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Christian news briefs.
                 To read Christian news please scroll down the page

 
Christians arrested in Iran
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
Execution of Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani temporarily delayed
Food Shortage Crisis and the price hike
Translating the Bible into the world's last languages

Pastor Detheose Cherian Passes Away

Global Day of Prayer celebrates tenth anniversary
World’s Oldest Pastor Dies at 101 in Japan
Dr A P Daniel, Author,  Daniel Reference Bible Passes Away 
Nigeria Muslim-Christian clash kills many people
Evangelist Oral Roberts Dies at Age 91 
Iranian court Charges Women with Propagating Christianity
Archaeologists uncovered, where the  place where Jesus Prayed?
Christian Sufferings in Pakistan
Mother Teresa's statue unveiled in Bangalore
Celebrating the life of Elder Isaiah Olorunfemi Ayita (1934 - 2009)
Archaeologists uncovers largest church in Syria
William Carey a humble missionary to India
Christian persecution in India
Ancient wall of Nehemiah found
Oldest Christian church found
Pandita Ramabai a true Christian
4700 Buddhists accepted Christ as their Savior

Christians arrested in Iran

(inchurchnews January 2011) Authorities in Iran may have arrested more than 70 Christians the day after Christmas. Elam Ministries said 25 Christians were taken into custody in Tehran and other locations, and unsuccessful attempts were made to detain at least 16 others. The group added that there are unconfirmed reports of authorities arresting more than 50 other Christians.

One of the Christian who is in custody was able to call a friend and leave this message:

"Unfortunately, early this morning the authorities came to our homes. They arrested us and many other believers. I want to ask you to pray for us. We are sure God will never leave us or forsake us. God bless you. Sorry for giving you bad news over Christmas, but I believe God will do something for us." Elam Ministries said, "Armed, plainclothes, special security officers forcefully entered the homes of Christians while they were asleep," then handcuffed them and took them into custody for interrogation.

Eleven of those arrested have since been released.

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

(inchurchnews November 2010) The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo opened in 1928 as a small children's zoo on Harav Kook Street in central Jerusalem. The founder and driving spirit behind the establishment of a zoo in Jerusalem was Aharon Shulov, one of the pioneers in zoology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The 60-acre Biblical Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals. Many of them are native to Israel or have become extinct in the Holy Land. Yet, the zoo has brought them back to their native land in Jerusalem, even the zoo has a biblical theme. It is a little known fact that monkeys were among the treasures the ships of Tarshish brought to King Solomon every three years.

For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servents of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys  (2 chronicles 9:21).

I believe,  if we study the Old Testment carefully,  King Soloman brought the Monkeys  from India,  says pastor Alexander Thomas.
  
"We think the Asian lion is the lion that roamed the land of Israel more than 800 years ago and is mentioned in the Bible of course and is also the symbol of Jerusalem and the tribe of Judah," said Tamar Raviv, marketing representative. Athough elephants are not found in the Bible, ivory is mentioned several times as a precious commodity. Some Jewish sages believed the "mountain sheep" was actually a giraffe, and the behemoth in the Book of Job is thought to be a hippopotamus. "Today thanks to a special breeding program, you can actually see them in many parts of Israel in nature," Raviv said.
There's a Noah's Ark visitor center designed to capture the biblical concept of preserving animal life. "So this is one of our symbols, which connects our biblical stories to the actual thing that we are doing here now today," Raviv said. Yet the Biblical Zoo is about more than just animals. It's all about co-existance in Jerusalem.

Execution of Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani temporarily delayed

(inchurchnews November 2010) Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was convicted of apostasy, which carries the death sentence in Iran. Authorities had scheduled his execution for Oct. 24. Sources say the execution of a Christian pastor in Iran for "thought crimes" has been temporarily delayed. News reports say Iranian authorities are delaying the execution in order to put more pressure on the pastor to turn away from Christ.

According to Iranian law, once the written verdict is delivered, there will be 20 days to appeal to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Court. Iranian security officials have informed the courts to temporarily delay the pastor's execution until further notice, the Assist News Service reported. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is being kept in a security prison in Lakan, Iran, which is just south of his hometown of Rasht. His wife was also sentenced to life in prison. Pastor Nadarkhani leads one of the largest Protestant communities in Iran and has been targeted for converting Muslims to Christ. He was arrested last October after protesting against the decision of local authorities to enforce the reading of the Koran to Christian children.

