Sunday, August 25, 2013

The 3 - August 25, 2013

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, involves a new law in New Jersey that would outlaw a method of change for those experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction.   There's a highly effective evangelistic crusade that has taken place over the weekend, where thousands have professed faith in Christ. And, the top story involves a decision by the Supreme Court in New Mexico to force a wedding photographer to photograph same-sex ceremonies in the state.

3 - New Jersey governor signs law against gay reparative therapy for children

There has been some debate about the validity of so-called "gay reparative therapy", which is designed to help those who are facing unwanted same-sex attractions to experience freedom from them.   Obviously, those that embrace the gay rights agenda do not want to acknowledge that it is possible to break free from the pull and practice of homosexuality.   But, there are those who recognize that it is possible to change, including those who embrace the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is a sin and that it is possible to overcome the power of sin through Jesus Christ.

The aim of gay reparative therapy is to help those who struggle.  This week, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey signed a bill that would make it illegal for therapists to help children struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions.  New Jersey becomes only the second state in the country to have such a law, joining California.

Liberty Counsel announced that it would be filing suit against the law, just as it did against California's law that became effective last year. Liberty Chairman Mat Staver was quoted by CitizenLink as saying that, “The bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested...Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal. This is absurd and dangerous.”

Pacific Justice Institute also took legal action in California and said it would fight the New Jersey law.

PJI President Brad Dacus said that one of the bill’s major flaws is that it’s based on pressure from gay activists, and not on scientific outcomes. He said, "The question here isn’t if sexuality comes from birth or not; the question is ‘Should we allow the government to restrict religious and constitutional freedoms because a forceful LGBT lobby says we should?’...The answer to that question is a resounding ‘No.’”

2 - Harvest Crusade draws thousands in Southern California with high-profile speakers and musical guests

People CAN the power of Jesus Christ!   That is the message delivered on Saturday night at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, the site of the latest Harvest Crusade, featuring speaker Greg Laurie.   Some 34,000 people showed up that night, according to The Christian Post, after some 28,000 attended the first. Over 3,000 made professions of faith the second night alone, after around 2,500 responded to the invitation on Friday.

In addition to Laurie, Max Lucado spoke on Friday night.  The final night, Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson was interviewed by Pastor Laurie in front of some 43,000 people at the stadium.   Musical artists during the crusade included TobyMac, Third Day, Phil Wickham, and for King and Country.

In his Saturday night sermon, Laurie warned, "You can't change yourself any more than a drowning person can save themselves." He stated, "The Bible says the problem is within. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart… The human heart is deceitful."

But there is good news. "God can change you; He can make you a different person on the inside," Laurie said.  He explained that the Bible says if you are in Christ, you are a different kind of a person and everything becomes fresh in you.  He said, "That can happen to you tonight, just as it happened to 2,500 people last night."

The Harvest Crusades move east next month, to Philadelphia, where Greg Laurie will be joined by MercyMe, Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp, Lecrae, and others for Harvest America.  It will be simulcast live to church locations across America Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29.   To learn more, visit

1 - New Mexico Supreme Court rules against photographer wishing to not photograph same-sex wedding ceremony

The New Mexico Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the case of a photographer who decided not to photograph a same-sex ceremony.   Apparently, same-sex marriage is not legal in the state (even though a report is out that a circuit clerk is issuing same-sex license and the attorney general is not doing anything about it).  Elane Photography objected to shooting such a "ceremony" based on their religious beliefs.

According to ChristianityToday.comthe high court in the state said, in a unanimous verdict, that, "When Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the [New Mexico Human Rights Act, or NMHRA] in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races."

The court rejected each of photographer's Elaine Huguenin's arguments, particularly one in which Huguenin had argued that her refusal did not discriminate against same-sex customers. Huguenin had argued that she happily photograph gay customers, but not in a context that seemed to endorse same-sex marriage. Likewise, she said, she wouldn't shoot heterosexuals in a context that endorsed same-sex marriage.

