Pastors Facing Death Sentence: ‘We’re Not Afraid’

Two South Sudanese pastors possibly facing execution in Sudan said they are not afraid to die. They’ve been charged with “inciting organized groups” and “offending Islamic beliefs.”

Pastors Yat Michael and David Yein spoke with Sr. International Correspondent George Thomas by phone from their Khartoum jail cell.

Sudan Graphic_zpsmjuo4hhhMichael said he has suffered psychological intimidation and hasn’t talked to his family for two months. He was accused of spying when he was arrested last January.

“When they interviewed me, they asked me why I’m preaching here. I say, ‘I am preaching because this is my call. I am a pastor. I must speak the Word of God,'” Michael told Thomas.

“They say ‘No, you don’t need to preach the Word of God with a hidden agenda,'” he recalled. “I said, ‘No, I don’t have any hidden agenda.’ They accused me because I’m a spy here. They say like that.”

Yein said he’s not afraid because God chose him to suffer. He wants Christians to pray that their imprisonment will be for God’s glory, and that both pastors will be at peace with those who oppose them.

On trial since May 19, they’ve been officially charged with “inciting organized groups” and “offending Islamic beliefs.”  Sudanese law (sharia) requires them to be executed if they are convicted.

Both Christians–who are from South Sudan–say they had no hidden agenda while visiting Khartoum; they were only answering God’s call to share the Word with the people of Sudan.

In an exclusive CBN News interview, Senior International Correspondent George Thomas talked to the two pastors via telephone from their Khartoum prison cell.

Sudanese-PastorsYat Michael told Thomas while he has not suffered physical beating during his imprisonment, he has experienced psychological intimidation. Also, he said it has been two months since he’s been allowed to talk with his family.

Speaking mostly in Arabic, David Yein told Thomas he is “not afraid of anything” because “God chose me to suffer.”
He asks that Christians pray that his suffering will “be for the glory of God” in the prison.

You may watch and listen to each interview here. I’ve also provided a transcript of both interviews and a translation of Yein’s comments which were spoken in Arabic:


TRANSCRIPT:

Reverend Yat Michael: We are fine thanks be to God. We were being here for five to six months since we were arrested. David Yein Was arrested 14th of December up to today. And I was arrested on 11 January up to today.

George Thomas: Have they done anything to you, have they beaten you, have they tried to intimidate you?

Yat Michael: No. They were…it was just only a psychologically incitement because we were being separated from our families for two months without hearing them. That was a tough problem to us.

We came from South Sudan and because of the war in South Sudan we came here in Sudan and we just go to go do our ministry training in our church and then they came to me-especially myself– they arrest me in my house. I don’t know why they do that. When they interviewed me, they asked me why I’m preaching here. I say I am preaching because this is my call. I am a pastor. I must speak the Word of God. They say no, you don’t need to preach the Word of God with a hidden agenda. I said no, I don’t have any hidden agenda. They accused me because I’m a spy here. They say like that.

George Thomas: How are you doing inside the prison, how is your faith?

Yat Michael: Yeah, it is my destination. My faith, I don’t, I don’t even I don’t have a sense of patience 15:28 I must call on my faith. It is not a new thing to me. They just keep us for nothing. They just keep us in the prison for nothing. And they are terrible to us. We are staying in, for confinement without any crime that we commit.

Reverend David Yein:

George: Are you afraid that you could be killed for this?

David Yein: No, I am not afraid of anything….I am never afraid of anything because it is my love, it is my being, because I believe. God chose me to suffer.

(Arabic translated to English)

I’m not afraid from doing my ministry and my message I’m chosen by God. I serve him in any circumstances, be instant in season, out of season.

George Thomas: I’m sure you miss your wives a lot…

David Yein: I missed her. We can’t be together because there is a legal restriction, but she sees me from the window, and she is sure that I’m here. I’m really here with a good condition, but I’m waiting to be outside.

George Thomas: Will you still continue to preach The Gospel?

David Yein: I preach and serve and I’m sending the message of the gospel to the whole world as the lord said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

George Thomas: Have you had a chance to preach The Gospel in prison to other people?

