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Sky Angels Radio…Turn Your Speakers Up!!

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Pastor Is Launching a Massive Effort to Get Christians Out of the Pews — and …

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Kerry Shook, senior pastor at Woodlands Church in Houston, Texas, is challenging hundreds of houses of worship to join him for a one-day effort to go out and make a positive impact in their communities.

Shook, author of the new book “Be the Message,” is urging preachers and congregations across the nation to live out their sermons by exiting the pews November 16 and heading out to collectively join in on the “National Be the Message Sunday” challenge.

“Woodlands Church, along with churches all over the nation will be cutting our worship services in half on Sunday, November 16 so we can go out into the community and live a sermon,” Shook recently told TheBlaze. “At Woodlands Church we will cut the service in half so our congregation can pack 100,000 meals to go to people we minister to in Haiti.”

The preacher said that he has regularly challenged his church to live out the gospel, encouraging members to remember that “faith should be active, not just words,” but this new-found effort takes his message far beyond the confines of his Woodlands Church community.

“We simply want to be the message of hope and good news that there is a God who loves them and cares,” Shook said. “With no strings attached, being the message has a powerful impact!”

He has already encouraged more than 500 churches around the United States to join the Woodlands congregation for the “National Be the Message Sunday” initiative — an effort that he believes holds monumental potential to benefit communities and individuals, alike.

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Pastor Is Launching a Massive Effort to Get Christians Out of the Pews — and …

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Kerry Shook, senior pastor at Woodlands Church in Houston, Texas, is challenging hundreds of houses of worship to join him for a one-day effort to go out and make a positive impact in their communities.

Shook, author of the new book “Be the Message,” is urging preachers and congregations across the nation to live out their sermons by exiting the pews November 16 and heading out to collectively join in on the “National Be the Message Sunday” challenge.

“Woodlands Church, along with churches all over the nation will be cutting our worship services in half on Sunday, November 16 so we can go out into the community and live a sermon,” Shook recently told TheBlaze. “At Woodlands Church we will cut the service in half so our congregation can pack 100,000 meals to go to people we minister to in Haiti.”

The preacher said that he has regularly challenged his church to live out the gospel, encouraging members to remember that “faith should be active, not just words,” but this new-found effort takes his message far beyond the confines of his Woodlands Church community.

“We simply want to be the message of hope and good news that there is a God who loves them and cares,” Shook said. “With no strings attached, being the message has a powerful impact!”

He has already encouraged more than 500 churches around the United States to join the Woodlands congregation for the “National Be the Message Sunday” initiative — an effort that he believes holds monumental potential to benefit communities and individuals, alike.

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Ted Cruz Pokes Persecuted Mideast Christians In The Eye, Delivers Hidden …

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Guest post written by
Rich Ghazal

Mr. Ghazal is an ordained deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church.

A western diplomat once met a Syriac Christian monk at Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem, the original site of the Last Supper.  Astonished by his devotion to Christ, the diplomat innocently, yet patronizingly, asked, “how long ago did you convert to Christianity?” The priest, dumbfounded by the tragic irony, replied, “2000 years ago. And you?”

The fictional diplomat depicted in this anecdote represents the clumsy ignorance with which the west often approaches Middle Eastern Christianity, and its current plight. Sadly, this anecdote seemed to have come to life last week at the inaugural In Defense of Christians (IDC) Summit in Washington DC—and unfortunately, resulted in the boos that echoed inside the beltway and reverberated around the world.

What really happened?

Just minutes following the Cruz gaffe, reports of “anti-Semitic Christians” dominated headlines around the nation. However, the preponderance of the media coverage that followed the initial reports gave better treatment to the totality of circumstances, and concluded that the summit’s attendees cannot reasonably be characterized as anti-Semitic, despite their jeers to Senator Cruz.

Throughout the summit, attendees made repeated reference to their “Jewish brothers and sisters” in discussing their shared plight. In fact, the appeals for Christian-Jewish solidarity made in Senator Cruz’s now-infamous keynote address were met with hearty applause. The initial jeers did not come until the senator began to speak off script, and morphed his remarks into what seemed to be a political stump speech on Israel—completely abandoning the conference’s theme, which centered on the persecuted Church.

After the first round of jeers, the junior senator from Texas apparently decided to use the remainder of his address to poke his audience in the eye. He proceeded to give six Christian patriarchs (many of whom rank equivalent to Pope Francis) an education in Middle East affairs and Christianity, even going so low as to question the authenticity of his audience’s Christian faith.

To be clear, amidst the jeers, there were reportedly no statements that could remotely be characterized as anti-Semitic, or even anti-Israel. Most of the statements were along the lines of “enough” and “talk about the Christians.” There are even reports of a religious leader shouting “Stop! You’re going to get us killed!”