Supporters of the pastor are continuing in prayer for Nadarkhani to have strength to endure this pressure and suffering and that he would soon be delivered from the hand of his enemies. Christians and human rights activists are also petitioning the Iranian government for the couple's release.

Food Shortage Crisis and the price hike

(inchurchnews November 2010) Guardian newspaper reports that over the past six months world wheat and maize prices have risen 57 percent, rice has risen 45 percent and sugar rose 55 percent. Prices for vegetables and other foods have reached a record highs. Experts have said the recent price hike is because of crop shortages due to widespread droughts and floods.

"There is growing concern among countries about continuing volatility and uncertainty in food markets," said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank. "These concerns have been compounded by recent increases in grain prices. "World food price volatility remains significant and in some countries, the volatility is adding to already higher local food prices," he added.

Translating the Bible into the world's last languages

(inchurchnews July 2010) Wycliffe Bible Translators, the world’s largest scripture translation organization, believes Bible translation into all of the remaining 2,200 languages used by some 350 million people is possible by 2025. Paul Edwards, executive director of Wycliffe’s Last Language Campaign, responsible for raising the $1 billion needed for the effort, called the Last Languages Campaign, believes God will provide people and money to finally finish the more than 2,000-year effort.

The Last Languages Campaign launched in November 2008 with the goal of providing literacy, life-saving health information, and the Bible to all of the world’s small language groups in need of language development by 2025. Since the launch, Wycliffe has received a total commitment of $184 million. As recent as 1999, Wycliffe estimated it would take eight generations, or some 140 to 150 years, before it would see the last translation started. In 1999, the group was averaging 20 new translation starts a year and there were about 3,000 languages left. But 10 years later, Wycliffe had 109 new translation starts in 2009. The average new translation starts for the past 10 years is 75, Edwards noted.

The Last Languages Campaign director credits technology and new approaches to translation for the increased speed.

Pastor Dethose Cherian (June 1, 1938  -  June 5, 2010)

(inchurchnews June, 2010) Pastor  Dethose  Cherian,  Senior Pastor of the Atlanta Christian Assembly went to be with the Lord on Saturday,  June 5th, 2010.

Pastor Dethose Cherian was born June 1, 1938, and accepted the Lord when he was 16. He was married in 1965 and dedicated his life to the ministry in 1974. He shepherded the Abundant Life Faith Assembly in Bangalore, India, along with several other ministries. In 1991 he became the senior pastor at Atlanta Christian Assembly, the church he remained with until his death on June 5, 2010. His door was always open to his friends and congregation, and he was zealous for the Lord in all situations, even until the end of his life. His humble, praying spirit will be an inspiration to us all to finish the work the Lord started in his life.

His funeral was witnessed by a large crowd on Saturday June 12th, 2010.


His legacy remains as an inspirational testimony to us all, and he challenged us throughout his life to live in the love of God. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Global Day of Prayer celebrates tenth anniversary
 
(Inchurchnews June 2010) An estimated 250 million Christians lifted their voices to God on the 10th anniversary of the Global Day of Prayer which was observed on Sunday. Global Day of Prayer takes place each year on Pentecost Sunday.

Participating Christians reportedly prayed in about 220 nations. Believers gathered in stadiums, churches and in small groups in cities and villages around the world.

The global prayer event is inspired by 2 Chronicles 7:14 which reads, "If my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray then I will hear from heaven and I will heal their land."

South African businessman Graham Power organized the first prayer event in Cape Town in 2001, drawing around 45,000 Christians to pray in Newlands Rugby Stadium. The prayer event then expanded to other parts of Africa and soon after around the world. Today, as many as 500 million Christians from more than 200 countries participate in the GDOP.

World’s Oldest Pastor Dies at 101 in Japan

(Inchurchnews March 2010) The Rev. Tsuneharu Oshima, an active pastor at the age of 101, passed away on Saturday at 1:45pm, at a hospital in Kobe, Japan according to the Mikage Shinai Christ Church, where his funeral and memorial service were held.  The church, which is a local congregation of a Pentecostal denomination, the Japan Assemblies of God, said that Oshima "finished his precious work of evangelism and mission, fought out a fight of faith, ran the distance that he ought to run to the end".