David Yein: We have a church in the prison and we pray with the prisoners and the sentenced and the accused people.

George Thomas: Pastor, how can we pray for you, how can we pray for you and the other brother?

David Yein: We want you to pray that this test be for the glory of God in this place… and for us to be in peace with our people and the ones who are against us.

 

 

(Article from CBN News by Gary Lane at http://www.cbn.com)

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Nepal Christians Return to Worship after Earthquake Turns Churches into Tombs

Nepal Christians Return to Worship after Earthquake Turns Churches into Tombs

Image: Anto Akkara – Catholic leader Paul Simick surveys wreckage of Pentecostal church in Kathmandu.

Maili Tamang clapped and sang along as the remnants of her husband’s Kathmandu church gathered for a noon prayer one week after a massive earthquake collapsed the “roof of the world.”
Injured pastor Jacob Tamang prays with survivors at Vision of Salvation church.

Image: Anto Akkara Injured pastor – Jacob Tamang prays with survivors at Vision of Salvation church.

“In God’s time, anything can happen,” the 55-year-old mother told CT. Tamang lost her husband Maila, her sister, and three other family members when Vision of Salvation church, which rented rooms in a four-story commerical building in the Swayambu area of Nepal’s capital, collapsed with 62 worshipers present. Seventeen members of the Pentecostal church, where Tamang’s husband served as an elder, died, including senior pastor Elia Ghale and his son.

“We cannot decide our future or what happens to us,” she said, surrounded by cracked walls. “Even after the world, we will be with God.”

Family of Maila Tamang mourns Saturday.

Image: Anto Akkara – Family of Maila Tamang mourns Saturday.

Tamang was worshiping at a nearby Pentecostal church when the quake struck.

“I was standing in a row near to the wall and praying when the trembling started. The pastor continued the prayer and suddenly, everything collapsed,” she told CT. “I was half conscious and could heard people screaming. After one hour I was pulled out. While lying there, I knew God would save me.”

Meanwhile, pledging to spread God’s love “even though earthquakes come,” a small evangelical church in Nepal completed on Saturday its worship song interrupted by last week’s natural disaster in the Himalayan Mountains.

Maili Tamang lost her husband Maila, her sister, and three other family members when Vision of Salvation church collapsed.

Image: Anto Akkara – Maili Tamang lost her husband Maila, her sister, and three other family members when Vision of Salvation church collapsed.

The first-hand account from the International Mission Board is one of many reports surfacing of how Nepal’s Christian minority is regrouping after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake collapsed many churches during their main weekly worship services.

Reporting by CT in Kathmandu reveals that an accurate tally of churches destroyed and Christians killed remains hard to come by, since anecdotal reports can be duplicated or exaggerated. But it is clear that many Christians died in their churches during weekly prayers. (The Baptist World Alliance reports about 150 Christian deaths have been confirmed.)

“I am getting reports of entire Christian families being wiped out in Kathmandu and outside,” Simon Pandey, chairman of the National Christian Fellowship of Nepal, told CT in an interview from his home in a Lalitpur suburb.

If the quake had occurred half an hour earlier, he noted, the casualties in churches would have been much higher. (Many Hindus died during worship services also.)

The wreckage of Elssadai church in Kathmandu.

Image: Global Mission Nepal – The wreckage of Elssadai church in Kathmandu.

“The evangelical churches have suffered terrible tragedies,” Kala Bahadur Rokaya, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Nepal, told CT. “It will take time to count the deaths among Christians across Nepal. Many areas are still cut off.” He feared more bad news was yet to come from mountainous and remote districts such as Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, and Nuwakot, which have many evangelical churches.

Of Nepal’s Christians—which comprise between one and three percent of the country’s 30-million population—Protestants were disproportionately affected by the disaster, a Catholic leader told CT.

A destroyed Nepalese church.

Image: Thir K.C. – A destroyed Nepalese church.

