you want to go back farther, I found a Bleacher Report guest column from 2008 written by Carla Ingle. The column, titled Jim Harbaugh and Jesus Take The Field …, was created while Harbaugh was head coach at Stanford University. Ingle reveals when Harbaugh was quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1997, he would acknowledge God before beginning his press conferences. Ingle wrote, “When he first started playing for the Colts it would warm my heart when a reporter would interview him and the first thing he would say was ‘I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for making all this possible.’ Then he would continue on with the interview and address whatever question that had been posed to him.”

Then, Ingle began to notice when the wins began to disappear, there was no mention of God and some “not-so-kind words” came from Harbaugh’s mouth. Did that make Harbaugh less of a Christian? No – not in the Father’s eyes. If we are honest with ourselves, we are human and guilty of this at times.

As Christians, we should be careful not to assume everyone who doesn’t put their faith on public display every day is a fair-weather Christian. He uses us in different ways. If only Harbaugh’s acknowledgment to the power of God was heard beyond the readers of the CNA others will begin to think a little differently about him.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Jim’s older brother and opponent on Feb. 3, was quite open about his team’s inspiration after they defeated the Denver Broncos in overtime, 38-35, in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Jan. 12 and in the win against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Jim Harbaugh open a press conference in 2013 in the same fashion he did during that great 1995 he had with the Colts? Either way, we know there is more than rage that sits in the heart of Jim Harbaugh.

Related story

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru 6/27/2012

Greater Sixty Aid continues service to Baton Rouge communities

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Editor’s note: This story originally ran on Inside The Pew on Nov. 20, 2009. Visit the Greater Sixty Aid Baptist Church website at www.greatersixtyaidbc.org.

By Tamikia Jones
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Rev. James Barrett Sr. is in the midst of bringing God’s word to the Gardere community and the city of Baton Rouge. After all, he is part of a historic congregation that has done so since 1876.

Barrett’s road to Greater Sixty Aid is a journey of sacrifice, the husband and father of two said. He traveled around the country for 13 years evangelizing. Concerned and tired of the wear and tear on his body, Barrett said her started his own Bible study in December 2007, where he established a following that are still with him today.

In January, Barrett, together with the congregation, celebrated his acceptance of pastorship over Greater Sixty Aid.

The church is located at 655 Gardere Lane in Louisiana’s state capitol.

“Everything just flowed,” Barrett said.  “I have to attribute everything to God, He ordered my steps,” he said as he reflects on his coming to Greater Sixty Aid.

The pastor said education is an important element of ministering to people.  Make no mistake, Barrett places the same emphasis on his own education, which is why he is constantly researching and reading ensuring that he provides his congregation with good information.

“It’s important to understand what and why you believe,” he said. “Theology shapes people’s lives,” Barrett said. “Pastors are shaping how people think, and you do not want to give out bad information.”

Barrett said his preaching philosophy is to provide empowerment, encouragement, forgiveness and healing.

“Church is not a place to come to get beat down, we all need to be encouraged,” he said.

Not only is Rev. Barrett touching the lives of the members and guests of his church, he said his future plans include reaching out to the surrounding Gardere area. That is weighed down by drugs, high crime, and low-income families.

Barrett also has a passion for helping children. Greater Sixty Aid has recruited personnel to organize Boy and Girl Scout troops. They have also brought in an instructor for liturgical dance, he said. Moreover, two computers have been donated in effort to develop a small lab.

Currently lending a much-needed hand to the surrounding community is the Food Bank Program that is run by the church. The ministry issues multiple boxes of food and
toiletries to qualifying low-income families.

“The Christian walk and salvation is not just an experience of God, it’s a sense of renewed commitment to live a better life in truth, to share that knowledge and an appreciation for God.”

Report: Africa rises on World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ANS) – Africa, the continent of my birth, where Christianity has spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest, a new report says.

According to World Watch Monitor, the two-year-old Arab Spring has toppled autocrats across Northern Africa, but it also has energized militant Islamist movements that have killed hundreds of Christians and endanger thousands more, according to the annual World Watch List, released Tuesday.