The pastor’s eldest son, the Rev. Yoshinao Oshima, shared that his father continued to work as a pastor even after he turned 100 years old. “He gave us hope for heaven, served as a path for Lord Jesus Christ, and became a blessing and hope to many people,” the younger Oshima said, according to Christian Today Japan. Blessings to his family and may we all serve the Lord as well.

Dr A P Daniel, author of the Daniel Reference Bible Passes Away

(Inchurchnews  Sunday February 14, 2010) Dr. A. P. Daniel, of Angamally, Kerala, India,  a Bible Scholar and the author of  Daniel Reference Bible went to be with the Lord on  Saturday February 13, 2010. He was 66.

Dr. Daniel is known among the believers as the author and publisher of at least 8 Study Bibles.  All of the study bibles he published are the first time publications in Indian languages. Dr. Daniel’s publications include Daniel Reference Bible, Malayalam English Bible, Pocket Study Bible, Chronological Bible, Red Letter Bible, Giant Print Study Bible, Telugu/English Bible and Tamil Reference Bible.  Dr Daniel is survived by his Wife Alice Daniel, Children: Bini & Paul, Feni Daniel, Deni Nevil and Paul  Daniel.

Funeral is scheduled to be on 17th Wednesday 10 AM at Angamaly West Brethren Cemetery

 

Nigeria Muslim-Christian clash kills many people

(Inchurchnews Friday January 22, 10) More than 40 people were killed in a Muslim-Christian clash this past weekend in a central Nigerian city with a history of volatile relations between the two faith communities. In Jos city, Plateau state, about 200 Muslim youths attacked Christians near St Michael’s Catholic Church, according to local sources of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The human rights organization reported that Muslim youths congregated to renovate a house next to St. Michael’s Catholic Church, owned by a man who allegedly killed three Christians in the November 2008 sectarian violence in Jos city.

At a press conference Sunday, Plateau state’s Police Commissioner Greg Anyanting said the violence was sparked by unprovoked attack on worshippers of St Michael’s Church, according to The Punch, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper. Thirty-five armed people have been arrested and some were in military uniform, the commissioner said. “This incident is the latest in a series of attacks on the Christian community of Jos that began in 2001,” said CSW chief executive Mervyn Thomas. “Unfortunately, since perpetrators of religious violence are rarely brought to justice, many in northern and central states no longer trust the authorities to guarantee their safety."

Evangelist Oral Roberts Dies at Age 91 

January 24, 1918 – December 15, 2009
(Inchurchnews Tuesday December 15)  Evangelist  Rev. Oral Roberts died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia, according to a spokesman. He was 91.

A statement confirming Roberts' death said his son, Richard, and daughter, Roberta were by his side. Richard Roberts called his father "the greatest man of God I've ever known." "A modern-day apostle of the healing ministry, an author, educator, evangelist, prophet, and innovator," he said in a statement Tuesday. "He was the only man of his generation to build a worldwide ministry, an accredited university, and a medical school." Roberts, a charismatic minister, founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. in 1963. He said he opened the school after God called on him to "raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased."

Granville Oral Roberts was one of the most famous and influential Christian leaders of the twentieth century.

Born January 24, 1918, in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, the fifth and youngest child of Rev. Ellis Melvin and Claudius Priscilla Roberts, Oral Roberts grew up to become world renowned as a healing evangelist, author, educator, and television personality.

His ministry began with his own miracle healing of tuberculosis at the age of 17. As his older brother drove him to a revival meeting to be prayed for, God spoke to him and said, “Son, I am going to heal you, and you are to take My healing power to your generation. You are to build Me a university based on My authority and on the Holy Spirit.” Roberts was miraculously healed that night of both tuberculosis and lifelong stuttering. His call from God and supernatural healing marked the beginning of a miracle ministry.

In 1947 Roberts established the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In obedience to God’s call on his life, he conducted miracle healing crusades across America and around the world in a great “tent cathedral.” Each night, thousands who were sick and dying came for healing prayer and to hear his dynamic message that God is a good God.

Roberts is survived by his son , Richard, daughter, Roberta-- both of Tulsa-,12 grandchildren and and a host of great-grandchildren.

Iranian court Charges Women with Propagating Christianity

(inchurch news Thursday October 29) An Iranian judge has charged two women with the crimes of apostasy and propagating Christianity. Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh could be sentenced to life in prison if they are convicted of the charges. The women have been imprisoned for more than six months and are said to be in poor health. In a court appearance last August the pair refused to recant their Christian faith before the court. International Christian Concern (ICC), a human rights group, says the women have endured solitary confinement and been deprived of medical treatment while in prison. An ICC spokesperson has requested that Christians all over the world "continue to pray for the release of the two converts and also for the improvement of their health."

