Church Converts Strip Club To Outreach Center

A church in Washington state is taking a place one home to stripping and prostitution and turning it into a center to show the light of Christ to the world.

Bethany Community Church, a multi-site Seattle-based church, rents a former strip club called “Sugars.” The building has been turned into a site for the church to launch missions and serve the surrounding community.

Pastor Scott Sund told the Christian Post they found the building available when a staff member saw a sign for rental in their neighborhood.

“A local businessman purchased the property from the federal government which had seized it because of money laundering and prostitution charges against the strip club in the facility,” explained Sund.

“When it came up for rent, our children’s ministry director Anna Guerrero, who lived in the same neighborhood, brought it to my attention. At the time we were looking for a full time rental in order to facilitate our Sunday worship services.”

The building now has offices in the back portion for seven staff members and the bulk of the rest of the building is “One Cup”, a coffee house where all profits go to charity.

We now serve breakfast from out front of the Café every Tuesday to homeless and drug addicted people. From that outreach ministry we’ve started a Bible study,” Sund said. “We have a great relationship with the methadone clinic and nearby neighbors have begun work to clean up and transform their own spaces.”

Sudanese Church Appeals Order To Close

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The lawyers representing Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church in Sudan is appealing a court decision to close the church and seize their property.

On February 18th, police arrived at the church with an order from a local court demanding the church be locked and seized. The church’s lawyers say the order not specifically state what land or property was subject to seizure.

“In November 2014, congregants held a protest vigil in order to prevent NISS agents from gaining access to the land and illegally destroying and confiscating the property. In December 2014 the church was partially destroyed and 37 congregants arrested.”

The court is claiming the land was sold to a Muslim businessman by a church committee. It was later discovered that the government formed a committee they said was a committee of the church and sold the land. A lower court ruled in favor of the church that the committee was not associated with the church but a higher Muslim court said the Christians had to leave.

“The court order will effectively facilitate the illegal closure of yet another church at a time when the government has stated that the construction of new churches will no longer be permitted. We call upon the international community, and in particular the African Union, to hold Sudan to its obligations to protect the right to freedom of religion or belief and to guarantee the profession and free practice of religion as outlined in international statutes to which the nation is party,” Christian Solidary Worldwide said in a statement.

Church Revitalizes Gang-Infested School

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An inner city Portland, Oregon school that at one time was scheduled to be closed because of gang violence and under performing students is now thriving after a partnership with a local church.

“Roosevelt High School was well known as the most under-resourced and failing school in the state. It had become a metaphor for failure, with a capital ‘F,”‘ Pastor Kip Jacob of SouthLake Church in West Linn told The Christian Post.

The school was once part of a thriving community until the late 1980s when members of the Bloods and Crips gangs moved north from Los Angeles in an attempt to extend their criminal enterprise. The church’s facilities and grounds crumbled and it became almost impossible for students to focus on their education with the rising crime level.

Then in 2008, SouthLake Church partnered with Roosevelt to turn around the culture of the area.

“When the opportunity for that first work day came, people rallied and communicated to the kids that they are really worth it,” Pastor Jacob told CP. “That is one of the things that has been so exciting for us to see is that it has led to a renaissance of the school and the community.”

The church provides the school with clothes, hygiene products and even food for the students when they need it. The church members also work with each academic department to see what specific needs they have for their students.

“The clean-up day went so well, the school told us that it was about a $250,000 benefit to the school. That was their evaluation. They just kept inviting us in. The needs were so great,” Jacob said. “We just filled gaps and met needs and they kept inviting us in to do that to the point where they invited us to have a staff person with an office in the school to help coordinate volunteers.”

As a result of the church’s efforts, private businesses have now joined to help the school.

“I think what happened is the church was able to be a catalyst for others to come in, businesses to come in,” Jacob said. “Nike came on board once they saw the momentum and said, ‘We can build a [turf] football field,’ and they did. Then another business came in and built a track, the best track in the Portland area. It just really rallied the community around the common good of the kids.”

Mississippi Passes The “Jesus Take The Wheel Act”

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The Mississippi legislature has passed the “Jesus Take The Wheel Act” which would allow drivers of mid-size church vans of up to 30 people to avoid having to obtain a commercial driver’s license.

The bill was designed to help smaller churches that have limited resources.

