Posts from January 2016 (Page 19)

North Carolina Pastor Calms, Prays With Man Who Walked Into Church Service Hoisting a Rifle: ‘Spirit of God Was Definitely in the Place’

Image via Facebook/Larry O. Wright Sr.

When a man wielding a rifle walked into a North Carolina church on New Year’s Eve, the pastor took action — by praying with him.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, reportedly walked into Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville, North Carolina approximately 20 minutes before midnight, saying that the Lord had told him to go to the church prior to doing something wrong. Pastor Larry Wright, 57, said he noticed the man as he walked into his church — hoisting the gun in the air in one hand and holding loaded ammunition clips in another hand — and stepped down from his pulpit to meet him in the middle of the sanctuary.

Image via Facebook/Larry O. Wright Sr.

“Can I help you,” Wright, who is also a city councilman and retired soldier, recalled asking the stranger, according to the Fayetteville Observer. “If he was belligerent, I was going to tackle him.”

Instead, Wright was able to speak calmly with the man and eventually took the gun from him. After patting him down, he encouraged four deacons to individually embrace the man so that he would feel welcome at the church. Wright also prayed with the man.

The stranger was invited to sit in the front pew and at the conclusion of the service, Wright said he came forward and “gave his life to Christ.”

Police were called but were instructed to wait outside so as not to disrupt the rest of the service as the man did not appear to be a threat, Wright told the Observer.

According to CNN, before walking out of the church to meet the police officers, the man spoke to the congregation of about 60 and apologized.

“It’s so hard to describe, to explain the excitement and love of God in the room. This man came in to do harm, and he has given his life to Christ,” Wright told CNN.

Sylvester Loving, a deacon at the church, said members of the congregation had talked earlier that evening about recent violence against churches nationwide.

“I think that night the spirit of God was definitely in the place,” Loving, 67, said.

According to Fayetteville Police Lt. David McLaurin, the incident was noted as a “call for service,” and the man was taken to a mental health facility voluntarily.

Wright said that he hopes to contact the man in the future.

“I want to follow up with him and see that he’s getting the help and resources he needs,” the pastor said.

According to Wright’s city council website, he served for more than 20 years in the military. He received his Ph.D. in theology from Tabernacle Bible Seminary.

A Fayetteville Police Department spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment over the weekend from TheBlaze.

Carson Advisor Takes Jab at Cruz on Faith, Insists Carson ‘Only True Authentic Evangelical’ in Race

A longtime advisor to Ben Carson seemingly questioned 2016 rival Ted Cruz’s devotion to his faith Thursday, adding that he thought the retired neurosurgeon was in fact the “only true authentic evangelical Christian” running for president.

Armstrong Williams, who serves as Carson’s business manager, but has no official role in his political campaign, stressed Carson’s devout faith during a New Year’s Eve CNN appearance.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Seh40zDiv4&w=650&h=366]

“You know, listen: Dr. Carson, in my opinion, is the only true authentic evangelical Christian in the race,” he said. “He is very sincere, he is very real.”

Williams then implied Cruz and Donald Trump don’t live their lives in accordance with the faith they espouse.

“There are a lot of people who talk a good game about their faith, including Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz — Dr. Carson lives it,” he said.

The comments from Williams came just hours after Carson’s campaign manger, deputy campaign manager and communications director left the campaign.

The remarks also come as Trump touts his evangelical faith in Iowa and goes after Cruz by urging voters to “just remember” that, to his knowledge, “not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba.”

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Following Backlash, U.S. Air Force Academy Allows Football Players to Pray on the Field

Image source: Military Religious Freedom Foundation

The United States Air Force Academy will allow football players to keep praying before games.

The USAFA issued its response after a letter penned by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed that the prayers were illegal and unconstitutional.

Earlier this month, MRFF President and Air Force Academy alumnus Mikey Weinstein told the Air Force Times that Christian cadets kneeling on the field to pray is a “disgrace” and a “putrid example of fundamentalist Christian supremacy, triumphalism and exhibitionism.”