The earthquake, which killed more than 6,000 people, damaged dozens of churches in and around Kathmandu, Nepal’s largest city. A partner of Wycliffe Associates filmed the aftermath.“The Catholics were lucky as we don’t have church prayers at noon,” Bishop Paul Simick told CT as he observed the wreckage of Vision of Salvation church. (CBN News also reports on the tragedy.)

(Article from Christianity Today by Morgan Lee at http://www.christianitytoday.com/)

ISIS Executes Ethiopian Christians in Libya

The Islamic State released a new video Sunday that appears to show the coordinated executions of dozens of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

The video depicts ISIS gunmen shooting the Christians in a desert area.  It also shows ISIS killers beheading other believers on a beach.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is condemning this latest atrocity by the jihadist army.

“Our fellow citizens have just been killed on a faith-based violence that is totally unacceptable. This is outrageous,” a church spokesperson said.

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck offered his insight on this latest ISIS atrocity on The 700 Club, April 20. Click play to watch the interview.

ISIS may have chosen Ethiopian Christians in part because of Ethiopia’s attacks on neighboring Somalia. Its population is largely Muslim. So far, the Ethiopian government has not responded to the killings.

The latest video is similar to one released in February that shows the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach.  The Egyptian government immediately responded to that with air strikes.

The new video represents the indicates growing strength of ISIS in Libya, and comes as the terrorist group continues to show strength in both Europe and the U.S.

Former German rapper Denis Cuspert is featured in a new ISIS video that threatens to activate sleeper cells in Germany, Britain and Australia.

There’s also concern in Britain about a friend of the radical Muslim Anjem Choudary taking his four children to a part of Syria controlled by ISIS.

In the U.S., authorities arrested six people on Sunday as part of a nationwide probe to locate those in this country that are recruiting for ISIS overseas.

“This radicalization piece cannot be underestimated,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, warned.

“The social media campaign and savviness of ISIS and the propaganda is what greatly concerns us as Homeland Security officials because they can radicalize from within the United States – sort of the enemy within the United States,” he said.

Another threat: terrorists training overseas and returning to the U.S. to launch an attack.

An Ohio man is being accused of just that after training with terrorists in Syria. The FBI says Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud was planning to kill U.S. soldiers, execution style.

Meanwhile, the latest ISIS execution video has not been verified.  But it appears to show the growing influence strength and resolve of what is clearly an international terror threat.

(Article taken from CBN News at http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2015/April/Video-ISIS-Executes-Ethiopian-Christians-in-Libya/)

Ecuadorean Preacher Fined $3,000, Banned From Politics for Calling Homosexuality ‘Immoral’

An evangelical preacher in Ecuador who ran for president earlier this year has been sentenced after he was found guilty of violating the country’s electoral code by speaking against homosexual behavior.

Nelson Zavala has been fined for more than $3,000 and banned from running for office or being involved with any political party for one year because of his speech, which reportedly occurred in February.

Zavala is being penalized for comments that he made while on the campaign trial in regard to the nation’s legalization of homosexual “marriage,” which he opposed. He had allegedly stated that he believes homosexual behavior is “immoral” and that it is a “severe deviation of conduct.” Zavala had also remarked on several occasions that homosexuals were sinners.zavala_l

Following his statements, a number of homosexual groups complained to the electoral court, and Zavala was required to appear for a hearing.

In analyzing the matter, Judge Patricia Baca Mancheno ruled that Zavala’s speech violated the country’s electoral code, which “forbids candidates of publicly expressing any thoughts that discriminate or affect other people’s dignity or utilize symbols, expressions or allusions of a religious nature.” She then handed down the sentence, barring the preacher from participating in politics for an entire year.

Homosexuals in Ecuador cheered Zavala’s punishment, declaring that the sentencing was a “milestone” for their cause.

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However, the former political candidate decried Mancheno’s ruling, which he said was contrary to the law of God.

“On what they judge me, they will be judged. They don’t have interference in heaven,” he said boldly. “One day God will judge everything, and be prepared to explain to God why you called evil good, and good evil.”