Archaeologists uncovered, where the  place where Jesus Prayed?

GALILEE, Israel (inchurch news) Thursday September 17, 2009.  Israeli archaeologists in northern Israel say they have uncovered a 2,000-year-old synagogue where Jesus may have prayed. The remains of the 2000 year old  synagogue were discovered on the site of a planned hotel north of Tiberias in Migdal.  Migdal or Magdala is the town where Mary Magdalene once lived.  

Some experts say it is certain that these are the places where Jesus lived, taught and healed the sick. 

"We presume that this beautiful, decorated synagogue, well-decorated synagogue was maybe the synagogue that Jesus and his community and Mary Magdalena sat together and learned and studied and prayed together in this building," said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni. 

The building would have been huge - nearly 1,300 square feet in the main hall. It was decorated with frescos and had a mosaic floor.  Most of the stones were left standing or lying in tact. Avshalom-Gorni is heading the excavation. She says they have also found an unusual stone inside the synagogue. 

"In the middle of the synagogue, in the middle of the benches around the walls we found the base of a stone, which was decorated also with a menorah," she said.  The seven-branched candelabra was part of the temple in Jerusalem. Avshalom-Gorni says it is remarkable that the synagogue is so well-preserved, because it was found just a few inches beneath the surface of the ground. 

"After 2,000 years nobody damaged this building," she said. "It's unbelievable. And it's so beautiful also in archeologist because the hotel could be built a little bit to the south, a little bit to the north and we could miss it by a few meters. We could miss this unbelievable evidence." 

Despite plans to build on the site, Stepansky said he is certain it will be preserved for Jews and Christians alike. 

Christian Sufferings in Pakistan

LAHORE, (inchurch news) Thursday July 30, 2009The Pakistani Christians say they are tired of attacks against them, the burning of their homes and possessions and the beating of family members simply because they are members of a Christian minority in a Muslim dominated country.Many Christians over the past two decades have been falsely accused and imprisoned on charges of blasphemy.What Pakistan's Blasphemy Law Prohibits:

Blasphemy against Islam

Blasphemy against the Muslim holy book
Blasphemy against the prophet Mohammad.

The maximum penalty for those convicted of violating blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed is death. No Christian has actually been executed for blaspheming Mohammad, but many have spend  years in prison, waiting for their cases to reach a higher court. That's when they are usually thrown out for lack of evidence. Pastors from many Churches say their members will observe a day of prayer throughout Pakistan July 26. They want Christians from around the world to join them in asking God to help Christian victims of persecution in Pakistan. Pakistan's small Christian minority has periodically been targeted, In May 2007, Christians in the north-west of the country sought government protection following threats of bomb attacks if they did not become Muslims.

Mother Teresa’s statue unveiled in Bangalore

(inchurchnews) Tuesday June 30, 2009

The statue of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been unveiled in the city as thousands of people gathered to witness the event. Seven feet, 1.5 ton monolithic statue now stands at the Mother Teresa Road Junction near the Sacred Heart Church, Richmond Road. A noted sculptor named Putten Acharya from Hegdevana Kote took six months to complete the statue. It was inaugurated by Archbishop of Bangalore, Bernard Moras. Archbishop Moras, speaking to a crowd at Sacred Hearts Church in Bangalore, hailed Mother Teresa as an icon of "service, sacrifice, simplicity and obedience." He hoped people find inspiration in the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's everlasting love for God and the poor. 

Celebrating the life of Elder Isaiah Olorunfemi Ayita (1934 - 2009)

(inchurchnews) Elder Isaiah Olorunfemi Ayita, age 75, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday 17, 2009. He is the father of Pastor Olorunfemi Emmanuel, an Associate Pastor of the International Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Elder Isaiah was born March 1934 in Ilueju Ekiti, a western town in Nigeria, W. Africa to the late Pa and Madam Motolani Avita. He was trained as a Carpenter, the profession he held all of his life.  His Christian journey began in 1958 in the Anglican church and in 1970 he joined Christ Apostolic Church where he was baptized by immersion. There he served as Sunday School teacher and evangelical team member and later as a church warden for the remainder of his life. He is survived by his wife, nine children and many grand children.
 

