New piece of Dead Sea Scrolls jigsaw discovered after 60 years

By Ari Rabinovitch

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli archaeologists racing against treasure hunters to search caves near the Dead Sea have discovered a trove of artifacts, including fragments of a biblical text, the like of which has not been seen for decades.

The finds, preserved by the hot, dry air of the Judean desert, also include the 6,000-year-old partly mummified skeleton of a child, and a perfectly intact, finely woven basket dating back 10,500 years that the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday was likely to be the oldest in the world.

The Authority has overseen a survey of more than 100 km (65 miles) of cliffs and the caves carved or eroded into them.

The fragments of parchment, about 2,000 years old, bear biblical verse, written in Greek, and match a scroll discovered about 60 years ago called the “Book of the 12 Minor Prophets.”

That scroll is one of a trove of ancient Jewish texts called the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in 1947 by local Bedouin in the caves of Qumran, about 20 km east of Jerusalem.

The collection, which has come to include texts discovered elsewhere along the western shore of the Dead Sea, provided a window into Jewish society and religion before and after the time of Jesus.

A flurry of exploration followed their discovery but the search eventually petered out – until recently, when new pieces of scrolls and parchment appeared on the black market.

The likelihood that antiquities robbers had found a new trove spurred the Authority into action.

Since 2017, crews have been abseiling down marl and limestone cliffs and using drones to map hundreds of caves and hollows.

Many were filled with centuries of sand and debris, and about a dozen thought to be likely hiding places were excavated fully.

The new fragments of manuscript were found in the “Cave of Horror,” which years ago yielded up the 1,900-year-old skeletons of Jewish rebels who had fought against the Roman Empire.

“These are new pieces of the puzzle and we can add them to our greater picture of the period and of the text,” said Oren Ableman of the Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls Unit.

“Even though these pieces are small, they did give us some new information that we did not know before.”

The fragments allowed the reconstruction of 11 lines of text, and provided insight into the parchment the text is written on.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

HE IS RISEN! With Joy and Hope, we worship together in our hearts! Happy Easter!

By Kami Klein~~

HE has RISEN! We Worship with JOY and HOPE today from our homes, our cars or even in our backyards! It does not matter where you are for it is in our hearts that we find Him! Whether we are with family, sheltered together or alone we have New Life through Jesus! No matter what happens here in the world, God gave us His promise through the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. His message is clearer today than ever! YOU are special, YOU are a child of God, you are forgiven and He LOVES YOU!

This Easter, may you truly understand that the Church is not a building or tradition, the Church is not the creeds or statements of belief found in your faith or denomination. The Church is the bride of Jesus. We are a family built from the greatest Love that has ever been known on Earth. No building can hold us, no statement can ever be bigger than the one made on the cross.

Sing with Joy today! Leave your troubles in God’s hands and Celebrate our new lives! Let today bring you strength as we trust HIM and HIS purpose!

Matthew 28 (MEV)

The Resurrection
28 At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

2 And then there was a great earthquake. For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his garments white as snow. 4 The soldiers shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. For I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here. For He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and indeed, He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him. Listen, I have told you.”

8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 As they went to tell His disciples, suddenly Jesus met them, saying, “Greetings!” They came and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

The Report of the Guard
11 While they were going, indeed, some of the soldiers went into the city and described to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests were assembled with the elders and had taken counsel, they gave much money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were sleeping.’ 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this saying has been commonly reported among the Jews to this day.

The Commissioning of the Disciples
16 Then the eleven disciples went away to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshipped Him. But some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

HE is ALWAYS with us!

Happy Easter!

For God SO LOVED the World! Good Friday from God’s Word

Three Crosses

By Kami Klein~

This Easter season we can no longer focus on our holiday traditions. This year will not be one of creating memories by gathering in our churches, Easter egg hunts and meals with all of our family and friends. We are on pause. The world is holding its breath for salvation and we are living in a time that is unprecedented. We wake each morning to lives that have been altered, no longer ‘normal’. There is fear, exhaustion, and uncertainty in every country, and in every nation. No souls have been left untouched by this worldwide emergency.

