‘Terrorist’ murdered soldier ‘in cold blood,’ Canada’s Prime Minister says

Police enter Canada's Parliament building on Wednesday, October 23, in Ottawa. A Canadian soldier was fatally shot at the National War Memorial nearby, and there were gunshots at the Parliament building itself, Ottawa police spokesman Marc Soucy said. One male suspect was also killed, police said.

Police enter Canada’s Parliament building on Wednesday, October 23, in Ottawa. A Canadian soldier was fatally shot at the National War Memorial nearby, and there were gunshots at the Parliament building itself, Ottawa police spokesman Marc Soucy said. One male suspect was also killed, police said.

Continue reading

Iraqi Christians flee after Isis issue Mosul ultimatum

Iraqi Christians pray at a church outside the city of Mosul after fleeing violence - 1 July 2014

Iraqi Christians pray at a church outside the city of Mosul after fleeing violence – 1 July 2014

Continue reading

David Platt: Casual, Cultural Christianity Is Leading People to Hell

David Platt speaks at the 2013 Verge Conference at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas, on Friday, March 1, 2013.

(Photo: Verge Conference video)

David Platt spoke on the issue of discipleship at this year’s Verge Conference, asking what it means to know Christ biblically and to be an actual disciple of Jesus Christ. “How we answer the question will affect in every way how we make disciples,” Platt told thousands of attendees Friday at the The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

“We’re living in a day when it means almost nothing to be a Christian,” said Platt, sharing recent statistics that show many self-professed believers in the U.S. are “marginally committed to Jesus,” which he said shows that many are “deceived” about their relationship with Christ.

“There are a whole lot of people in our country who think that they are Christians but they are not,” he added, noting that there are many Americans who “culturally identify themselves as Christians and biblically are not followers of Christ.” He cited Jesus as saying in Matthew 7:21 of the Bible that “not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The focus of the 2013 Verge Conference is disciple making, with various speakers focused on “getting to the core of the content, context, culture and process of making and multiplying Gospel-centered, reproducing disciples.”

While focusing on Matthew 4’s account of Jesus calling Peter to be his disciple, or to follow him, Platt also painted a picture of Jesus as savior, messiah and the “center of all history.”

Knowing that God in the flesh Himself is saying “follow me,” should impress hearers with the weight of that call, he insisted.

“We need to feel the weight and the wonder of the one who’s speaking here,” he said, adding, “It’s either turn and run, or bow and worship.”

“This Jesus is more worthy than nominal adherence and casual association,” the minister added while admonishing self-professed Christians “who confess Jesus” but whose lives “don’t look any different” than the lives of nonbelievers.

The evangelical Christian minister emphasized, “When you know this Christ, everything begins to change in your life.”

Platt, who leads The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., insisted that churches need to “stop selling” the sinner’s prayer as the benchmark for a genuine commitment to Christ, which implies that no real life change is necessary.

“You become a follower of Jesus and you lose your life as you know it,” he said, rattling off a list that includes status, material pleasure and relationships as things that are often lost and sacrificed for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom.

“That may sound extreme to some, but don’t forget who the ‘me’ is here,” Platt added. “It doesn’t make sense until you realize who Jesus is” and it is “stunning” to consider the reality of the Gospel being all about Jesus “running after us” although people are the one who need him.

Following Jesus calls for “radical abandonment” of one’s life for his glory and living with an urgent obedience to the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:16-20) – because following Jesus “inevitably leads to making disciples for Jesus,” concluded Platt.

The Christian Church needs to shake off the “spectator mentality” that allows people to sit by while others are on a path to hell, he added.

“We waste … our lives away like that and the cost will be great for us and the Church [because] we are content with not making disciples for all the nations,” Platt said, adding that the consequences of “casual, cultural Christianity [are] eternally tragic.”

Platt, author of Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live, was among dozens of speakers scheduled to speak at the 2013 Verge Conference running from Feb. 28-March 2. Other speakers include Francis Chan, with whom Platt leads the disciple-making initiative known as the “Multiply Movement,” as well as Dr. John Perkins, Matt Carter, Jo Saxton and Jeff Vanderstelt, among several others.

Verge is an annual conference that brings together church leaders, students, entrepreneurs, urban innovators and others to help better equip them in implementing the Gospel in their ministries, communities and organizations.

.

top of page ^

Imprisoned American says Iranian captors ‘waiting for me to deny Christ’

pastor saeed 3.jpg

Pastor Saeed Abedini (Courtesy of ACLJ)

Saeed Abedini.jpg
Saeed Abedini is seen with his family.

American pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed in a notoriously brutal Iranian prison for his Christian faith, is facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs, according to supporters.

The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in his latest country, detailed “horrific pressures” and “death threats,” is a letter to family members, according to his U.S.-based attorneys.

 

“They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”

– Pastor Saeed Abedini

 “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky,” read the letter, sneaked out of Evin prison in Tehran. “They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”

Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in Christian house churches. The American Center for Law and Justice has provided legal support for Abedini’s family in the U.S. and is working through various government means to help win the pastor’s release. ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said the fact that the torture is happening after Abedini’s trial, a sham he and his attorney were not even allowed to attend, is particularly chilling.

“This is post conviction,” Sekulow said. “This isn’t about a trial. This is about life, and the message is you will be treated this way until you become a Muslim.”

Family and friends of Abedini have long suspected the worst regarding his treatment in the prison, but the latest letter confirmed their fears.

“This is only second time we’ve heard from him, but this makes sense in light of how Christians are being treated in Iran,” Sekulow said. “He can’t communicate this message every day. It’s our job to get this important message out to everyone.”

Abedini has denied evangelizing in Iran since being arrested and admonished more than a decade ago. He has made over nine trips to Iran since 2009, but says he traveled to visit family and friends, and on his last trip over the summer of 2012, finalize details on a family established orphanage. Authorities pulled him off a bus last August and threw him into Evin prison.

“It is heart wrenching to hear of Saeed’s continued abuse and torture in the Iranian prison. We have known for some time that he is facing physical and psychological abuse. Now our worst fears have been confirmed,” said his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, in reaction to the most recent letter.

The ACLJ, along with its European affiliate, filed a document last week with the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) calling on Iran to immediately release Abedini, citing Iran’s violations of international law and human rights abuses.

Also last week, more than 80 members of Congress sent a bi-partisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to “exhaust every possible option to secure Mr. Abedini’s immediate release.” The letter stated that “[a]s a U.S. citizen, Mr. Abedini deserves nothing less than the exercising of every diplomatic tool of the U.S. government to defend his basic human rights.”

The ACLJ’s #SaveSaeed campaign and petition continues to gather momentum with over 300,000 signatures and a global effort to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to keep international pressure on this case.

.

top of page ^