How did it get to that point?

Without question, interrupting a speech—even one you disagree with—is of poor taste, and is unacceptable. However, in the course of his “stump speech,” Senator Cruz failed to consider the treacherous political circumstances faced by his audience, composed largely of Middle Eastern minorities wedged between totalitarian thugs and genocidal Salafists. Through this unfortunate event, however, an important lesson became clear.

It’s a fatal mistake to impose the American political paradigm onto a persecuted Middle Eastern minority community. Expecting such a community to pass the American political litmus test on such a sensitive issue demonstrates patent ignorance of their ominous political reality.

While American politicians are only expected to navigate a neatly ordered, two-sided political aisle, based on a constitutional social contract, the Christians of the Middle East are required to navigate a political spider web, dominated by a plethora of conflicting factions, each ready to step on the backs of—or slaughter—minorities to maintain regional superiority.

Christians of the Middle East live in a tough neighborhood—Mr. Cruz need only ask Prime Minister Netanyahu. Unlike the Christians of Israel, who live as free, full citizens of a sovereign state, non-Israeli Christians live as tolerated Dhimmi at best, or persecuted infidels, in their own ancestral lands.

The Middle East is neither a cultural nor political monolith

Contrary to what western media and academia suggest, the Middle East is neither a cultural nor political monolith. The Middle Eastern political milieu is nuanced, and replete with competing factions and interests. The Middle East’s Christian minority must assuage each of the opposing blocs, and their respective interests, for any hope of maintaining socio-political buoyancy.

In Lebanon, a large segment of the Christian demographic has chosen to stand against Hezbollah and Syria at their own peril, while others have elected to work earnestly within the Lebanese political system—of which Hezbollah is a part—to preserve some semblance of national stability. It would be a gross inaccuracy to assert that such Christians are Hezbollah “supporters” when survival necessitates co-existence.

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Ted Cruz Pokes Persecuted Mideast Christians In The Eye, Delivers Hidden …

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Guest post written by
Rich Ghazal

Mr. Ghazal is an ordained deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church.

A western diplomat once met a Syriac Christian monk at Saint Mark’s Monastery in Jerusalem, the original site of the Last Supper.  Astonished by his devotion to Christ, the diplomat innocently, yet patronizingly, asked, “how long ago did you convert to Christianity?” The priest, dumbfounded by the tragic irony, replied, “2000 years ago. And you?”

The fictional diplomat depicted in this anecdote represents the clumsy ignorance with which the west often approaches Middle Eastern Christianity, and its current plight. Sadly, this anecdote seemed to have come to life last week at the inaugural In Defense of Christians (IDC) Summit in Washington DC—and unfortunately, resulted in the boos that echoed inside the beltway and reverberated around the world.

What really happened?

Just minutes following the Cruz gaffe, reports of “anti-Semitic Christians” dominated headlines around the nation. However, the preponderance of the media coverage that followed the initial reports gave better treatment to the totality of circumstances, and concluded that the summit’s attendees cannot reasonably be characterized as anti-Semitic, despite their jeers to Senator Cruz.

Throughout the summit, attendees made repeated reference to their “Jewish brothers and sisters” in discussing their shared plight. In fact, the appeals for Christian-Jewish solidarity made in Senator Cruz’s now-infamous keynote address were met with hearty applause. The initial jeers did not come until the senator began to speak off script, and morphed his remarks into what seemed to be a political stump speech on Israel—completely abandoning the conference’s theme, which centered on the persecuted Church.

After the first round of jeers, the junior senator from Texas apparently decided to use the remainder of his address to poke his audience in the eye. He proceeded to give six Christian patriarchs (many of whom rank equivalent to Pope Francis) an education in Middle East affairs and Christianity, even going so low as to question the authenticity of his audience’s Christian faith.

To be clear, amidst the jeers, there were reportedly no statements that could remotely be characterized as anti-Semitic, or even anti-Israel. Most of the statements were along the lines of “enough” and “talk about the Christians.” There are even reports of a religious leader shouting “Stop! You’re going to get us killed!”

How did it get to that point?

Without question, interrupting a speech—even one you disagree with—is of poor taste, and is unacceptable. However, in the course of his “stump speech,” Senator Cruz failed to consider the treacherous political circumstances faced by his audience, composed largely of Middle Eastern minorities wedged between totalitarian thugs and genocidal Salafists. Through this unfortunate event, however, an important lesson became clear.

It’s a fatal mistake to impose the American political paradigm onto a persecuted Middle Eastern minority community. Expecting such a community to pass the American political litmus test on such a sensitive issue demonstrates patent ignorance of their ominous political reality.