This is the time when the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, when the miracles of His life, His teachings, should mean more to us than ever before. His message of the unsurmountable love that God has for us was shown by Christ’s suffering on the cross. He died so we may live.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Today on this Holy Good Friday, reflect on that love and find hope. Let us sit silently with the Lord, look within His Word and walk with Jesus in His agony for us. Today we fall to our knees and Thank you God for the hope that is in your son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

THE GOOD FRIDAY MESSAGE FROM GOD’S WORD

Matthew 27:11-65 (MEV)

Jesus Questioned by Pilate
11 Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

Jesus said to him, “You have said so.”

12 When He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 But He never answered him a word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Jesus Sentenced to Die
15 Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to releasing to the people a prisoner whom they chose. 16 They had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over out of envy.

19 When he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man, for I have suffered much today in a dream on account of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and kill Jesus.

21 The governor answered, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”

They said, “Barabbas.”

22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

23 The governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”

But they cried out all the more, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but rather that unrest was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous Man. See to it yourselves.”

25 Then all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But when he had scourged Jesus, he handed Him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole detachment of soldiers before Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, 29 and when they wove a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a staff in His right hand. They knelt before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spit on Him, and took the staff and hit Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

The Crucifixion
32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. This man they compelled to bear His cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means The Place of the Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 When they crucified Him, they divided His garments by casting lots to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, “They divided My garments among themselves and for My clothing they cast lots.”[a] 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 They put His accusation over His head, which read:

THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then two thieves were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. 39 Those who passed by insulted Him, wagging their heads, 40 saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 Likewise, the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him, saying, 42 “He saved others. He cannot save Himself. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God. Let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 Even the thieves who were crucified with Him insulted Him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

47 Some of those who stood there heard it and said, “This Man is calling for Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran, took a sponge, filled it with wine, and put it on a stick, and gave it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Leave Him alone. Let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”

50 And Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, released His spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom. And the ground shook, and the rocks split apart. 52 The graves also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had died were raised, 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the Holy City and appeared to many.

54 When the centurion and those with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they feared greatly and said, “Truly He was the Son of God!”

55 Many women who were there watching from afar followed Jesus from Galilee, serving Him, 56 among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus
57 When the evening came, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out of the rock. And he rolled a large stone to the door of the tomb and departed. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb
62 The next day, following the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember that deceiver saying while He was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ The last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard. Go your way. Make it as secure as you can.”

In three days the rock will have been rolled away and Jesus will have risen! God’s promises are true! Hold on to each other, pray for one another and lift your hearts to Him with Joy!

Never forget, God loves you, He really does!

Matthew 24: 6-8 – A current statistic point of view

An American flag flies near the base of the destroyed World Trade Center in New York on September 11 2001

By Kami Klein

“If you want to know the future you must know the Word of the Living God.”       Jim Bakker

In every moment, the events that Jesus spoke of are evident all around us.  In the vastness of this world, it is sometimes difficult to see the big picture of what is happening NOW!  We must keep our eyes and ears open.

Matthew 24:6-8 (MEV) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. For all these things must happen, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, epidemics, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION, KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM –FROM GLOBAL CONFLICT TRACKER –   Total of 25 conflicts in the world.  Below are listed most significant to U.S. and linked to the history of each conflict 

  • Critical impact on U.S. Interests

Civil War in Syria -Iran, Russia and Turkey’s deeper involvement- recent Chemical weapons attacks

War against Taliban in Afghanistan

Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea

Tensions in the East China Sea

North Korea Crisis

War Against Islamic State in Iraq

  • Significant Impact on U.S. Interests

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Political Instability in Lebanon

