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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Amanda Casanova

Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world

No one can take the place of late evangelist Bill Graham, said pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Irvine and Riverdale.

Laurie said this week that Graham was a great influence on him. Graham died in February at 99.

Laurie said “there will never be another Billy Graham.”

"He always encouraged me personally, once telling me he thought I should go into evangelism full-time. I responded, 'Billy, when you tell me what I ought to do it's like Moses speaking! But I feel led to pastor and preach the Gospel!' Billy smiled and agreed," he said.

"Once, after having lunch in his home, I asked Billy what an older version of himself would say to a younger version about preaching, after all his years of experience in bringing the Gospel in stadiums around the world. His response was, 'I would preach more on the cross and blood of Christ. That's where the power is!' I never forgot that. That is exactly what I intend to do."

According to The Christian Post, Harvest America 2018 is one of the largest one-day evangelist events in U.S. history. The event is set for June 10 in Arlington, Texas.

"Our prayer is that a whole new movement of churches would see Harvest America as an opportunity to carry the torch of the Gospel forward in their own backyard and join the thousands of churches already participating in the event," he added.

The same day as Harvest America 2018, the Southern Baptist Convention will kick off its annual meeting in Dallas. The meeting is slated for June 10-13.

In 2017, Harvest America drew about 82,000 people and more than 180,000 watched the broadcast of the event remotely. Another 90,000 watched the webcast.

Harvest American organizers say the event has been attended live or watched by simulcast by some 7.6 million people.


Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Publication date: April 20, 2018

One student has been injured in a high school shooting in Ocala, Florida. CNN reports that this is the 20th school shooting this year.

This shooting took place just as students around the country were set to participate in a school walkout to protest gun violence.

The student was reportedly shot in the ankle and has been taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries, said a spokesman for Marion Public schools in Ocala.

Police have taken the suspect into custody and have asked residents to avoid the area while they secure the premises and ensure the students are safe.

Students at the high school were taken to nearby First Baptist Church of Ocala where their parents were told to pick them up.

Meanwhile, students at about 2,500 schools around the nation are participating in a school walkout to protest the very thing that happened this morning.

"The fact that it happened on this day, in a way, reinforces what we are trying to get across," said Ryan Servaites, one of the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and teachers were killed in February of this year.

“We won't stop," Servaites added. "This is why. It is, in a way, the world slapping us in the face, but we just have to look at it as a wake-up call."


Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Publication date: April 20, 2018

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the horrific shooting at Columbine High School in which 15 people, including the perpetrators, lost their lives. The former principal of Columbine High School recently shared how God looked out for him and students he was trying to protect on that fateful day.

Frank DeAngelis refers to the 13 students and one teacher who died on April 20, 1999 as “the beloved 13.” DeAngelis was also close friends with the teacher, Dave Sanders.

While mourning the loss of these individuals, DeAngelis shared that the death count could easily have been higher.

The Christian Post reports that DeAngelis was in his office when he heard the gunshots. He ran out into the hallway to protect students and saw the shooter about 75 yards away. His plan was to get the students safely into the school’s gym and lock the doors.

Unfortunately, the doors to the gym were locked.

DeAngelis shares what happened next:

"I got them into a hallway and I wanted to get into the gymnasium so we could be behind locked doors. But the doors were locked. And something happened that still gives me chills when I say it. Girls were screaming, the gunman was firing shots and he was getting closer. I go to open the door and it's locked. I had 35 keys on a key ring and I reached in my pocket and I pulled out a key and it was a key that opened the door on the first try.

"It was not a specially marked key, it wasn't larger or anything,” DeAngelis continued. “I just reached into my pocket, first try, and I really believe it was divine intervention. If I would have had to fumble around to find the key there's a good chance the girls and I probably would have died that day.”

Two days after the shooting, DeAngelis was attending a Catholic church service and he says the priest told him, “‘Frank, that day you should've died. You encountered the gunman but you survived and God's got a plan for you...'It's going to be a tough journey, but God is going to be with you every step of the way.'”

Columbine High School is closed today in honor of those who lost their lives, and a memorial service will be held.


Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Azaliya

Publication date: April 20, 2018