Image source: Military Religious Freedom Foundation

On December 28 the MRFF published a cartoon depicting USAFA cadets as Muslims kneeling on prayer mats while facing east. MRFF explained the cartoon was meant to create speculation as to whether prayer would be allowed for Muslim cadets, rather than Christian ones.

The Academy reviewed and investigated the complaint, but concluded that players are free to follow their own religious beliefs.

“The United States Air Force Academy will continue to reaffirm to cadets that all Airmen are free to practice the religion of their choice or subscribe to no religious belief at all,” the USAFA said in a statement. “The players may confidently practice their own beliefs without pressure to participate in the practices of others.”

The MRFF released a statement Thursday expressing its discontent.

“By allowing public prayer by the football players in Air Force uniform, command is officially endorsing one religion–Christianity.”

Obama Reveals New Year’s Resolution — and It has Everything to Do With Guns

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press at Indian Springs High School December 18, 2015 in San Bernardino, California, after meeting with loved ones of shooting victims. Obama, who is traveling to Hawaii for vacation, is stopping in San Bernardino, California to visit with victims of a mass shooting earlier this month. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

HONOLULU (TheBlaze/AP) — President Barack Obama unveiled his New Year’s resolution on Friday, saying that he plans to move forward on tackling the nation’s “unfinished business” surrounding the “epidemic of gun violence.”

“My New Year’s resolution is to move forward on our unfinished business as much as I can and I’ll be more frequently asking for your help,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “That’s especially true for one piece of unfinished business: our epidemic of gun violence.”

Obama said that he will meet Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss executive actions he could take to make it harder for “a dangerous few” to get their hands on guns. While he said that America cannot stop every act of violence, he implored politicians to take action.

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, but what if we tried to stop even one?” he asked. “What if Congress did something, anything to protect our kids from gun violence?”

Obama said that he gets so many letters from parents, teachers and children about the “epidemic of gun violence” that he can’t “sit around and do nothing.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn26qIcp9zQ&w=650&h=360]

“The gun lobby is loud and well organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone,” Obama said. “The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and well organized in our defense of our kids.”

Obama recently directed staff at the White House to look into potential executive actions, such as expanding background checks.

Currently, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to seek background checks on potential firearm purchasers. But advocacy groups say some of the people who sell firearms at gun shows are not federally licensed, increasing the chance of sales to customers prohibited by law from purchasing guns.

A source familiar with the administration’s efforts said Obama is expected to take executive action next week that would set a “reasonable threshold” for when sellers have to seek a background check. That person didn’t know whether it would be based on the number of guns sold or revenue generated through gun sales.

The source, a member of a gun control advocacy group, was not authorized to discuss details before the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity. White House officials won’t confirm the timing.

Obama is in Hawaii for his annual holiday vacation with his family.

The National Rifle Association opposes expanded background check systems. The organization’s Institute for Legislative Action says studies have shown that people sent to state prison because of gun crimes typically get guns through theft, the black market or family and friends.

Also, many purchases by criminals are made from straw purchasers who pass background checks. “No amount of background checks can stop these criminals,” says the group’s website.

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press at Indian Springs High School December 18, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama has consistently expressed frustration after mass shootings, saying it shouldn’t be so easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.

Going into his final year in office, Obama said his New Year’s resolution is to move forward on unfinished business.

“That’s especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that’s our epidemic of gun violence,” Obama said in his weekly address.

He said a bipartisan bill from three years ago requiring background checks for virtually everyone had huge support, including among a majority of NRA households. But the Senate blocked it.

He said tens of thousands of Americans have since died as a result of gun violence.

“Each time, we’re told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything,” he said. “We know that we can’t stop every act of violence. But what if we tried to stop even one?”

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‘All Lives Are Sacred’: InterVarsity Responds After Controversy Over Conference Speaker’s Comments About Abortion and Black Lives Matter

A statement published on the InterVarsity website

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical college ministry, has responded after a keynote speaker at its Urbana conference expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and made controversial comments about the fight against abortion and Planned Parenthood.