Instability in Egypt

Conflict between Turkey and armed Kurdish groups

Islamist Militancy in Pakistan

Conflict in Ukraine

Criminal Violence in Mexico

Boko Haram in Nigeria

Conflict between India and Pakistan

Civil War in Libya

War in Yemen

Great humanitarian concerns Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan Civil War, Destabilization of Mali, extreme violence in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

THERE WILL BE FAMINE – Global report on Current hunger crisis – March 2018 report

Around 124 million people in 51 countries face Crisis food insecurity or worse

This is an increase of 11 million people – an 11 percent rise in the last year – in the number of food-insecure people needing urgent humanitarian action across the world.

Last year’s Global Report on Food Crises identified 108 million people in Crisis food security or worse across 48 countries. The rise in numbers are attributed to increasing instability and conflict as well as drought and very poor harvests. Some countries are suffering from economic conditions that contribute to the malnutrition of their people. The country of Venezuela is now suffering from  lack of food sources or money to purchase necessary food and medicine. Thousands are fleeing to neighboring countries to feed their families. 

Approx. 21,000 people die each day, one every four seconds, of malnutrition

Forty percent of preschool-age children who suffer from malnutrition are estimated to be anemic because of iron deficiency, and anemia causes 20 percent of all maternal deaths. In addition, it is estimated that 250 to 500 thousand children go blind from Vitamin A deficiency every year.

EPIDEMICS 

Germs with Unusual Antibiotic Resistance Widespread in U.S- (From CDC Press release April 3rd, 2018)Health departments working with CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Lab Network found more than 220 instances of germs with “unusual” antibiotic resistance genes in the United States last year, according to a CDC Vital Signs report released today.

FLU – As of the end of February 2018 4,000 people a week in the U.S. were dying of Flu and Pneumonia according to U.S. Center for Disease Control

The levels of influenza-like illnesses being reported for the 2017-2018 flu season are as high as the peak of the swine flu epidemic in 2009, and exceed the last severe seasonal flu outbreak in 2003 when a new strain started circulating, said Anne Schuchat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director. Swine flu, which swept the globe in 2009 and 2010, sickened 60.8 million Americans, hospitalized 274,304 and killed 12,469, according to CDC data. Deaths from the current outbreak will likely far outstrip those of the 2009-2010 season.  It is April and the Flu season continues.

AIDS –AIDS is now second only to the Black Death as the largest epidemic in history. (From the World Health Organization) Aids or HIV was originated with non human primates (monkeys) in Central and West Africa

AIDS kills roughly 1.5 million people a year, or about one person every 20 seconds.

MALARIA  –Approximately a half million people die from malaria each year and many millions more are seriously weakened by it. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes.

CHOLERABetween 42,000 and 142,000 people die of cholera each year.  You can get cholera by eating or drinking contaminated water or food.

LASSA FEVER– Lassa fever, a viral hemorrhagic fever with symptoms similar to those of Ebola virus disease.  This disease is spread through contact with Rat feces and urine. Originated in West Africa. This year has generated more severe and fatal cases.  Usually an estimated 300,000 people are infected with the virus annually, with up to 5,000 deaths. But this year the fatality rate has gone to 50% of those infected.  

AND EARTHQUAKES IN VARIOUS PLACES

According to the USGS there have been 42 ‘significant earthquakes since January 1st, 2018. A significant earthquake is determined by a combination of magnitude, number of Did You Feel It responses, and PAGER alert level.  Those that have been counted are earthquakes above 4.2.  12 were in the U.S. The largest was a 7.9 in Alaska on 1-23-18.

227 people have died around the world.  For the last 365 days the total for all measurable earthquakes around the world has been 40,561.

Currently there are 33 erupting volcanoes and 55 that are having minor activity or have an impending warning issued.  