While American politicians are only expected to navigate a neatly ordered, two-sided political aisle, based on a constitutional social contract, the Christians of the Middle East are required to navigate a political spider web, dominated by a plethora of conflicting factions, each ready to step on the backs of—or slaughter—minorities to maintain regional superiority.

Christians of the Middle East live in a tough neighborhood—Mr. Cruz need only ask Prime Minister Netanyahu. Unlike the Christians of Israel, who live as free, full citizens of a sovereign state, non-Israeli Christians live as tolerated Dhimmi at best, or persecuted infidels, in their own ancestral lands.

The Middle East is neither a cultural nor political monolith

Contrary to what western media and academia suggest, the Middle East is neither a cultural nor political monolith. The Middle Eastern political milieu is nuanced, and replete with competing factions and interests. The Middle East’s Christian minority must assuage each of the opposing blocs, and their respective interests, for any hope of maintaining socio-political buoyancy.

In Lebanon, a large segment of the Christian demographic has chosen to stand against Hezbollah and Syria at their own peril, while others have elected to work earnestly within the Lebanese political system—of which Hezbollah is a part—to preserve some semblance of national stability. It would be a gross inaccuracy to assert that such Christians are Hezbollah “supporters” when survival necessitates co-existence.

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Pope Francis compares ‘savage attacks’ on Christians to persecution of Jews

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

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Pope Francis compares ‘savage attacks’ on Christians to persecution of Jews

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

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Cool Kid Christian Gulack raises awareness for multiple sclerosis

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Our ABC7 Cool Kid for Thursday, Sept. 18, is Christian Gulack, who is motivated to make a difference in the fight against multiple sclerosis.

He’s taking part in the MS Challenge, a 50-mile walk used to raise awareness and donations to fund research to find a cure. It’s a long course, but Christian says he’s got some very personal connections to MS.

“My aunt, my family, all the people who are affected by it. It’s not just her. We’re all affected by it because she has it and it pushes us all forward,” Christian said.

Christian grew up seeing his family all take part in this walk for his Aunt Kitty and others diagnosed with MS. But he says he had to wait before he could join in.

“You have to be at least 12 years old to walk. And from the time I was 10, I was just saying, ‘As soon as I’m old enough, I want to do that,’” said Gulack.

Christian has been doing just that for three years now. And every time he crosses the finish line, he says he gets a feeling like no other.

“When you’ve raised all your money and you’ve finished the walk and walk down that finish line and you’re done, it’s all worth it. You know you just did something amazing,” said Christian.

Most important to Christian is making sure his Aunt Kitty knows that she’s the motivation behind his efforts.

“That we care and that we love her and that we want her to get better, and that’s the whole reason we’re doing this,” he said.

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can make every step a challenge, but Christian is walking miles to help find a cure.

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Cool Kid Christian Gulack raises awareness for multiple sclerosis

by on Sep.20, 2014, under Christian News Articles

Our ABC7 Cool Kid for Thursday, Sept. 18, is Christian Gulack, who is motivated to make a difference in the fight against multiple sclerosis.

He’s taking part in the MS Challenge, a 50-mile walk used to raise awareness and donations to fund research to find a cure. It’s a long course, but Christian says he’s got some very personal connections to MS.

“My aunt, my family, all the people who are affected by it. It’s not just her. We’re all affected by it because she has it and it pushes us all forward,” Christian said.

Christian grew up seeing his family all take part in this walk for his Aunt Kitty and others diagnosed with MS. But he says he had to wait before he could join in.

“You have to be at least 12 years old to walk. And from the time I was 10, I was just saying, ‘As soon as I’m old enough, I want to do that,’” said Gulack.

Christian has been doing just that for three years now. And every time he crosses the finish line, he says he gets a feeling like no other.

“When you’ve raised all your money and you’ve finished the walk and walk down that finish line and you’re done, it’s all worth it. You know you just did something amazing,” said Christian.

Most important to Christian is making sure his Aunt Kitty knows that she’s the motivation behind his efforts.

“That we care and that we love her and that we want her to get better, and that’s the whole reason we’re doing this,” he said.

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can make every step a challenge, but Christian is walking miles to help find a cure.

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Kurds Boot ISIS Fighters From Christian Villages, Kill Senior Commander; US …

by on Sep.19, 2014, under Christian News Articles

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2

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  • Kurdish Peshmerga
  • A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter
  • A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter

Several Christian villages that were overrun by members of ISIS were recaptured by Kurdish peshmerga forces after a clash in northern Iraq that resulted in the death of a senior commander in the terror group on Tuesday.

