20 Cuban Pastors and Spouses Killed in Plane Crash

20 Cuban Pastors and Spouses Killed in Plane Crash

Nazarene officials say ‘God is still in control’ after regional leaders die on the way home from Havana retreat. A group of Cuban church leaders died in a plane crash Friday on the way home from a denominational retreat in Havana. The ten married couples, co-pastors from Holguín in East Cuba, had spent three days at a Nazarene seminary in the island’s capital. They sang and prayed together on the bus back to Jose Marti International Airport to catch their return flight, Cuba Church of the Nazarene President Leonel López told Nazarene Communications Network (NCN) News. But they never made it back home. The 20 pastors were among more than 100 people killed when their Boeing 737 airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Havana around noon on Friday. Just three survivors remain. It’s the deadliest aviation accident in Cuba in three decades. “In this moment of anguish and pain, we ask for...Read more
In Shadow of Death, Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews Seek Reconciliation

In Shadow of Death, Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews Seek Reconciliation

Local body of Christ heartbroken by Jerusalem embassy move and Gaza border violence. Hanna Maher’s wife is nine months pregnant, due any day now, with only four hours of daily electricity. Her two older boys scurry about in the dark, kept ignorant by parents about the dead at the border. But it is hard to be ignorant in Gaza. A Norwegian charity estimates 56 percent of children in the Palestinian territory suffer from traumatic nightmares. Suicide, rarely seen culturally, is a growing concern. Maher, an Egyptian-born Baptist pastor, says some at the border see death as the best option. Two million people are squeezed into a coastal strip roughly the size of Philadelphia. Exit is severely restricted on one side by Israel. The waiting list into Egypt is 40,000 names long. Unemployment is over 40 percent. Clean drinking water is hard to come by. And on May 14, as tens of thousands massed...Read more
One-on-One with Karl Vaters on ‘Small Church Essentials’

One-on-One with Karl Vaters on ‘Small Church Essentials’

Instead of striving for church growth, I encourage churches and pastors to work on increasing their capacity for effective ministry. Ed: How did you come to write Small Church Essentials? Karl: Small churches are, by far, the most common expression of the gathered body of Christ. But they are highly undervalued and grossly under-resourced. I know because I’ve been pastoring in small churches for most of my ministry, including the small church I’ve been at for the last 25 years. Despite the fact that we’re a healthy, vibrant, worshipping, missional church in very populated area, we’ve remained small. That so-called ‘failure’ caused so much frustration and discouragement that I almost left the pastoral ministry. Then, a friend and counselor encouraged me to find ways of measuring church effectiveness beyond the numbers. That led me to write my first book, The Grasshopper Myth. As I’ve...Read more
Trump’s Plan to Defund Planned Parenthood Cheers Pro-Life Advocates

Trump’s Plan to Defund Planned Parenthood Cheers Pro-Life Advocates

Administration prepares to propose Title X funding cuts for abortion providers. Pro-life evangelicals are celebrating another move by the Trump administration to cut federal funding for abortion. According to reports, the White House is expected to announce new regulations prohibiting Planned Parenthood and other entities that make abortion referrals from receiving grant money through Title X, the government’s quarter-billion-dollar family planning program. Already, Title X funds cannot be used for abortion itself. But Planned Parenthood still receives more than $50 million every year to cover birth control and other services for low-income and uninsured patients. Under the new policy, clinics could not accept the money at all if they perform or recommend abortions. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called the...Read more
God Hates Gun Violence

God Hates Gun Violence

We American Christians have a biblical call to reduce firearm deaths in our land. Violence enters the human story from nearly the beginning: “While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him” (Gen. 4:8). The Genesis narrative notes that violence soon becomes endemic. In a mere two chapters, we read, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence” (Gen. 6:11). And “God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth’ ” (Gen. 6:13). God hates violence. We see that especially in the prophets. Ezekiel: “He [God] said to me, ‘Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the people of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger?’ ”...Read more

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