 

Landmine clearing near Jordan River baptism site begins before Easter

By Eli Berlzon

QASR AL-YAHUD, West Bank (Reuters) – On the western bank of the River Jordan, not far from the spot where Christians believe Jesus was baptized, experts have begun clearing thousands of mines from the ruins of eight churches and surrounding land deserted more than 50 years ago.

Once the anti-tank mines and other explosives are removed, the compounds containing a Roman Catholic church and seven Eastern Orthodox churches abandoned after the 1967 Middle East war can be re-opened, said HALO Trust, a Scottish-based charity organizing the endeavor together with Israel.

The mined area, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is about a kilometer (half-mile) from Qasr al-Yahud, the baptism site which HALO said was visited by around 570,000 Christian pilgrims last year.

A team of Israeli, Palestinian and Georgian experts, using hand-held mine detectors and armored mechanical diggers, began clearing the church compounds and the surrounding desert shrubland shortly before the Christian Holy Week that precedes Easter.

A sign warning from land mines is seen on a fence near Qasr Al-Yahud, a traditional baptism site along the Jordan River, near Jericho in the occupied West Bank, March 29, 2018

A sign warning from land mines is seen on a fence near Qasr Al-Yahud, a traditional baptism site along the Jordan River, near Jericho in the occupied West Bank, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Rusting barbed wire fences, with signs warning “Danger Mines!” in Hebrew, English and Arabic, run along a dusty road leading to the 100-hectare (27 acre) area. HALO says the land contains around 2,600 mines and an unknown number of other unexploded ordnance.

Some of the churches may be boobytrapped, the charity says.

In a safe zone at the riverside on Thursday, a family from Spain wearing white baptismal robes stepped into the water.

HALO has been raising funds for the project over several years and said in a statement it intends to complete work at the site by Christmas.

Israel’s Defence Ministry and its Israel National Mine Action Authority have contributed at least half the funding for the project, a ministry spokeswoman said.

HALO described the project as a rare example of multi-faith collaboration in the Middle East, involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority that administers limited self-rule in the West Bank, which welcomed the efforts.

The river area was once a war zone between Israel and Jordan. The two neighbors made peace in 1994 but it took many years before some mine clearing began.

Both claim that the site where John the Baptist and Jesus met is on their side of the biblical river. The Gospel of John refers to “Bethany beyond the Jordan” without further details.

In 2002, Jordan opened its site, showing remains of ancient churches and writings of pilgrims down the centuries to bolster its claim. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2015.

A sapper belonging to the HALO Trust, an international landmine clearance charity, looks for old mines in an abandoned church property complex near Qasr Al-Yahud, a traditional baptism site along the Jordan River, near Jericho in the occupied West Bank, March 29, 2018.

A sapper belonging to the HALO Trust, an international landmine clearance charity, looks for old mines in an abandoned church property complex near Qasr Al-Yahud, a traditional baptism site along the Jordan River, near Jericho in the occupied West Bank, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israel opened the baptism area on the western bank of the river in 2011. It has a modern visitor center and stairs for pilgrims to descend into the muddy water.

HALO, which has cleared landmines all over the world and was once sponsored by the late Princess Diana, said on Thursday that three of their staff members were killed and two injured by the accidental detonation of an anti-tank mine in Nagorno Karabakh.

The group were in a vehicle conducting a minefield survey when the explosion occurred in the separatist region in Azerbaijan.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Nazareth Christmas celebrations will be held as normal

Israeli Arabs perform a nativity scene for tourists in the northern town of Nazareth December 22, 2008.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Nazareth, the Israeli Arab city where Jesus is thought to have been raised, will celebrate Christmas as usual, its mayor said, denying the festivities would be curtailed in protest at the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Wednesday, a city spokesman said there would be some cuts to the celebrations to protest against President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem that angered Palestinians as well as U.S. allies in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Mayor Ali Salam told Reuters on Saturday that three singers who had been due to perform would not appear. He gave no reason for their absence, but said that the celebrations would proceed as normal.