Reports from the AFP and AINA highlighted the victories.

In early August, ISIS militants forced tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians to flee their homes in an exodus Christian leaders described as the worst assault on their group in centuries. Iraq’s largest Christian village Qaraqosh and many others were emptied of Christians driven out by ISIS.

On Tuesday, a senior officer with the peshmerga forces, the main security force of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, confirmed that ISIS militants were booted from four villages — Hassan al-Sham, Syudan, Bahra and Jisr al-Khadhr — located in the Nineveh plain region between Erbil and Mosul, which are being used as a main hub by ISIS.

Kurdish security officials also noted that senior ISIS commander Yasin Ali Suleiman Shlash, also known as Abu Abdullah, was killed near Khazir by peshmerga forces on Tuesday.

“He was killed with a number of other terrorists during a military operation by Peshmerga forces in coordination with the U.S. Air Force to liberate Hassan Sham and its vicinities,” Kurdistan Region’s Security Council noted in a statement cited by AINA.

“Abu Abdullah was the mastermind behind the 2007 explosion in front of the ministry of the interior in Erbil,” the statement continued. Abdullah was reportedly a 39-year-old native of Mosul who formerly worked as an Arabic language teacher.

“In 2010 he was arrested by the American forces and later transferred to the jurisdiction of the Iraqi government, where he was set free during the infamous Abu Ghraib jailbreak in 2013 and fled to Syria where he joined the Islamic State group,” the statement noted.

Abdullah reportedly oversaw ISIS’ military operations in Nineveh and is blamed for the abduction of many Yezidi women last month.

The recapture of the Christian villages was confirmed by a cleric in the Chaldean Catholic Church.

“The peshmerga managed to liberate several villages, including Hassan al-Sham and Syudan. (IS) militants have now fled from there,” the cleric told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The United States, U.K., France and other allies against ISIS recently began supplying the Kurdish forces with arms and ammunition.

Last month an official told The Washington Post that the U.S. government had begun directly arming Kurdish forces fighting ISIS via a covert channel established by the CIA. Pentagon officials had said U.S. airstrikes taking place at the time would only serve as a temporary deterrent.

“I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained, or that we are somehow breaking, the momentum of the threat,” Army Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Post.

On Wednesday, Congress approved President Barack Obama’s plan to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS militants according to CNN.

Top U.S. military leaders also approved a plan to strike ISIS targets in Syria Thursday but President Obama has not yet signed off on those plans CNN also reported.

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Islamic State Seizing Business Assets of Christians Who Fled Northern Iraqi City

by on Sep.19, 2014, under Christian News Articles

After prompting the Christian population in parts of Iraq and Syria to flee out of fear for their safety, the Islamic State terror group has begun confiscating the business assets of those who left.

Agence France-Presse reported that Islamic State militants controlling the Iraqi city of Mosul are forcing businesses that are partially owned by Christians or Shiites to turn over the Christian and Shiite portion of the assets to the Sunni jihadist group.

Iraqi Christians, who fled the violence in the city of Mosul, decorate a cross with lights in commemoration of the Elevation of the Holy Cross festival on September 14, 2014, in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. The annual Christian feast marks the recovery of the Cross on which Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 627 AD after defeating the Sassanid Persians. (Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi Christians, who fled the violence in the city of Mosul, decorate a cross with lights in commemoration of the Elevation of the Holy Cross festival on September 14, 2014, in Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. The annual Christian feast marks the recovery of the Cross on which Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 627 AD after defeating the Sassanid Persians. (Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

Witnesses told AFP that armed squads have been going from shop to shop to investigate the religion of the owners and have told them that the absentee owners’ shares must be relinquished.

“This is done verbally by small units who stop at every shop, business and market,” a business owner told AFP. “They are giving us very little notice to hand over those assets and are telling us: ‘If you don’t comply, we will seize everything you own.’”

The Assyrian National News Agency quoting Alsumaria News reported that a deadline of two days was given to comply before the confiscations were to begin.

In this Sunday, June 22, 2014 file photo, a fighter from the militant group who refer to themselves as the Islamic State, distributes a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, to a driver in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The extremist-held Iraqi city of Mosul is set to usher in a new school year. But unlike years past, there will be no art or music, and classes about history, literature and Christianity have been “permanently annulled.” (AP Photo, File)

In this Sunday, June 22, 2014 file photo, a fighter from the militant group who refer to themselves as the Islamic State, distributes a copy of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, to a driver in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. The extremist-held Iraqi city of Mosul is set to usher in a new school year. But unlike years past, there will be no art or music, and classes about history, literature and Christianity have been “permanently annulled.” (AP Photo, File)

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