The evangelical organization has come forward in the wake of the speech to reiterate that its leaders believe that “all lives are sacred — born and unborn,” seeking to dispel any notion that they are “dismissive of pro-life concerns.”

As TheBlaze previously reported, Michelle Higgins, director of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group in St. Louis, Missouri, and an active member of the Black Lives Matter movement, grabbed attention this week for a speech that she delivered at Urbana, a student missions conference that is co-sponsored by InterVarsity.

Higgins delivered favorable remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the keynote address, and issued some strong comments about the abortion fight — claims that sparked questions and push-back among pro-life advocates.

A statement published on the InterVarsity website

“In the United States, there are 100,000 children in foster homes. In the United States, there are 300,000 churches who identify as Protestant, so our Catholic brothers and sisters — they’re not even on that list,” she said. “We can wipe out the adoption crisis tomorrow. We could wipe it out this week, but we’re too busy arguing to have abortion banned, we’re too busy arguing to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Huggins continued, “We are too busy withholding mercy from the living, so that we might display a big spectacle of how much we want mercy to be shown to the unborn. Where is your mercy? … What is your goal in only doing activism that makes you comfortable?”

InterVarsity released brief statements to TheBlaze on Thursday before delving deeper into an explanation of its views on Black Lives Matter in a statement published on the organization’s website.

“We want to dispel any perception that InterVarsity is dismissive of pro-life concerns, and we want to refocus attention on the core issues raised by that session,” a spokesperson told TheBlaze. “We would be even happier if people looked at the whole of Urbana’s emphases.”

The statement continued by noting that InterVarsity believes that “all lives are sacred — born and unborn.” The response also included a quote from the organization’s interim president, Jim Lundgren, who said, “Scripture is clear about the sanctity of life: that is why I’m both pro-life and committed to the dignity of my black brothers and sisters.”

Watch Higgins’ remarks below:

In a separate explanation published on the InterVarsity website, the organization highlighted its 75-year dedication to the Christian gospel, proclaiming that “scripture and gospel are non-negotiables” for the group, going on to explain why the Urbana conference addressed the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We chose to address #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15, InterVarsity’s Student Missions Conference, because it is a language and experience of many college students,” the statement said. “Many Black InterVarsity staff and students report that they are physically and emotionally at risk in their communities and on campus. About one-half of those at Urbana 15 are people of color, including more than 1,200 Black participants.”

InterVarsity was careful to note that the organization does not endorse every element of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“For instance, we reject any call to attack or dehumanize police,” the statement continued. “But – using the language of Francis Schaeffer and Chuck Colson – we are co-belligerents with a movement with which we sometimes disagree because we believe it is important to affirm that God created our black brothers and sisters. They bear his image. They deserve safety, dignity and respect.”

The group believes in advancing racial reconciliation “as an expression of the gospel,” saying that it is “important to stand alongside our black bothers and sisters.”

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She Left a Frustrated Note on a Stranger’s Windshield After the Person Parked in Her Private Spot. What Happened Next Shocked Her.

A woman was recently surprised to find a car parked in her assigned spot, but rather than call and have it towed, she simply found another place to park on the street.

Unfortunately, she ended up getting a ticket that she couldn’t afford for parking without a permit — at least according to information that was shared by an Imgur user.

Clearly annoyed by the situation, the unnamed woman — whose story was shared by a user named Pemu — decided to leave a note expressing her frustrations on the individual’s windshield who had parked in her private spot.

It was the result of that note that she couldn’t have predicted, though, the Epoch Times reported.

xmas cheer

“Hey Stranger. Because you were parked in my spot last night (and still are??), I got a ticket for street parking overnight w/out a permit,” she wrote. “I’m broke. These are privately owned spots, and I could have you ticketed and towed. I won’t, but please don’t park in my spot again.”

What happened next was truly surprising, as she received a letter of apology along with $100.

“First I would like to apologize for parking in the spot. It was irresonsible on my part and I would like to give this to you to pay for the ticket and whatever else you need,” the note read. [It] can be tough atound this time of year. Merry Christmas.”