He plans to appeal the sentence.

zavala18Zavala’s sentence comes just weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a guilty verdict against a pro-family activist  in the nation, who had distributed flyers over a decade ago to express his concerns about a homosexual pride parade in his city, as well as homosexuality being taught in schools. As previously reported, William Whatcott was convicted of a hate crime for expressing sentiments that targeted a certain people group.

“The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” stated one flyer that was found to be in violation, citing 1 Corinthians 6:9. “Scripture records that Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Whatcott was also convicted of hate speech for using the word “sodomites” and speaking against “two men sodomizing each other,” among other phrases.

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(Source from Christian New Network at http://www.christiannews.net)

Don’t Just Manage Your Time, Steward It: 5 Keys

palms-clockThe wise stewardship of our time is a very spiritual matter. The Lord has graciously given us a predetermined amount of time, and we are responsible to utilize it with wisdom.

As Oswald Sanders points out in his classic work Spiritual Leadership, each of us has the same amount of time each day as the president of the United States. How can we maximize the time that has been given? How can we rid ourselves of some of the wasted time?

While this list is not inerrant or exhaustive, here are five practices I have learned thus far on stewarding time.

1. Plan ahead.

Instead of rolling into your day with no plan, know the most important projects, conversations, decisions and actions that need to happen as you begin your day. Otherwise you can easily wander into the day, do some less-value-adding work, and kind of just exist.

For me, I look at each upcoming day the night before the new day begins. I make a list, sometimes mental, sometimes on paper, of the most important things that must happen the next day. Doing so helps me begin my day with a plan. Not doing so would put me in a reactive posture. I could still be busy, but I would quite possibly be busy doing the wrong things.

2. Attack the day.

There is a difference in beginning the day with an offensive posture and beginning the day with a defensive posture.

With a defensive posture, you will likely invest more time on the less important, and less time on the most important. If you don’t attack the day with a commitment to throw your best energy into the most important, the inbox or voicemail can grab your best energy. You will likely spend more time than you need to on less important items, issues, etc.

With an attack mentality, the items in the inbox and the voicemail still get your attention, but they get the appropriate attention.

3. Redeem dead times.

Having a plan for the day with an attack mentality inevitably leads to a desire to redeem dead times. Dead times are often the spaces between events that can either be squandered or utilized. Drive times and wait times are most common:

Drive times: Instead of constantly clicking “scan” on the radio button, use your drive time for learning or connecting. Zig Ziglar coined the phrase “automobile university” to describe how much learning can be accomplished while driving. Likewise, the drive time is great to knock out several phone calls.

Wait times: I will use Ben and Scott to illustrate. They are on the same flight from Atlanta to Miami.

Since the flight is roughly 90 minutes and there is probably only 40 minutes where you cannot use your laptop, Ben decides to thumb through the Sky magazine in front of him. After all, he does not want to pay $5.99 to be on the Internet for 40 minutes.

Scott, however, comes to the airport with a plan. After checking in, he begins reading the book he has been studying. Once seated, he continues reading until the passengers are cleared to use their computers. Over the next 40 minutes, he types up several emails in a Word doc so he can simply copy and paste them later. When the time comes to shut the computer down, Scott trades his computer for the book and continues reading.

A very different use of 90 minutes.

Be wise about the above. When you are on a date with your wife, don’t view the time between the appetizer and the main course as a “wait time to be redeemed.” Wait times are big chunks of time that would otherwise be squandered. When you are with people, be present. Don’t put projects above people.

4. Create space for the big projects.

I find that major projects, plans, messages, leadership lessons, etc. need large chunks of time to prepare effectively. Four hours of preparation in one chunk is massively more fruitful than eight 30-minute blocks of time.

For this reason, I keep three to four big items on my desktop and block off several big chunks of time a week. It is much more effective to use the 30-minute blocks of time for emails and quick meetings.

5. Close the day: zero out your inbox.

As the day ends, I find it very helpful to answer my emails and plan for the next day. If there is an email that will require further follow-up, I move it to a follow-up folder. It is a small move, but it gives me the sense that I am beginning the new day with a fresh perspective.

 

(Article taken from Church Leaders (http://www.churchleaders.com) written by Dr. Eric Geiger, executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami.)