The Christianity Today report points out that Justice Richard Bosson's concurring opinion, not the majority opinion, is already getting the most attention. The Huguenins, he wrote "now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives. Though the rule of law requires it, the result is sobering. It will no doubt leave a tangible mark on the Huguenins and others of similar views."

But the judge also said that, "...the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."

The judge apparently expects the Huguenins, and other people of faith, to separate their beliefs from their practice - as he puts it, they have to "channel their conduct, not their beliefs".   But, if this couple, like so many Bible-believing Christians, are to accurately and credibly follow their beliefs, then their conduct will follow suit. 

It's similar to the difference between "freedom of worship", which some apparently would regard as being one's belief system or practice of worship inside a sanctuary or church building, and "freedom of religion", which affects the practice of one's faith applied to every area of life.   The Huguenins are apparently of the opinion, which is consistent with Scripture, that if we believe, we act accordingly.   Some in the culture are fine with religion, as long as we keep it to ourselves.   That is, and never has been, a tenet of the Christian faith.

So, what penalty do the Huguenins pay? According to National Review, the New Mexico Human Rights Council had originally ordered Elane Photography to pay the plaintiff over $6,600 in attorneys fees and costs.

In a development concerning the rights of private business owners to select the customers they will serve, Religion Today reports that Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman of the online retailer, according to Deseret News, has started a movement to protect churches from lawsuits by people demanding their services. He has proposed an amendment to the Utah constitution that would prohibit requiring a religious organization to “solemnize, officiate in, or recognize any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of its beliefs.”

Monday, August 19, 2013

The 3 - August 18, 2013

In this edition of my week-in-review feature, "The 3", I explore a ruling from a California court concerning the free speech rights of individuals reading the Bible in public.  Also from California, the Governor signed a bill allowing students to use the bathrooms of an opposite gender, if they identify with that gender.   And, the top story concerning Christians is from the nation of Egypt, where attacks on Christian ministries, including churches, escalated in the past week.

3 - Christians arrested outside DMV for quoting Bible declared "not guilty"

A significant ruling was issued by a judge in Murietta, California recently involving two men who were arrested for reading the Bible aloud outside of a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, who were found not guilty in a state superior court.

According to ChristianNews.Net, Riverside County Judge Timothy Freer agreed with attorneys for Pastor Brett Coronado and Mark Mackey that the prosecution failed to prove that the men had violated the law with their evangelistic activities.

The incident occurred in February 2011 when Coronado and Mackey, along with their friend Edward Florez, Jr., went to the DMV in Hemet early one morning to evangelize those who were waiting for the facility to open. As they stood in the publicly-owned parking lot, approximately 40 feet from the entrance, Mackey began to read out loud from the Bible.

He was later approached by a security officer at the DMV, who asked him to move elsewhere. The men then asserted that they had a First Amendment right to engage in their activities, and Mackey continued to read from the Scriptures. He and Coronado were arrested.

The organization Advocates for Faith and Freedom took up the case. In court, attorney Bob Tyler made a motion for a directed verdict just before it came time to put on evidence for the defense. Judge Freer granted the motion, stating that the prosecution’s argument was unconvincing.

Tyler said, “As part of his statement, he [also] said that he believed that the law is unconstitutional, but that he does not have to make that ruling because that issue is moot since he found that [the prosecution] did not meet their elements in the first place.”

Tyler says that he will now proceed with the civil suit that he filed against California Highway Patrol, which has been on hold pending the outcome of the trial.
2 - California governor signs cross-gender student bathroom bill

Another disturbing law emerging from California was signed by Governor Jerry Brown this week.   CitizenLink reports that the bill would allow students to choose to use a school’s boys or girls bathroom and locker rooms based on whichever gender they believe they are. Students will also be allowed to participate in sex-segregated activities, including sports teams.  It applies to public school students in elementary, middle and high school.

Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute, a pro-family group in Sacramento, is quoted as saying that, “This law takes away students’ privacy rights, puts our children at risk, and limits the authority of local school districts...AB 1266 does not require proof for students who claim to have gender identity issues — school administrators will have to take the child on his or her word when they want to use the facilities of the opposite sex.”

Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, said the firm will not shy away from standing up for those affected by the policy.

“We at Pacific Justice Institute stand ready and willing to defend anyone who will be victimized as a result of this new law,” he said. “That includes someone whose privacy rights are violated in the bathroom, in the locker room, in the showers, or someone who is prevented from playing on a sports team because someone from the opposite gender took their place.”

England stated that the legislation is “...about furthering the radical lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda...The homosexual activists are forcing San Francisco values on all California public schools at the expense of our most vulnerable — our children.”

1 - Christians, churches among those targeted in Egyptian violence

In Egypt, Christians make up about one-tenth of the population of 80 million people, and they feared heightened persecution since the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi came to power last year.  Last Wednesday was a tragic day in the life the Coptic Christian church in Egypt, on a day when a number of churches and Christian ministries were attacked.  For the week, perhaps over 600 people or more total lost their lives.

A comprehensive USA Today piece gave a unique look at the plight of believers in the nation.  It quoted the the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, saying that churches, houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked in nine provinces, "causing panic, losses and destruction for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians."

As if sensing trouble, just two days before Wednesday's violence, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed, writing on his official Twitter account, "With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property."

It was reported that many Christians participated in massive protests against Morsi at the end of June, and Tawadros sat with a row of officials behind Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi when the army chief gave his speech that overthrew Morsi.

In a 15-minute audio recording posted online earlier this month, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri accused Coptic Christians, the military and secular-minded elites of conspiring against Morsi because he is an Islamist.

Human rights groups in the nation accused Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists of inciting violence.  Ishak Ibrahim, officer for freedom of religion and belief at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said in a report that, "Copts are paying the price of the inflammatory rhetoric against them coming from some Islamist leaders and supporters of the former president, who accuse Coptic spiritual leaders of conspiring to foment army intervention to remove Dr. Morsi."

In an attempt to help people worldwide understand the dynamics and the desperation of the situation in Egypt, the Founder and CEO of SAT-7 International, providing satellite television programming to the Middle East, Terry Ascott, released a statement on behalf of a number of ministry leaders.   He decried the current situation and said about the Muslim Brotherhood,
The Muslim Brotherhood have been, and remain very effective in portraying themselves as the victims to the media, pointing to how Morsi had been “democratically” elected and that the army “coup” was a major setback to the country’s democratic progress. They have known what buttons to push with the Western press and this seems to be the version that most of the World is hearing – but it is not a version of truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians.
And, while the loss of life these past few days has been most regrettable it has not only been Muslim Brotherhood supporters that have died, and there has been scant reporting on the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to destabilise Egypt, its calls for violence against the government and its supporters; and there has been a total lack of reporting concerning weapons that the Brotherhood had in the camps and used against the army as it sought to dismantle the sit-ins.
He closed by asking for prayer concerning a number of elements in the country.  As Christians in the West, we would do well to intercede for this violent, tragic situation.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The 3 - August 11, 2013

On this week's edition of "The 3", I want to take a closer look at an important court case that challenges the national health care law, based on several principles that are consistent with some of the objections that Christians have raised throughout the years.   Also, I'll share some news on encouraging court action regarding a new form of pro-life activity.   And, The Global Leadership Summit returned this week, and high-profile speakers elaborated on leadership principles, a number of which are consistent with Biblical truth.

3 - Liberty University receives mixed rulings from court in health care case

A comprehensive lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act received some action this week from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.   In the case, Liberty University, represented by Liberty Counsel, is contending that the mandate under the health care law for employers to provide health insurance coverage for its employees is unconstitutional.   In an interesting series of events, the appeals court initially issued a stay of the mandate, then later denied the stay.   The employer mandate has been put on hold by the Obama Administration, delaying for a year its going into effect.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “Denying a stay while awaiting a petition for cert is not unusual, but it is unusual that conflicting orders are sent on the subject. The conflicting orders from the court of appeals do not have any relevant bearing on this case. We are preparing the petition to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.”  In this case, a petition for cert refers to the action of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal.