“I don’t know why people thought that there would be cuts to the celebrations. Everything, except for three singers who will not be coming, will be held as normal. We have already welcomed 60,000 people to the city today,” Salam said.

Nazareth, the largest Arab town in Israel with a population of 76,000 Muslims and Christians, is one of the Holy Land’s focal points of Christmas festivities which begin officially on Saturday evening.

Nazareth’s imposing Basilica of the Annunciation is built on a site that many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus’ mother, Mary.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

CHRIST IS BORN!!

Christ Is BORN!

By Kami Klein

For Christians, Christmas represents the light of hope that we carry within us. The birth of Jesus and the tremendous acts of courage throughout the Christmas story, inspire us to have more faith, spread more love, forgive quickly and freely while making that extra effort to show compassion to others.    

The moment the song “Oh Holy Night” fills the air, that sweetness of faith wraps it’s arms around us and if we allow it,  no matter our differences, inspires us to show that light of Christ to the world.

The account of Jesus’ birth in the Bible shows the simple faith of shepherds in the field, willing to listen to an Angel!  They trusted what they heard from this Holy being and simply had faith.

The same is to be said for the Three Wise men who decided to blindly follow a star and listen when warned without falter.   It was Faith.

As we celebrate the birthday of our Savior, let us ask for the love of God to wash away any old resentments, fears and grudges.  Let us take that one simple act of faith and courage and live as Christ has asked us to and honor the man, the teacher, the Savior, the Son of God.

Christmas is not just a time for friends and family..Christmas is for ALL of humanity!

 

Luke 2:1-20 

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. 2 This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone went to his own city to be taxed.

4 So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. 10 But the angel said to them, “Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,    and on earth peace, and good will toward men.”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 So they came hurrying and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they made widely known the word which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

After alleged ban, “Jesus” reappears in Johnson Space Center newsletter

The name “Jesus” has reappeared in the Johnson Space Center newsletter, drawing celebration from a religious freedom advocacy group that claimed NASA banned the name from publication.

The First Liberty Institute made the announcement Tuesday, exactly one month after threatening the space agency with a federal lawsuit over what it claimed was “blatant religious discrimination” against Christian employees in a prayer club at the Johnson Space Center.

The issue stems from an announcement that ran in the JSC Today newsletter last May.

According to the First Liberty Institute, the newsletter is emailed to all employees who work at the Houston facility. The JSC Praise and Worship Club, like other groups, routinely submitted announcements to the newsletter as a way to spread the word about its upcoming gatherings.

On May 28, the newsletter published an club-written announcement that included the line “The theme for this session will be Jesus is our life!” and invited other JSC employees to attend.

The First Liberty Institute claims that attorneys from NASA subsequently contacted the club and told them that “Jesus” could not be used in any future announcements, as it could lead someone to believe that NASA was endorsing Christianity and therefore violating the Establishment Clause, which prevents government entities from promoting one religion over another.

The employees countered that their speech was private and NASA’s restrictions amounted to illegal censorship. The club stopped using “Jesus” in announcements as it sought legal advice.

On February 17, nine days after the First Liberty Institute contacted the space agency, the newsletter published a JSC Praise and Worship Club announcement that included the line “The theme for this session will be Jesus is our Victory!” showing the name did appear in the email.

NASA’s attorneys contacted the First Liberty Institute the following day, saying there is no ban.

“JSC does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications,” Chief Counsel Bernard J. Roan wrote in a letter to the institute.

Roan added in his letter that some NASA employees had expressed concerns that the prayer club’s May 28 announcement “went beyond mere announcement of the time, place and general nature of an activity; was essentially proselytizing; and, and as such, was inappropriate.”

He said that attorneys reached out to the club to discuss those concerns, but did not mention what, exactly, those conversations entailed. He did note the newsletter has published several “religiously-oriented postings” from the prayer club and other groups in the past few months.