Archaeologists uncovers largest church in Syria

(inchurchnews) November 17), Archaeologists have discovered the largest  ancient Christian church in Syria.

The remains of the Christian Church, thought to date back some 1,500 years, were found in Palmyra in central Syria. A small amphitheatre and two rooms for Christian worship were also found on the site of the church.

Palmyra, 135 miles north-east of Damascus, was an important Roman-era desert stop for caravans travelling to Mesopotamia and Persia.

Much of the city was destroyed by the Romans in the third century, in revenge for rebelling against their rule under Syrian Queen Zenobia.

The director of Palmyra museum, Walid Assad, said the latest find by Syrian and Polish archaeologists was the fourth church to be discovered in the city - and the largest in Syria.

Mr. Assad said archaeologists found two rooms on one side of the building and an amphitheatre in the courtyard that may have been used for baptisms, prayers and other religious ceremonies.

"Christianity came to Palmyra in the year 312, at a time when Christians had begun to build churches," Mr Assad told AFP. "And this one is huge - the biggest ever found in Syria. It dates back to the fourth or fifth centuries after Jesus Christ."  

William Carey a humble missionary to India

(Inchurch news) William Carey Shoemaker by trade born in England, (1761-1834) a pastor before going to the mission field, he spent forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Bible and Carey never returned to England.

The first time Carey openly suggested the idea of foreign missionary work he was repulsed by a senior minister who said, "Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen He will do it without your aid or mine." Others, however, encouraged him to continue his studies on the subject. The next year Carey was one of the preachers at the meeting, from Isaiah 54:2,3 he drew two striking thoughts — "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."  

It was in 1793 that Carey went to India.

At first his wife was reluctant to go, so Carey set off to go nevertheless, but after two returns from the ship docks to persuade her again, Dorothy and his children accompanied him. There were years of discouragement because there was no convert for seven years, debt, disease, deterioration of his wife's mind, death, but by the grace of God and His faithfulness Carey continued in his ministry. When he died at 73 (1834), he had seen the Scriptures translated and printed into forty languages, he had been a college professor, and had founded a college at Serampore. He had seen India open its doors to missionaries, he had seen the edict passed prohibiting sati (burning widows on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands), and he had seen converts for Christ.

"Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God," was Carey's motto, and all through his life he carried it out. Among the "great things" attempted and accomplished was the translation of the Scriptures, or portions of them, into the numerous vernaculars. Some of these translations Carey only supervised, while many of them he made himself. When he was correcting the last sheet of the eighth edition of the Bengali New Testament, he said, "'My work is done. I have nothing more to do but to wait the will of God." During his life the entire Scriptures were published in Bengali, Sanskrit, Hindi, Orissa, Marathi and portions in thirty more dialects.

During the early years of Carey's life as a missionary he witnessed the burning of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. He protested against the ceremony and warned those taking part in it that he would surely bear witness against it at God's judgment bar. And when, after many years, the proclamation abolishing this horrible practice of "suttee" was issued, he at once put aside his preparations for the Sunday services and set about the translating and printing of it. The proclamation was ready for distribution Sunday evening.

On the morning of June 9, 1834, his earthly life ended. The next morning a long procession of sincere mourners wended their way to the cemetery. A heavy rain seemed to intensify the sadness of the occasion. But as the procession stopped at the grave, the rain ceased and the sun shone out in all its glory, bringing thoughts of that glad day when the dead in Christ shall rise, and sorrow and death shall be forever banished. The last resting-place of this humble missionary to India was marked only by a simple epitaph of his own composing:

Wm. Carey, Born, August 17, 1761, Died, June 9, 1834 "A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, On Thy kind arms I fall." 

Christian persecution is reported in India

(InchurchNews) October. 2008, reports from India speaks about persecution against Christians. India  is the seventh largest country by geographical area, the second most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Home to the Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated there, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium and shaped the region's diverse culture.

Persecution of the Christians is not new to India.

The disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ Apostle Thomas came to India in the early AD 50s and he was stabbed and killed with a spear in Madras (now Chennai) India. And his burial place in Chennai is known today as Saint Thomas Mount. According to Kerala Christian traditions and to their Church, during to his missionary trip to Kerala thousands of Brahmins and others accepted Christ and  became Christians. And the converted known as Saint Thomas Christians. And the result, the local Hindus sense a threat to their beliefs and persecutions arose and  thousands of Kerala's Saint Thomas Christians were killed. That was the first known Christian persecution in India, the killing of the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala.