The letter was signed, “The a**hole who parked in your spot!”

It is unclear where this incident unfolded and whether or not it was staged, but it’s most certainly a feel-good story in a world in which such occurrences don’t always receive the deserved attention.

(H/T: Epoch Times)

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Meat-Processing Plant Fires Nearly 200 Workers Amid Muslim Prayer Dispute — and CAIR Is Getting Involved

The Cargill meat packing plant in Schuyler, Neb., Tuesday, July 8, 2008.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A Kansas-based meat distribution company has reportedly fired around 190 workers from one of its packaging and distribution plants, weeks after more than 200 workers walked off of the job over a prayer dispute, the Denver Post reported.

The Cargill meat packing plant in Schuyler, Neb., Tuesday, July 8, 2008.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Cargill Meat Solutions made the decision to fire employees — individuals who are mostly Muslim immigrants from Somalia — after the workers refused to show up to work at a Fort Morgan, Colorado, plant last month, with the workers claiming that they were denied breaks to pray.

They felt as though a long-held prayer policy had changed, so they decided not to show up to work for three days following a Dec. 18 dispute, which led to their firing, according to KSAX-TV.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, has stepped in to try and help the workers get their jobs back, pledging to seek other legal options if such a remedy cannot be attained.

“Some employees missed their prayer that day,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR’s Minnesota office, told KSAX-TV. “They wanted to talk to management and they were told to go home if they wanted to pray.”

Hussein continued, “We believe Cargill is a great organization and that they have a long history of employing Muslims. Unfortunately, in this plant, it seem there have been some abuse and some sort of policy that has been applied in so many different ways.”

Cargill responded to the firing by saying that the company “makes every reasonable attempt to provide religious accommodation to all employees based on our ability to do so without disruption to our beef processing business at Fort Morgan.”

But Cargill said that accommodations cannot be guaranteed every day and are dependent on a number of factors that can change from day-to-day, with a statement from the company going on to say that reflection rooms are available for prayer and that no policies have changed.

“In the Fort Morgan plant, a reflection area for use by all employees to pray was established in April 2009, and is available during work shifts based on our ability to adequately staff a given work area,” Cargill said in a separate statement KUSA-TV.

But Hussein told the Denver Post that, while Muslim workers have traditionally been permitted to pray for five to 10 minute blocks, the workers were recently told that they should go home if they want to pray — a purported act that he said led to the strike.

CAIR will be speaking with Cargill next week in an effort to try and help the workers get their jobs back, and secure their requested prayer time.

Cargill said that multiple attempts had already been made to resolve the situation with the employees — including meetings with plant management and union representatives.

(H/T: Denver Post)

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Pastor’s Nearly 300-Year-Old ‘New Year’s Resolution’ Is Getting Some Attention. Here’s Why.

Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Facebook on New Year’s morning to unveil an 18th century “New Year’s resolution” that he believes still holds the power to transform “our lives and this world” if each individual decides to embrace it.

That resolution, which was composed by American preacher Jonathan Edwards, who lived from 1703-1758, calls for each individual to rely upon the Lord and to live by the Almighty’s standards.

“New Year’s is well known as a time for resolutions. People make resolutions to lose weight, to spend more time at the gym, etc. Less than 10% of people actually keep them,” Graham wrote. “Jonathan Edwards, 18th century revivalist preacher who graduated from Yale University and was president of what is now Princeton University, had a list of 70 powerful resolutions — not just for New Year’s, but for a lifetime.”

New Year’s is well known as a time for resolutions. People make resolutions to lose weight, to spend more time at the…

Posted by Franklin Graham on Friday, January 1, 2016

It is the first of those 70 life resolutions, though, that Graham said is of particular importance. Keeping it, he said, would create a world-changing scenario: “Our lives and this world would be forever transformed.”

Here is the full text of Edwards’ 18th century resolution:

“Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.”

Read the other 69 resolutions here.

Graham said that his own personal 2016 resolution is to “live for God no matter what.”

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