Liberty Counsel is challenging (1) the employer mandate; (2) the abortion mandate for religious employers; (3) the abortion mandate for individuals; and (4) the entire law because tax bills must originate in the House.

In the cert petition due in early October, Liberty Counsel will argue that the employer mandate violates the Commerce Clause.  It contends that as Congress lacks authority to force individuals to buy an unwanted product, so Congress cannot force employers to buy an unwanted product.  And, unlike the individual mandate, which the High Court ruled was a tax, the employer mandate exceeds Congress’s taxing powers because the penalties go beyond reasonable taxing limits and are punitive.  The case also challenges the employer and individual mandate provisions as violations of religious free exercise because they force employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs and many individuals to fund abortion.

Even though there has not been a lot of success in this case, it does encapsulate a number of the objections that people of faith have expressed, including the idea of an expansive government dictating to citizens how their money is to be spent.   The idea of taxpayer-funded abortion is offensive to many Christians, including the mandate that employers provide abortion-inducing drugs, which has been challenged in court, and a number of plaintiffs have been exempted temporarily until their cases are decided.

2 - Mobile ultrasound effort upheld by Federal judge; local judges closes Alabama clinic - again

During the same week when a local judge directed the New Woman All Women clinic in Birmingham to shut down...again, a Federal ruling has helped to certify the legality of a new front in the battle for pre-born children.   In Birmingham, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boohaker ruled that a clinic owned by Diane Derzis had to close - she had been prohibited from operating an abortion facility after the Alabama Departement of Public Health detailed numerous violations of state law.

According to LifeSiteNews.comDerzis had signed a consent agreement to relinquish ownership of the clinic last year. A close associate then attempted to purchase the facility, but the state refused, believing Derzis was using her friend to remain active in the business.

Derzis attempted to claim that she is merely landlord for the building that housed Dr. Bruce Norman's private abortion practice, but the ADPH said in court that phone and utility records proved she maintained control.

After the alleged change in ownership, the office lacked state license to perform abortions. The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) provided ample evidence that Norman continued to perform abortions at the location, anyway.

The decision comes just one day after an ambulance was called to the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Mississippi, where Dr. Norman also performs abortions, to transport a woman to the hospital.

“In 2012, Norman landed three Alabama women in the hospital in just one day,” Rev. Terry Gensemer, director of CEC For Life, observed. “Now a woman in Mississippi has been harmed. It's only a matter of time before a woman loses her life."

And, an important new strategy in pro-life work was given a boost this week by a Federal court in Illinois. According to Christian News Network, a Federal judge ruled that officials in Elgin City, Illinois can’t use a local zoning ordinance to thwart the efforts of a free mobile ultrasound unit to “save the lives of unborn children.”

In March of this year, TLC Pregnancy Services, run by The Life Center, Inc., filed a lawsuit against the city for forcing the pro-life outreach to shut down its operations following a complaint by Council Member Anna Moeller.  Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda had boarded up the mobile unit in August 2012, ordering the ultrasound technician to “cease and desist” her activities. He explained that a council member had called the unit an “eyesore.”

Additionally, The Life Center learned that Elgin City Council had amended its zoning code so that the mobile ultrasound would be considered a “temporary land use” that could only receive a permit four times a year per location. When the pro-life outreach attempted to obtain a permit last year, it was told that the City would not issue the organization any permits for the rest of 2012.

The Life Center, aided by the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed suit, and ADF voiced their pleasure with the ruling. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden said, “The court was right to stop the City of Elgin from preventing women in need from obtaining free ultrasounds and health information. Life Center’s free services help both the city and its citizens, so the city’s actions have been both counterproductive and unconstitutional.”