Graham Staines an Australian missionary was burnt alive along with their two sons Timothy aged 9, and Philip aged 7 in on January 22, 1999 by the Hindus in Orissa India.

Persecution is reported in the state of Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil nadu, Madhya Pradesh, that includes killing of innocent Christians, Pastors, and Nuns, attacking and disturbing worship services and peaceful prayer meetings,  burning of churches and Christian schools. Minor incidents such as destroying Churches are also reported in Kerala. In Orissa thousands of Christians are fled to forests to save their lives. Father Alexander Charalamkunnel 72 year Priest from Kerala tells his ordeal in Orissa. In the area of Cattack and Bhuvaneswar he was serving the Lord the Last 41 years. A mob came and burned our church, house and attacked the people. We fled to the nearby forest and spend there a week and came to Kerala recently. We lost everything, but my faith still remains, we love them we will return soon as things back to normal in Orissa says father Alexander.

This reminds the word of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Archaeologists finds Jerusalem's Ancient Walls

 

J
ERUSALEM — (web search September 5th) Yehiel Zelinger of the Israel Antiquities Authority said Wednesday that he located two wall segments just south of the Old City. The project begun in the 1890s by archaeologist Frederick Bliss and his assistant, Archibald Dickie. The two tunneled along the length of the ancient wall and marked its route. They also found part of a wall built by the Hasmonean dynasty 2,100 years ago, and another section built by Byzantine rulers five centuries later.

 

HOW THE APOSTLES DIED?

Matthew Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia , killed by a sword wound.

Mark  Died in Alexandria , Egypt , after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

Luke  was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

John  Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then banished to the island of Patmos . He wrote the Book of Revelation at Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

Peter was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

James Just The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.

James the Great  son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem . The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

Bartholomew also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia . He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey . Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

Andrew was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece . After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: "I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

Thomas was stabbed and killed with a spear in Madras (now Chennai) India during one of his missionary trips to the Indian sub-continent by a fanatic Hindu.

Jude  Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

Matthias The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

Barnabas One of the group of seventy disciples, wrote the Epistle of Barnabas. He preached throughout Italy and Cyprus . Barnabas was stoned to death at Salonika.

Paul  Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire.


Ancient wall of Nehemiah found

JERUSALEM — (Web search) A wall mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Nehemiah and long sought by archaeologists apparently has been found, an Israeli archaeologist says.

A team of archaeologists discovered the wall in Jerusalem’s ancient City of David during an attempt to fix a tower that was in danger of collapse, said Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute, and leader of the dig.

Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads found under the tower suggested that both the tower and the nearby wall are from the 5th century B.C., the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said in a statement.

The findings suggest that the structure was actually part of the same city wall the Bible says Nehemiah rebuilt, Mazar said. The Book of Nehemiah gives a detailed description of construction of the walls, destroyed earlier by the Babylonians. “We were amazed,” she told the Associated Press, noting that the discovery was made at a time when many scholars argued that the wall did not exist. “This was a great surprise. It was something we didn’t plan.”The first phase of the dig, completed in 2005, uncovered what Mazar believes to be the remains of King David’s palace, built by King Hiram of Tyre, and also mentioned in the Bible.

Ephraim Stern, professor emeritus of archaeology at Hebrew University and chairman of the state of Israel archaeological council, offered support for Mazar’s claim. “The material she showed me is from the Persian period,” the period of Nehemiah, he said. “I can sign on the date of the material she found.” (Websearch)

Oldest Christian church found

(Web search June 20th ) Led by Dr. Abdul Qader al-Hassan, director of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies, the team had found a mosaic in church that described these Christians as “the 70 beloved by God and Divine”. "We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians – the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ," al-Hassan told The Jordan Times.

A team of archaeologists in Jordan claim to have discovered the oldest Christian church, which they believe was used by Christ's followers who fled Jerusalem after crucifixion. The cave discovered beneath the St. George's Church, one of the world's oldest known churches, in the northern Jordanian city of Rihab, had pieces of pottery that date back to the third and seventh centuries, but more important, according to Mr. Hassan, was the unearthing of a circular area, believed to be the area where altar stands.

