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[Cfamily]629 Pakistani Girls Trafficked to China as Brides
« Reply #1480 on: December 08, 2019, 12:00:08 AM »

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629 Pakistani Girls Trafficked to China as Brides

Poor Christians were a new target of brokers in 2019, AP investigation finds.


LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country’s poor and vulnerable.


The list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in the trafficking schemes since 2018.


But since the time it was put together in June, investigators’ aggressive drive against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials fearful of hurting Pakistan’s lucrative ties to Beijing.


The biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart. In October, a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence, according to a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case. The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for speaking out.


At the same time, the government has sought to curtail investigations, putting “immense pressure” on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency pursuing trafficking networks, said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from being sent there.


“Some [FIA officials] were even transferred,” Iqbal said in an interview. “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don’t pay any attention.”


Asked ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/1cTkdr77Z5s/pakistan-christian-girls-trafficked-brides-china.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114145.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/december/pakistan-christian-girls-trafficked-brides-china.html
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[Cfamily]What It Means that Jesus Was ‘Without Sin’
« Reply #1481 on: December 09, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
What It Means that Jesus Was ‘Without Sin’

It is central to our faith that Jesus shared our nature. Does that include its fallenness?


As the lights flashed and the music blared out something caught my attention. It wasn’t the flashing lights nor was it the blaring music. As I stood excitedly at my first Chris Tomlin concert I was struck by the lyrics to his song “Jesus Messiah,” a song I was familiar with and had sung in my church many times, but this time, the well-known worship song was different to me.


As the opening chords played, Tomlin began to sing, quoting 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He became sin, who knew no sin. That we might become His righteousness.” I had heard the lyrics before, in fact I had the verses memorized, but for the first time, I found myself asking, “What does this actually mean? What does it mean that Jesus became sin?” This passage had been explained to me as a simple summary of the Gospel—in one sentence!—and yet I suddenly realized something those who explained it to me rarely admitted: it contains a stunning amount of complexity. Did Tomlin know what he was singing? Did I?


So, what connection does Jesus “becoming sin” have to do with my “becoming the righteousness of God?”


Misunderstanding sin?


To answer this question, we must rethink how we understand sin and salvation. Modern theological language surrounding this topic tends to be forensic in nature, meaning that it is focused on laws and ethics. To be a sinner is to be disobedient, to “miss the mark,” to break the law. Therefore, to be “saved” is to be forgiven of our transgressions. While there are forensic aspects to sin and salvation, it is reductionistic to claim that sin is merely the transgression of a law and salvation is merely legal forgiveness of said transgressions. This ...

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https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/november-web-only/what-it-means-that-jesus-was-without-sin.html
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[Cfamily]Egypt’s Christian Women Treated Like Muslims in Inheritance. Until Now?
« Reply #1482 on: December 10, 2019, 12:00:10 AM »
Egypt’s Christian Women Treated Like Muslims in Inheritance. Until Now?

Meanwhile, Coptic activist who insists true religious equality does not yet exist goes to prison on terrorism charges.


Coptic lawyer Huda Nasrallah may have won a great victory for Christian women in Egypt. Last week, a Cairo court ruled in her favor, dividing the family inheritance equally between her and her two brothers.


But a few days earlier, Coptic activist Rami Kamel may have suffered a great setback for all Egyptian believers. He was arrested for his reporting of sectarian tension, and accused of joining a terrorist group.


How should these events be interpreted?


Nasrallah’s verdict followed the decision of two other courts to reject her appeal on the basis of the sharia law stipulation that a male heir receive two-thirds of the inheritance.


This past summer, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) took up her cause. In a campaign called “Christian on ID card, Muslim in Inheritance,” it claimed millions of Coptic women suffer similarly.


Coptic men are sometimes all too willing to go along with it, Nasrallah told the Associated Press. But she is “thrilled” by the verdict, and hopes it will inspire other women.