The judge in the case, Samuel Der-Yeghiayan wrote, “[I]t must be recognized that the City is preventing Life Center from being able to effectively provide pregnant women in the city with needed medical care that could identify issues and save lives of unborn children...Life Center has in fact provided evidence that it has helped a multitude of young women who have used the services at the mobile facility.”

The use of mobile ultrasound units opens up another area of opportunity to get good information into the hearts and minds of women.  An organization called, "Save the Storks", is working to build a fleet of vans equipped with ultrasound technology and partner with pregnancy resource centers across America, parking these "Stork Vans" outside abortion clinics. This organization and its representatives are able to meet with abortion-minded mothers right at the door of an abortion clinic to show them an image of their child. They say that the majority of the women they come in contact with are not fully convinced that abortion is the best option, but instead feel as if it is their only option.  So far, the effort has a 60% success rate for women choosing life.   Find out more at

1 - Global Leadership Summit distributed to churches across America

This past Thursday and Friday, The Global Leadership Summit, an annual event, was held at Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, and The Christian Post estimates that some 75,000 people watched at over 200 locations across America.   Later this year, an estimated 100,000 people are projected to view the messages in some 100 nations around the world.  On the closing day, Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church outside Atlanta, brought a message on the purpose of the church.  He is quoted as saying that:

"Every once in a while, because your Savior and my Savior is so committed to building the local church, he interrupts plans...He'll be willing to interrupt anything, because whether you participate or not, cooperate or not, or believe or not, our savior is building and will build his church, and nothing, nothing, nothing will stand in the way."

Other speakers included Mark Burnett, who produced "The Bible" miniseries, along with his wife, Roma Downey.  Burnett, who The Christian Post quotes as saying that the miniseries was a calling from God, also had these comments, according to blogger and social media expert Tim Schraeder:
  • Stop playing defensively and start playing offensively.
  • When I hear the word NO, I just think ‘Next Opportunity.’
Here are some other quotes from the event, according to Schraeder:
Bob Goff: 
  • If we lead strong, we will lead people towards Jesus.
  • If you create some margin, Jesus will shove some terrific things in that space.
  • God wants to blow your minds. He took the foolish things of the world to shame the wise so that no one can boast.
Chris Brown:
  • Don’t let the great things of leadership distract you from the God things of leadership
Oscar Muriu:
  • Think about your own unique context and how you can multiply leaders around you exponentially.
  • The size of your harvest depends on how many leaders you have (Matt 9:37-38).
This event provides an opportunity for leaders, in and outside the church, to learn valuable principles and hear from difference-makers - to be inspired to go into their various spheres of influence and make an impact.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The 3 - August 4, 2013

This week on "The 3", my week-in-review feature, I take a look at a conference held in Dallas this week that brought in church leaders, missionaries, and church planters to be motivated and mobilized in the work of evangelism.  Also, a well-known pastor returned to the pulpit for the first time in almost 4 months after his son's death.   And, the top story involves ongoing violence in the African nation of Nigeria, where churches were the targets in multiple bombings on Monday.

3 - SEND Conference motivates leaders to display Christ's love and truth

This past week, Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas became a nexus of activity in the areas of evangelism and church planting as the 2nd Send North America Conference, sponsored by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, was held there.  According to the NAMB website, more than 4,200 church planters, pastors and church leaders attended.

The gathering was marked by masses of participants praying in response to speakers, hundreds of connections between churches and church planters, and individuals seizing their moments to penetrate lostness in North America. Many attendees expressed the belief they were witnessing momentum building toward a movement to reach the continent.

Speakers included Prestonwood Pastor Jack Graham, Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City, Daniel Akin, the President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and evangelist Luis Palau.   Musical artists included Lecrae, Christy Nockels, and Brett Younker.

At the closing session, Aaron Coe, NAMB's Vice-President of Mobilization and Marketing, asked the question, ""How do we go from this moment to a movement?" He went on to say that, "It takes people. There are entire communities in the United States and Canada that have no churches. We've got a lot of work to do. As we leave this Send North America Conference, I hope you leave encouraged that Jesus is for you."