The list, published by Open Doors International, a ministry to persecuted Christians, ranks the 50 countries it considers to be most hostile to believers during the year that ended Oct. 31. The countries on the list are home to about a quarter of the world’s 2.2 billion believers.

The story says that for the 11th straight year, North Korea tops the list, and Open Doors says it figures to stay there as long as its combination of “communist oppression” and “dictatorial paranoia” remains in place. The ministry estimates between 200,000 and 400,000 Christians live in the country, where they face arrest, torture and even execution if exposed. It is the only country where the list says “absolute persecution” reigns.

Two other African nations, Somalia and Eritrea, are included among the World Watch List top 10. In all, 18 African countries are included on the list of 50 nations. Five are ranked closer to the top than they were in 2012. Five others — Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Niger — are on the list for the first time.

China fell furthest in the rankings, down 16 spots to No. 37. Its Christian population is growing faster than anywhere, and the government’s direct suppression of the Mao era has evolved into a wary watchfulness, according to Open Doors.

“There does seem to be the possibility of greater rapprochement,” said Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, director of Open Doors strategy and research, as Communist Party leaders begin to regard the church’s ability to moderate social tensions as an asset during and age of rapid economic and societal change.

Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

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Special To The Pew

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Atlanta Underground Music Awards nominee, Fly Away Records, recently snagged its first Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nomination in the Best Record Label/Company of the Year category. The fifth annual Rhythm of Gospel Awards weekend event is slated for July 25-28, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I am privileged to be recognized and is thankful to the good hand of the Lord for being with me as I continue down the highways and byways of this awesome journey of sharing the gospel message through music to so many people,” said Fly Away Records president Michael Vaughn.

Leading the buzz around label in the gospel music industry community come from two new singles, “Never” and “You Know” by recording artist Appointed. “Pastor Wanda,” a native of Wharton, Texas, and current resident of Augusta, Ga., has also racked up a few gospel music award nominations of her own that include an Urban Inspirational Award, a Prayze Factor Award and a Gospel Music Channel Most Powerful Voices Top Ten Finalist spot.

In addition, Vaughn said Fly Away is now accepting submission from independent recording artist with a Christ-centered message for its compilation project titled “Independents,” Volume II, Guaranteed Hot, the sequel to “Independents,” Certified Hot that was well received several years back and reviewed by GospelFlava along with other online gospel music sites.

For more information about Fly Away Records, please visit www.flyawayrecords.info.

Count 2012’s blessings, look forward to abundance in 2013

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By Terry McGee
Inside The Pew

As 2012 hastens to a close, I reflect back on the marvelous things God has done this year. This writing is to encourage those who are pursuing their passion or dream that was given by God. I know we all experienced some entrepreneurial pains in 2012, but that was to toughen us up for the reward he has for us in 2013.

God wants all of his children to experience success in something. And “something” is not always tied to a dollar sign. We sometimes get caught up in that numbers game and lose sight that our life is not our own! If we let God do this thing, he will set everything up for us, including the people we need around us. It seems that when we try to set it up the way we want to do it, disappointment in the people we pick happens. That is why God will send us the right people when we let “His” will be done. He comes to us most of the time at night, while we are sleeping. He will drop that “something” off in our dream, and sometimes, later, wakes us up to give us directions. Over the past few years, I know that so many of us have been out there trying to make things happen. For those, let me tell you God always delivers! As in everything in life we do, let’s remember Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV).

Believe it’s your season, claim it’s your season! But by all means, give God His due! God is already there waiting, he sometimes holds off because we are not there, or we decided to take the wheel and make Him the “shotgun” rider, and at that point, he will patiently wait! So if you are driving, pull over and swap seats with “Him” and see how much faster you get to where you want to go! As the old saying goes…Let go and Let God!! As I close this out, please be mindful that the enemy does not want anybody to succeed if it lifts up the Lord, so take with you:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV).

Now get ready for the reward of your faithfulness in 2013!! Blessings!

Terry McGee is host of Simply Inspiring Radio on Pew Talk Radio. His show runs from 5 to 7 p.m. CST Tuesday through Friday. Visit www.pewtalkradio.com to listen to his show and learn more about McGee.