“It is not really about inheritance; my father did not leave us millions of Egyptian pounds,” she said. “If I didn’t take it to court, who would?”


Many have. A similar verdict was issued in 2016, but it did not succeed in establishing a precedent. Girgis Bebawy, a Coptic lawyer, has failed dozens of times, though according to the AP one of his current cases is due to be argued before the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest.


Might Nasrallah’s novel approach make a difference now?


Rather than appealing to civil, secular equality, Nasrallah based her case on religion. Egypt’s 1938 Coptic Orthodox personal status regulations state that inheritance ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/Y1DPFBLGUkg/egypt-christian-women-inheritance-rami-kamel.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114161.jpg?w=460
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/356612/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-woman-wins-case-against-Islamic-inheritan.aspx
https://eipr.org/press/2019/07/%25D8%25A5%25D8%25B7%25D9%2584%25D8%25A7%25D9%2582-%25D8%25AD%25D9%2585%25D9%2584%25D8%25A9-%25D9%2585%25D8%25B3%25D9%258A%25D8%25AD%25D9%258A%25D8%25A7%25D8%25AA-%25D9%2581%25D9%258A-%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D8%25A8%25D8%25B7%25D8%25A7%25D9%2582%25D8%25A9-%25D9%2585%25D8%25B3%25D9%2584%25D9%2585%25D8%25A7%25D8%25AA-%25D9%2581%25D9%258A-%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D8%25A5%25D8%25B1%25D8%25AB-%25D8%25AA%25D8%25B7%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D8%25A8-%25D8%25A8%25D8%25AD%25D9%2582-%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D9%2585%25D8%25B3%25D9%258A%25D8%25AD%25D9%258A%25D8%25A7%25D8%25AA-%25D9%2581%25D9%258A-%25D8%25A7%25D9%2584%25D8%25A7%25D8%25AD%25D8%25AA%25D9%2583%25D8%25A7%25D9%2585-%25D8%25A5%25D9%2584%25D9%2589
https://apnews.com/a115f4d4a86c4f9b8cdb0802ccf3e5e5
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egypt-court-sides-with-woman-against-unequal-inheritance-law/2019/11/26/bf58d69e-1049-11ea-924c-b34d09bbc948_story.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/december/egypt-christian-women-inheritance-rami-kamel.html
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Amid Christian Crackdown, China Recognizes Missionary Lottie Moon’s Church

The historic designation comes as the government shuts down fellow Christian congregations in the province, leaving advocates to wonder whether it represents propaganda or progress.


As the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) collects its annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, China has designated a church attended by the offering’s namesake a protected historical and cultural site. But a religious liberty watchdog wonders if the designation is part of an effort to deflect attention from religious persecution in the Shandong province.


China’s decision to protect the historic Southern Baptist missionary’s church “is ironic,” given Shandong’s status as “one of the worst places in China” for Christian persecution, said Massimo Introvigne, editor in chief of Bitter Winter, a magazine that monitors religious liberty in China. But “it makes sense” in “the framework of international propaganda.”


“At a time when everybody is talking about religious repression in China,” Introvigne, an Italian sociologist of religion, told Christianity Today, the government may be attempting to state, “You say we are persecuting Christianity in Shandong, but exactly in Shandong we are honoring Lottie Moon.”


News of the historical site designation for Wulin Shenghui Church of Penglai in Shandong broke last month in the Chinese publication China Christian Daily and made its way to the US via a release from the SBC’s International Mission Board, which has received $4.5 billion through the Lottie Moon Offering since its inception 120 years ago. The IMB’s Week of Prayer for International Missions this year is December 1–8.