"Let's agree together as the people of God not to leave complacent or go back to the status quo, but to leave this place to make a difference in the world for the glory of God. Join me in not letting this be a forgotten moment."

NAMB President Kevin Ezell said he was "ecstatic about the turnout" for the event. "Not only the energy and electricity among the participants, but the passion and heart of pastors and planters -- it all exceeds our expectations. The ethnic diversity is fantastic. Obviously this confirms the launch of a new day. It is a new day and a new NAMB."

2 - Rick Warren returns to pulpit for the first time after son's death

Last weekend, Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” delivered his first sermon since the April 5 passing of his son Matthew, who struggled with mental illness. Pastor Warren’s wife Kay joined him in sharing a message titled “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through.” He had been away from the pulpit for 16 weeks, the longest absence he has experienced.

According to a press release, Warren shared the three things that gave he and Kay stability during their grief. First, life doesn’t make sense, but we can have peace because God is with us and loves us. Secondly, everything on earth is broken, but we can have joy because we know God has a greater plan. And third, we know that life is a battle, but we can have hope because we know there is more to the story.

Pastor Rick said that, “For 27 years I prayed every day of my life for God to heal my son’s mental illness…it didn’t make sense why this prayer wasn’t being answered...When you go through a difficult time, you automatically start to try and find an answer. But explanations never comfort. You don’t need explanations; you need the presence of God.”

Kay Warren also shared about her struggle with continuing to choose joy even in grief, a topic of which she wrote about in her book, “Choose Joy,” released in 2012. “What do you do when hope doesn’t turn out the way you think it will? You rebuild your hope,” she said.

Warren also pledged to remove the stigma of mental illness.  Over the next six weeks, Pastor Warren will continue the “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through” sermon series by focusing on the six stages of grief – shock, sorrow, struggle, surrender, sanctification and service.

1 - Violence continues to occur in Nigeria

The stories emerging out of the African nation of Nigeria continue to be heart-wrenching, as Christians and others are being victimized by Muslim extremists, including those who are associated with the militant group Boko Haram.  

As reported on, Jerry Dysktra, media relations director for Open Doors USA, reports that recent violence took place on Monday..."in a Christian area of Kano city in Kano state. Among the bombing sites was the Christ Salvation Pentecostal Church where at least 12 people died, according to World Watch Monitor. The total could reach 50 victims. Please pray for an end to violence and that the Nigerian government will restore security.”

According to the Associated Press, since 2010 the Boko Haram network is responsible for the killings of more than 1,600 people, many of them Christians. Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians.

Morning Star News reports that 45 people are dead so far in the multiple bombings in Kano.  The Rev. Ramsey Noah, chairman of the Kano state chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) reported that the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were planted near three churches, blasting two of them as well as nearby Christian-owned businesses on Monday night. The four devices were detonated minutes apart between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the Sabon Gari area of the city, sources said.

Christians were meeting at Christ Salvation Pentecostal Church when one explosion hit, and 39 bodies were recovered in the area, Christian leaders said. Christians were also meeting at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church as another bomb went off, and an explosion apparently targeting Peniel Baptist Church did not affect the structure, Noah said.

A spokesman for the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kano, Capt. Ikedichi Iweh, said Boko Haram was suspected.

And, this week, according to the Washington Post, Islamic extremists killed eight people in an attack targeting teachers and Muslim clerics in northeast Nigeria, witnesses and the military said Thursday.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa also warned that the Boko Haram terrorist network plans more such killings and “massive attacks” aimed at the northeastern city where their extremist movement was born -Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.   A statement says that, “The Joint Task Force wishes to alert citizens ... of the impending plans by Boko Haram terrorists to carry out massive attacks and bombings in Maiduguri metropolis and other parts of Borno State any moment from now and during the Eid al-Fitr.” That celebration on Aug. 8 marks the end of the Ramadan fasting period.