“It is clear from subsequent ‘JSC Today’ postings for the Club that JSC to this day continues to facilitate its employees’ right to freely exercise their religious beliefs,” Roan wrote.

First Liberty’s Senior Counsel, Jeremy Dys, welcomed the recent developments.

“Although NASA’s initial censorship of the name ‘Jesus’ gave the Praise & Worship Club cause for alarm, we are grateful NASA took subsequent corrective action, and now clarifies its policy permitting religious expression by its employees,” Dys said in a statement.

NASA accused of banning ‘Jesus’ from Johnson Space Center newsletter

NASA is being accused of discriminating against some of its Christian employees after allegedly telling a prayer club that it was no longer allowed to mention the name “Jesus” in a newsletter.

The Liberty Institute, a religious freedom advocacy group, is representing the employees and on Monday threatened to file a federal lawsuit if NASA does not remove the alleged restriction.

The employees are 16 members of the Praise and Worship Club at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, according to the institute, and submit meeting announcements to the center’s JSC Today email newsletter to invite other employees to attend the club’s upcoming gatherings.

Last May, the newsletter ran the group’s announcement saying the theme for its upcoming meeting would be “Jesus is our life!”

A NASA attorney allegedly told the employees they were not allowed to include “Jesus” in future advertisements because NASA would be violating the Establishment Clause, which prevents government entities from promoting one religion over another. The employees say their speech is private and their announcements do not represent NASA’s official stance, so NASA censoring them from saying “Jesus” in the newsletter is an illegal restriction of their religious freedoms.

The club has been meeting since 2001, according to the Liberty Institute, and members currently gather during their lunch hours to discuss their faith and sing Christian songs.

“We are shocked that NASA would censor the name of Jesus from our Praise and Worship Club’s announcement,” JSC Praise and Worship club spokesperson Sophia Smith said in a statement released by the Liberty Institute. “NASA has a long history of allowing the religious speech of its employees, so why would they ban ‘Jesus’ from our announcements?”

The Liberty Institute noted NASA astronauts have famously made high-profile religious comments in the past. Notably, Scott Carpenter said “Godspeed, John Glenn” when Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet in 1962 and Bill Anders, Jim Lovell and Frank Borman read from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968.

The institute argues the ban is discriminatory, claiming the newsletter still publishes other “generic religious references.” The Praise and Worship Club’s announcements are also still published, the institute claims, though the club stopped mentioning Jesus as it sought counsel.

“It is illegal for the government to censor the name of Jesus in employee emails,” Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for Liberty Institute, said in a statement. “Censoring a religious club’s announcement to specifically exclude the name ‘Jesus’ is blatant religious discrimination.”

Morningside Celebrates Community Birthday Party for Jesus

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Morningside opened their hearts for the 4th annual Christmas Community Outreach Birthday Party for Jesus! Families from all over the community came to enjoy and celebrate together with the staff and volunteers of Morningside Church!

On Saturday December 5th, Jim and Lori Bakker, Marie Bakker, Zach Drew and Sasha Voltz welcomed hundreds of families to Grace Street to give back to the community. As Tammy Sue Bakker and the Morningside band joyfully brought Christmas to life with all of our Christmas favorites, the smell of pancakes and a full delicious breakfast wafted through the air. Families joined together to savor their meal and remember that Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus.

A multitude of gifts were raffled off for children as well as adults. The smiles of boys and girls as they picked out a new bike or toy, hugged Santa and danced to the music is what inspires Morningside and the Jim Bakker Show to put on this huge event together each year.

For families who are in need, the opportunity to provide gifts for their families and feel the presence and love of God, as they pick out items they could never have provided on their own brings a peace to their spirit that the volunteers and staff are grateful to share.

This ministry is incredibly blessed by our community and this small of way of giving back could never be enough to thank you.

Happy Birthday Jesus! And a Very Merry Christmas from Jim and Lori Bakker and everyone here at Morningside!