The Bishop Deputy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Archimandrite Nektarious, described the discovery as an "important milestone for Christians all around the world". Jordan Times quoted him saying: "The only other cave in the world similar in shape and purpose is in Thessalonika, Greece."

In the cave there is also a tunnel that leads to a cistern that supplied water to the dwellers. Dr Al-Hassan says that excavation of the tunnel and the cistern may yield yet more evidence about the lives of these early Christians. "From the tunnel to the cistern is very important. We want to clean it and make an excavation inside it. We found a very old inscription beside it and coins also, and crosses made from iron."

Pandita Ramabai a true Christian

Pandita Ramabai,Born to a very rich orthodox Hindu family on 23rd April 1858, in Karnataka, India ramaphaiRamabai, became a household name, whose transformation through Christ and life-changing testimony, for decades have been motivating and encouraging people. To the astonishment of Hindu pundits, at the age of twelve, she had committed to memorise eighteen thousand sacred verses from the Hindu Puranas, and gained exceptional knowledge in Sanskrit (sacred language of Hinduism), which eventually gave her the title "Pandita" which means 'mistress of wisdom'.

Inspired by God, whom she found in Jesus Christ after trying all the religions at her disposal, she founded the Mukti Mission on March 11th 1889. With motherly love she cared for a family that grew to 2000 girls, thousand unfortunate ill-treated child widows and destitute orphans.

The mission is still active providing housing, education, vocational training and medical services for the widows, orphans and the handicapped.

A pioneer educationalist in India, Ramabai, was of the elite group who first introduced methods of kindergarten training as well as illustrated books and pictures for village primary schools. She also opened primary and secondary schools exclusively for girls and village children in her Mukti Home.

More to enumerate, the saint-like Ramabai who was also a poet and a leading advocate for the rights and welfare of women in the country, became the first to introduce Braille for blind girls, subsequently opening a Blind school in Mukti. Her father, Anant Shastri Dongre, a learned Brahmin, fearing wrath of local Hindus for his audacity to teach his wife and children the sacred Hindu scriptures and Sanskrit, which was only meant for the high caste, forced him to start his own independent life in the forests.

"He could not see why women and people of low caste, could not learn to read and write the Sanskrit language and learn sacred literatures other than the Vedas," explains Ramabai, in her testimony.

"Ever since I remember anything, my father and mother were always traveling from one sacred place to another, staying in each place for several months, bathing in the sacred river or tank, visiting temples, worshipping household gods and the images of gods in the temples, and reading Puranas in holy places." Having already tasted the wonderful life and truth of God through the scriptures, Ramabai for sure knew, the importance of translating the Bible into her mother tongue. She was ready to devote 12 years of her life to translate the Bible into Marathi. And former "Mukti members" would take the message of Christ to every part of Maharashtra.


4,700 Buddhist monks accepted Christ as their Savior.
(Websearch March 27, 08)
Burma's population of 57 million people, 51 million are Buddhists – and one percent of this population are monks. There is a monastery in most villages. Children are often educated in monasteries, so even if they do not actually become monks themselves, they have been thoroughly indoctrinated with Buddhist beliefs and practices. The monks have always had a very strong influence in Burmese politics and government.  One of the ministries from Burma reports in their website 4,700 Buddhist monks were led to Christ through their ministry. It appears that the Holy Spirit had urged these monks and nuns to call their evangelists to come and share the gospel of hope and love. After several intense discussions, close to 80% of the monks present in each of the monasteries raised their hands to accept Christ, and then kneeled down to pray and receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. Baptisms are being done discreetly – no more than three at a time for the sake of the safety of the converts as well as their workers.


Bible to all languages

The Wycliffe Associates, a nonprofit organization is accelerating its efforts in translating Bible to all Indian languages throughout India. Recently, the ministry announced plans to build a new translation training center in the foothills of the Himalayas and join hands with ministries to translate and publish Bibles in vernacular languages. In response to the need for more Bible translations, Bruce Smith, CEO and president of Wycliffe Associates, says the ministry is partnering with other Christian groups to accelerate translation efforts. "We're partnering with a group called Word for all.

They primarily train mother-tongue speakers, people in these language groups who don't have scripture," he explains. "... And our particular role in partnering with them is to provide technical and administrative support to help that group be effective in their work." At least 180 languages in India do not have a translation of the Bible, notes the Wycliffe Bible Translators, founded in 1942 by William Cameron Townsend. "Many of the groups that are lower caste are really disadvantaged ... not only politically and economically, but also in terms of their access to scripture.