Wulin Shenghui Church was constructed in 1872 by Southern Baptist missionaries but was closed to foreigners for decades before reopening in the late 1980s. Preserved within the church ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/8oSbVHcB1hY/lottie-moon-church-china-historical-site-sbc.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114239.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2009/july/little-woman-with-big-legacy.html
https://bitterwinter.org/
http://www.chinachristiandaily.com/news/category/2019-11-14/wulin-church-of-shandong--listed-as-national-key-cultural-relic-protection-unit_8652
https://www.imb.org/2019/11/27/lottie-moons-church/
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/december/lottie-moon-church-china-historical-site-sbc.html
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[Cfamily]Died: Reinhard Bonnke, Record-Setting Evangelist to Africa
« Reply #1484 on: December 12, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
Died: Reinhard Bonnke, Record-Setting Evangelist to Africa

Founder of Christ for All Nations, the German Pentecostal held one of the biggest evangelism crusades in history.


German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, whose record-setting crusades led him to be nicknamed “the Billy Graham of Africa,” died Saturday at age 79.


His ministry, Christ for All Nations (CfaN), claims that more than 79 million people came to Christ as a result of Bonnke’s career, which spanned from 1967 until his retirement in 2017. The Pentecostal evangelist preached a prayerful message of Christ’s transforming power while also boasting miracles and healings.


“Those who knew him off-stage can testify to his personal integrity, genuine kindness, and overflowing love for the Lord,” said his successor, CfaN evangelist Daniel Kolenda. “His ministry was inspired and sustained by his rich prayer life, his deep understanding of the Word, and his unceasing intimacy with the Holy Spirit.”


Christianity Today reported from Bonnke’s largest in-person event, where 1.6 million gathered on a single night to hear him preach in Lagos, Nigeria. CT featured Bonnke and his ministry in an issue the following year, calling him “one of the continent’s most recognizable religious figures.” Historians have said that no Western evangelist spent as much time in sub-Saharan Africa as Bonnke.


Following his death, many African Christians offered their condolences on Twitter, saying “Rest well” and “Africa will never forget you.” The government of Nigeria stated that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is Muslim, “joins Christendom at large in mourning the passing of renowned evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, 79, describing his transition as a great loss to Nigeria, Africa & entire world.”


Kenyan politician Esther Passari shared how “I spoke in tongues ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/K2Wk7CGs6iM/reinhard-bonnke-died-evangelist-christ-for-all-nations-afri.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114250.jpg?w=460
https://reinhard.cfan.org/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/novemberweb-only/23.0a.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2001/february5/5.40.html
https://news.ag.org/en/News/The-Last-Crusade
https://twitter.com/NGRPresident/status/1203380334265602048
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/december/reinhard-bonnke-died-evangelist-christ-for-all-nations-afri.html
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[Cfamily]The Bible App’s Most Popular Verse of 2019: ‘Do Not Worry’
« Reply #1485 on: December 13, 2019, 12:00:08 AM »
The Bible App’s Most Popular Verse of 2019: ‘Do Not Worry’

YouVersion users look for comfort the third year in row, while Bible Gateway’s list includes John 3:16 and multiple psalms.


For the third year in a row, YouVersion users clung to exhortations against worry more than any other verses in the Bible.


In 2019 YouVersion users read 35.6 billion chapters and listened to 5.6 billion chapters through its online and mobile Bible app. In all of this reading, Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:6 was the most shared, highlighted, and bookmarked verse of the year: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”


The verse contains similar themes to YouVersion’s most popular verses in 2018, Isaiah 41:10 (“do not fear, for I am with you”) and 2017’s top verse, Joshua 1:9 (“do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”).


Other popular verses in 2019 were Matthew 6:33 and 2 Timothy 1:7.


“We’re encouraged to see so many people turning to the Bible in response to their worries, remembering what God has done in their lives, and choosing to trust in his faithfulness,” said Bobby Gruenewald, pastor and innovation leader for Life.Church and YouVersion founder.


CT previously reported on some of the issues white evangelicals say they worry about, according to a Pew Research Center survey: undergoing a personal health crisis (75%), being able to pay their bills (67%), or being the victim of a home invasion (72%) or terrorist attack (66%).


