Author: Mildred Rhodes

Human remains found in Arizona identified as California man missing since 2017

The remains were discovered in 2018 when a hiker found a skull in the desert and contacted the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.

      

 

 

Woman's body found in northern Arizona area being investigated as a homicide

The body was found Saturday afternoon at Bly Pit, according to Coconino County sheriff’s officials.

      

 

 

Making Missions Count: How a Major Database Tracked Thailand’s Church-Planting Revival

A movement in Southeast Asia shows how real-time reporting is building Great Commission connections.

Dwight Martin can tell you the exact number of churches in Thailand. At the start of 2019, his site reported 5,805. By the next week, the number would be different.

While missionaries overseas, and even Western churches, often rely on broad estimates, he can calculate exactly how many subdistricts in the Buddhist kingdom have no churches at all (5,509) and how many people live in communities without any Christian neighbors (62.5 million).

The American missionary-kid-turned-IT-guru oversees the most comprehensive national church database in the world, with corresponding maps indicating exactly which corners of the colorful Southeast Asian country are most desperate for the gospel.

Fluent in Thai from his childhood, Martin had presented his findings dozens of times to church leaders and missionaries over more than a decade serving as the official research coordinator for the Thai church.

When he initially shared the data with the founders of a growing Thai church-planting movement, they balked, wondering why a white man was trying to make them feel bad about the outlook for the church in their country.

But the Free in Jesus Christ Church Association (FJCCA) eventually invited Martin to give his presentation to 60 of their top leaders, a third of whom had converted to Christianity less than a year before. Once they saw Martin’s maps, with data drilled down to the village level, they realized just how unreached their own nation remained.

After 190 years of Protestant ministry in Thailand, 95 percent of 80,000 villages in the country still didn’t have a church. While their humble house church movement had begun to multiply across their province in Central Thailand, provinces all over the region—and to the east and …

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Pastor Parking Paves the Way for Controversial Church Taxes

Some congregations will file taxes for the first time to comply with a new 21 percent tax on employee parking.

A new provision in the corporate tax code has some churches and other tax-exempt nonprofits wondering if they’ll really be on the hook for paying a “parking tax” this year.

2018 was the first year nonprofits were subject to a tax of 21 percent on employee benefits like parking and transportation stipends, under tax reforms passed by the GOP-controlled Congress the year before. The new tax is expected to cost nonprofits $1.7 billion over the next 10 years.

Experts suggest that many churches do not meet the parking tax requirements, as described in an interim guidance released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in December. But evangelical groups have still rallied in opposition. As recently as last month, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission continued to lobby Congress to repeal what its president Russell Moore called a “deeply un-American tax on churches.”

“There has been a great deal of rhetoric but no results,” he toldBaptist Press. “We now find ourselves weeks away from the tax deadline while many elected officials seem to hope this issue will get lost in the circus of the daily news cycle.”

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities joined the ERLC’s plea to lawmakers, as did Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, and Seventh-day Adventist leaders.

“The whole idea of tax exemption for nonprofit organizations that are doing charitable, religious, and educational work is for them not to be on the same playing field as for-profit businesses when it comes to taxes, in order to incentivize the good work they …

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Breathtaking photos of Arizona's storms, from monsoon rains to snowfall

Arizona storms can see lightning split the sky, dust and snow envelope the state, and sometimes it ends with a rainbow.

      

 

 

Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek offers reward after $20,000 worth of property was stolen

After 20,000 dollars worth of property was stolen from Schnepf Farms early Sunday morning, Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office is investigating.

      

 

 

Transhumanism and the Cult of ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’

Why the church should resist technologies that aim to liberate us from ordinary, embodied life.

Amid the pop-culture detritus of my childhood, one unforgettable fragment is the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. For the children of the 1970s, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was our first cyborg, fitted with a “bionic” eye and limbs after a nearly fatal accident. Every episode began by retelling his origin story, as a voiceover intoned: “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.”

Those opening lines have stuck with me. They were a kind of boyhood liturgy—a ritual repeated weekly as I watched the latest episode. They compress into a few sentences a great deal of what makes technology the central ideology of our age.

It begins with repair (“We can rebuild him”). The Enlightenment philosopher Francis Bacon urged his contemporaries to unlock the secrets of nature for “the relief of man’s estate”—the treatment of injury and illness and the end of material poverty. Who would not welcome, after a major accident, the comforting words “We can rebuild you. We have the technology”?

But the liturgy quickly moves from repair to enhancement—“better than he was before.” After all, if you have the technology to repair someone, why not make some improvements while you’re at it? This, of course, requires a fixed definition of “improvement”—what makes someone “better” than they were. And this the liturgy also supplies in a series of synonyms: “better, stronger, faster.”

In one sense, the vision of The Six Million Dollar Man is coming true. We are able to rebuild human bodies in ever more sophisticated ways. (Just to name one especially …

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God Saved Me From Suicide

I wanted nothing to do with faith. That changed the night I tried to take my own life.

I grew up with idealistic missionary parents who wanted more than punch-a-clock and pay-the-mortgage normalcy. They pursued a ministry life abroad, but after I was diagnosed with leukemia as a child, we were left stateside and struggling financially. We moved a lot—Hawaii, then Nepal, then back to Hawaii, then New Mexico.

For most of my teen years, we lived in Albuquerque, and during that time, I began to resent the ways God allowed us to suffer. I began to think God was cruel, a scarce and mean God who looked the other way when we were in need. My parents gave me space and didn’t force me to go to church with them, but I knew they prayed that I would come to know Christ. My dad would often say, “I believe God has a call on your life, Alia.” But I wanted nothing to do with faith.

Everything changed in the middle of my junior year. My parents got another ministry job offer and moved us back to Hawaii.

When we arrived in Pahoa, my dad surveyed the house the ministry had provided for us. It was unlivable. The house had no plumbing and no interior walls, only a concrete slab pooling with puddles of mosquito-infested water. Heavy green mold scaled the cement ruins and the jungle loomed around the house, unruly vines breaking through shattered windowpanes. No one had flown to the Big Island to inspect the house or property for years, and it had become uninhabitable.

We lived in Nepal in the early ’80s in a dung-style hut, so we’d never be accused of being high maintenance, but this was ridiculous. The ministry agreed to pay half the rent for livable accommodations. But even a month after we moved in, we had no furniture and couldn’t afford to get any now that we had to pay partial rent. We …

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'The Wall That Heals': Hundreds visit traveling replica of Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Peoria

‘The Wall That Heals,’ which brings the memorial to those who are unable to make the journey to the nation’s capital, closes at 2 p.m. Sunday.

      

 

 

30,000 fentanyl pills, other illegal drugs seized during Arizona operation

The seizure was part of an operation that swept up $700,000 worth of illegal and controlled substances in four border states.