This just allows small churches, some don’t have people with commercial licenses at all, and they can pick a person to drive the bus,” Democrat Rep. Robert Johnson of Natchez told the Clarion-Ledger.

The church bus drivers will also not be required to have the state passenger transport endorsement, which is a requirement of most Mississippi bus drivers.

However, CDL drivers in the state are not happy about the law.

“I think this bill is trading the safety of everyone on the road for the convenience of those operating church vehicles,” CDL driver Troy Coll said. “Since the bill covers vehicles up to 30 passengers, we’re not just talking vans with extra rows of seats – these are buses, with long frames and much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles.”

“Obtaining a CDL is not especially difficult,” Coll added, “but the testing does increase the level of scrutiny on drivers, and the medical requirements prevent individuals with poor vision/hearing/motor control or untreated diabetes from driving large vehicles full of vulnerable passengers.”

Maryland Bishop Indicted For Hit And Run

A Maryland Episcopal Bishop Suffragan has been indicted on 13 counts connected to a fatal hit-and-run accident last year.

Heather Cook was indicted by a Baltimore-based grand jury on charges including “driving while under the influence of alcohol per se …, driving under the impairment of alcohol, texting while driving, reckless driving and negligent driving.”

“The original criminal charges included manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, homicide by driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol per se and homicide by driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol,” reported Mary Schjonberg of Episcopal News Service.

Cook is accused of killing 41-year-old Thomas Palermo after she hit the cyclist while driving drunk. She then fled the scene but was chased down by other cyclists and brought back to the crash site.

Witnesses say there’s no way Cook didn’t know she struck someone.

“The windshield was completely smashed in, with a hole on the passenger side, and from the damage of the car, there was no doubt in my mind that was the car,” said a witness to the AP.

Episcopal church officials have asked Cook to resign.

Will the Real Church Please Arise (Pt. 2)

“I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20)

The first command is; “Have no other gods before Me!” That means that no other gods are to be worshiped or bowed down to, in our churches, sanctuaries, synagogues or temples, including the Muslim God of Allah (who had no son). Continue reading

Will the Real Church Please Arise? (Pt. 1)

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to tell the real church of Jesus Christ from the outwardly apostate or even discern the subtle differences between the church and the humanistic world. Do we sound just like the world, say the same things and think the same way?

We invite people to come into the church and sing, “Just as I am,” but that does not mean that they should stay that way and continue in the same sin that convicted us to begin with. We are to repent and turn away from that sin and strive to be more like Jesus. Continue reading

The Falling Away of the Church (Pt. 2)

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Is the church of Jesus Christ allowed to address the sin in the camp, or are we to remain quiet and be politically correct instead of Biblically truthful in these last days as the world faces the judgment of God.

From the watchman’s wall we can see a persistent downward spiral of our culture that makes up our global society and our churches. There is a collapse of faith, morality and ethics – in the church! Are we to hold back the gift of prophecy and not sound the alarm? Have we gone beyond the point of no return or will some take heed of good instruction? Continue reading

The Falling Away of the Church (Pt. 1)

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Is the end-times church falling away in apostasy? Will this happen all at once or will it be a gradual falling away from the doctrines of Jesus? Perhaps the traditional church rationale has already become so much like the philosophy of this world that it is difficult to see much difference in the way people think and live their lives.

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end, by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-10) Continue reading

Muslim Mobs Burn Down Christian Homes and Churches

A man holds a copy of the Koran during a protest against Niger President Issoufou's attendance last week at a Paris rally in support of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in Niamey

Muslims in Niger attacked Christians, burning their homes and churches over the weekend, in retaliation for the French magazine Charlie Hebdo publishing a cartoon of Muhammad.

The International Christian Concern reported missionaries in the capital city of Naimey said all of their churches have been burned to the ground along with the homes of every pastor in the city. Some of the missionaries’ homes are among those destroyed by the mobs.

However, the missionaries reported that while smoke is “around all of side our house”, they are going to remain in Niger to speak the truth of Christ.

The protests apparently began at the grand mosque in the city and the mob then began their attack on Christians.

“I just rushed and told my colleagues in the church to take away their families from the place,” Pastor Zakaria Jadi said. “I took my family to take them out from the place. When I came back I just discovered that everything has gone. There’s nothing in my house and also in the church.”

Boko Haram’s leader was born in Niger and is believed to continue to have strong contacts in the country.