For Bible Gateway users, the most popular verse of 2019 was a traditional favorite, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus’ well-known summary of the gospel alternates with the  oft-misunderstood Jeremiah 29:11 as the most-searched ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/pyUSidQ4XgA/bible-app-most-popular-youversion-bible-gateway-2019-worry.html
https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114274.jpg?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/december/most-popular-bible-verse-2018-youversion-app-bible-gateway.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/january/youversion-bible-app-2017-top-verses-downloads.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/july/what-christians-worry-about-most-health-terrorism-money-job.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/december/bible-app-most-popular-youversion-bible-gateway-2019-worry.html
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[Cfamily]Inspired Questions: A New Approach to Prison Ministry
« Reply #1486 on: December 14, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
Inspired Questions: A New Approach to Prison Ministry

As we intentionally draw attention to the Scriptures, which reveal Jesus’s power, presence, ministry, words, deeds, miracles, and wisdom, we should also give concerted attention to the very questions the Holy Spirit inspired for us to read and consider.? 


As a full-time prison chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I have searched the Scriptures to learn as much as possible about every person who spent time in prison, like Joseph, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Paul.


I have explored various prison ministries to discover the creative approaches others have taken to sustain faithful and fruitful ministries by God’s grace, like Prison Fellowship, The Institute for Prison Ministries, and The Heart of Texas Foundation.


But one thing I had not considered doing until somewhat recently—nor seen others do elsewhere—is engage inmates with inspired questions.


What Are Inspired Questions?


Inspired questions are the ones already asked in God’s inspired Word—the Bible. Do you remember all the questions God asked Job? Do you recall Queen Sheba traveling far to ask Solomon questions? Have you ever noticed how often Jesus asked and was asked questions?


Indeed, questions are numerically significant in Scripture, even if often overlooked. The New Testament alone contains approximately 980 questions.


For example, here are a few questions Paul asked or was asked in the Book of Acts while in custody:



     
  • “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

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  • “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges?” (Acts 25:9)

  •  
  • “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?” (Acts 26:27)

  •  
  • “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)


Using These Questions for Prison Ministry


As we intentionally draw attention to the Scriptures, which reveal Jesus’s power, presence, ministry, words, deeds, miracles, and wisdom, we should also give concerted attention to the very questions the Holy Spirit inspired ...

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[Cfamily]The How and the Why of Writing as a Christian
« Reply #1487 on: December 15, 2019, 12:00:09 AM »
The How and the Why of Writing as a Christian

An experienced editor shows how well-crafted words can help us serve God and neighbor.


Rarely does an aspiring writer get invited to sit with an ink-dyed editor to hash over the finer points of storytelling. Twenty-five years ago, fresh out of college, I landed a journalism gig at Maine’s smallest daily newspaper, which happened to have a writing coach. Every Friday after our morning deadline, five other staff reporters and I would gather at a local sandwich shop for lunch with Willis, a former Vietnam War correspondent, who would open a manila file filled with clippings of everything we’d written that week and spread them across the table. Then, over burgers and fries, he’d analyze each article, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, showing us how to make our writing stronger. His feedback showed. Despite the paper’s diminutive size, we regularly won top awards from the Maine Press Association.


For those who don’t have access to such a coach, longtime editor Andrew T. Le Peau serves the same wise writing instruction in his new book Write Better: A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality. This is the book for anyone who has said, “I’d like to write, but I don’t know where to begin”—whether you’d like to write a shorter piece for a newspaper or magazine or to write a full-length book. It’s also for those with more experience who’d like to make their writing even better. Le Peau, who worked for more than 40 years as an editor at InterVarsity Press, has also written several Bible studies and books. In the preface to his writing guide he says his desire throughout his career has been “to help people express their ideas as clearly and powerfully as possible.” The same motivation, he says, inspired this book. ...

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