So these are some of the groups that still need scripture translation and still need training and education in ways that can assist them in that translation process," shared Smith. According to the current estimation, it would at least take 90 years to put the Bible into all Indian languages. However, the new translation center claims to complete it by 19 years.
(Websearch)

Sister Alphonsa to be first Indian woman saint
(
Web search , Thiruvananthapuram India  March 4)
Kerala-born Sister Alphonsa will be officially declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church on October 12, Church sources said in  Thiruvananthapuram.

Alphonsa Muttathupadathu born August 19, 1910 – died July 28, 1946 was born as Anna Muttathupadathu in Kudamaloor, a rural village near Kottayam (Kerala, India), to Joseph and Mary Muttathupadathu. Anna's mother died when she was very young, so her maternal aunt raised her. Anna was educated by her great-uncle Father Joseph Muttathupadathu.

In 1916 she started school in Arpookara. She received First Communion on November 27, 1917. In 1918 she transferred to the school in Muttuchira. In 1923 Anna was badly burned on her feet when she fell into a pit of burning chaff. This accident left her permanently disabled. She arrived at the Poor Clares convent at Bharananganam on 1927. She received the postulant's veil on August 2, 1928 and took the name Alphonsa. In May 1929 she entered the Malayalam High School at Vazhappally. Her foster-mother died in 1930.

On May 19, 1930 she received her religious habit at Bharananganam. Three days later she resumed her studies at Changanacherry, while working as a temporary teacher at the school at Vakakkad. On August 11, 1931 she joined the novitiate. She took her permanent vows on August 12, 1936. Two days later she returned to Bharananganam from Changanacherry. Sister Alphonsa is the first person to be conferred sainthood from the Kerala Church which traces its origins to the visit of St Thomas around 2000 years ago to preach the gospel in India.

The decision to officially declare her a saint was taken by a meeting of cardinals held in Vatican today, Fr Paul Thalekkat, spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church said. The declaration regarding the canonisation would be held in Rome and there would be celebrations and prayers in Kerala also, he said.

After her death, local people attributed some miracles to her. Sister Alphonsa was beatified and made Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1986. In June 2007, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree approving the miracles that took place through the intercession of Alphonsa paving the way for canonisation. Sister Alphonsa will be the second Christian saint from India after Gonsalo Garcia and the first woman. Garcia, who was canonized in 1862, was partly Indian. He was from Vasai, near Mumbai, and is believed to have been crucified in Nagasaki in 1597. In joining the ranks of other Catholic saints, Sister Alphonsa's canonization comes ahead of Mother Teresa's, who too has been beatified and declared "blessed" by the Vatican. Sister Alphonsa's tomb at Palai in Kottayam is a famous Christian pilgrimage and draws thousands of faithful. She died on July 28, 1946, aged 35. She is buried at Bharananganam, Kerala South India.

(Web search)

John Calvin
The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has officially launched a website in preparation of the Calvin-Jubilee-Year 2009, celebrating 500 years since the birth of reformer John Calvin.

Calvin was born in 1509. In the year 2009, the Protestant churches worldwide will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Genevan Reformer with numerous events. In April of this year, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches initiated a meeting to start joint planning procedures including the set-up of an internet portal. Last Friday, the FSPC launched the official webpage to the Calvin-Jubilee, www.calvin09.org The portal features information in four languages on John Calvin, including an interactive element around the 500-Year-Jubilee and an event calendar that compiles the events that will take place worldwide. It is also possible to download free of charge different material to prepare for the jubilee as well as documentations as to the various events.

To celebrate the launching of the internet portal, calvin09 announces two competitions. The first involves finding an official anthem for the Calvin-Jubilee. Interested musicians are invited to send in their compositions. The second is a competition to find the best and most suitable sermon for the occasion. The most exciting sermon - which must be rich in content and share a surprising perspective of the relevance of Calvin in our time - will win. The website has been put under the patronage of the committee of patrons of calvin09, including 18 representatives from the world of science and church – chaired by the president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Clifton Kirkpatrick. "We want Calvin to come alive for the people of our time through this website," he said. "Therefore, we are eager to receive information that can be shared through this website concerning the various events being planned all around the world to mark Calvin's 500th birthday.
(Websearch)


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