 

THE BIBLE

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family.

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television miniseries on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

The Bible Mini-Series Debuted on the 3rd March 2013 on The History Channel

The highly anticipated mini-series, The Bible, debuted on the History Channel in what is sure to be one of the networks highest rated shows in years. What started out as the subject of a casual conversation over tea four years ago, has turned into a 20 million dollar special effects blocthe-biblekbuster that producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank) says rivals big budget Hollywood films.

“No one had tried to tie it all together and use modern computer graphics to bring images like Moses parting the Red Sea to life on screen,” said Burnett.

What sets The Bible apart from similar attempts is instead of looking at the bible as a whole giving viewers an overview of the book, Burnett chose to focus on specific stories in the bible, delving deep into each characters story, emotionally engaging the audience. After slowly depicting the story of creation, The Bible detailed the lives of two of the bible’s better known subjects, Abraham and Moses, giving viewers a never before seen glimpse into their lives.

Burnett shot the majority of The Bible in the deserts of Morocco in 2012 to give the film an “authentic look and feel.”

For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible come to life in a way never before seen – with two episodes airing each week. The final episode of the miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Biblical Accuracy & The BibleIC1562420_l

The Bible miniseries is not a documentary, it is a scripted, acted docu-drama filmed on location in the Middle East and Morocco. Inspired by re-watching the classic Ten Commandments film, the Mark Burnett and Roma Downey set out to show the scarlet thread of redemption found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, using the latest special effects and quality film-making techniques.

To help insure the accuracy of the miniseries many Christian scholars served as advisors and hundreds of Christian leaders have given their endorsement for the miniseries – click here to see endorsements.

According to an interview with Ms. Downey the miniseries, “…is being made with full hearts. We’ve had scholars and theologians help. We’re not pretending to be biblical experts. We brought experts in once the scripts were created to take a look at the scripts to make sure we were accurate and true to the Bible, but obviously we’re making a movie, and so we breathed creative expansion into that.”

Endorsements

rw“I’ve probably seen most, if not all, of the films about the Bible produced in the past 50 years. This one stands alone, in a class by itself, as the best I’ve ever seen. Brilliantly produced with stunning cinematography, a Hans Zimmer score and academy-worthy acting, it stands head-and-shoulder above the rest. Too many ‘Bible’ films end up feeling like documentaries, with stilted dialog, second-class sets, and narration that feels like a lecture. In contrast, this series, draws you into the story from the start. The key to its effectiveness is that it lets the Bible speak for itself, without commentary, excuse or qualification, which makes it unique. This is living history at its best!”
– Dr. Rick Warren, Author, What On Earth Am I Here For?, The Purpose Driven Life

tj“Unlike any other film or miniseries I’ve ever encountered, The Bible brings the Word of God to life in the full richness of its scope, diversity, power, and magnificence. History and mystery collide as Mark Burnett and Roma Downey infuse every scene with their divinely inspired vision for sharing the poetic beauty and timeless wisdom of Scripture. This series helps us all to experience the flesh-and-blood stories of the Bible in a new light and draws us to the Divine Author who continues writing His eternal masterpiece. You will be enthralled, encouraged, and inspired by The Bible – seeing really is believing!”
– Bishop T.D. Jakes, author, pastor, The Potter’s House

lp“I can’t think of anyone better than producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey to bring to television The Bible. The Holy Bible is the greatest book ever written, for in its pages God Himself speaks to mankind. I’m thrilled that this coming Spring 2013 millions of people, many for the first-time, will discover through this 10-hour docudrama the history, power, inspiration and life changing message of the Bible. The Bible alone truly answers the greatest questions of life. I’ve seen video clips of Mark and Roma’s straightforward interpretation of some of these greatest stories in history as told in The Bible and the production is absolutely captivating, especially the telling of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This will easily do for the History Channel what Roots did for ABC-TV back in 1977.”
– Luis Palau, president of Luis Palau Ministries

 

(Content taken from The Bible at http://www.bibleseries.tv/ and Outreach at http://www.outreach.com/campaigns/the-bible-resources.aspx)