Sunday, August 24, 2014

The 3 - August 24, 2014

This week's edition of "The 3," features two celebratory events at an Atlanta hospital, as two health care professionals from Christian ministries were released after being treated for the Ebola virus.  Also, new regulations were announced for non-profit organizations and closely-held companies concerning the contraception mandate.   And, a massive turnout in Southern California came out for a long-standing annual evangelistic crusade.

3 - 2 Christian workers released from Emory University hospital after Ebola treatment

Two devoted health care workers who were helping to care for Ebola patients in Liberia have now been released from an Atlanta hospital.  An American doctor, Kent Brantly, who works with Samaritan's Purse, was discharged from Emory University Hospital Thursday. Another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, of Servants in Mission, or SIM, was discharged Tuesday.

According to a article, Brantly, looking gaunt, said at a press conference Thursday that, "God saved my life," at which the room applauded his appearance. He thanked his medical team and the millions of people around the world praying for his recovery. “Please do not stop praying for the people of West Africa.”

Bruce Ribner, the medical director of the hospital's infectious disease unit, said the hospital performed extensive blood and urine tests on both patients and consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before deciding the two missionaries were ready to be released.   He said that neither poses any risk to the public.  Five doctors and 21 nurses cared for Brantly and Writebol during their stay.

SIM press release through Religion News quoted Nancy Writebol's husband David, who, in a statement, said: "Nancy is free of the virus, but the lingering effects of the battle have left her in a significantly weakened condition. Thus, we decided it would be best to leave the hospital privately to be able to give her the rest and recuperation she needs at this time...During the course of her fight, Nancy recalled the dark hours of fear and loneliness, but also a sense of the deep abiding peace and presence of God, giving her comfort..."

Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham is quoted in this statement, published on
I know that Dr. Brantly and his wonderful family would ask that you please remember and pray for those in Africa battling, treating and suffering from Ebola. Those who have given up the comforts of home to serve the suffering and the less fortunate are in many ways just beginning this battle.
We have more than 350 staff in Liberia, and others will soon be joining them, so please pray for those who have served with Dr. Brantly — along with the other doctors, aid workers and organizations that are at this very moment desperately trying to stop Ebola from taking any more lives.

2 - HHS contraception mandate rules changed again

Responding to action from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Obama administration announced yet another revision to the regulations for non-profit organizations who object to the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate, according to a report on the WORLD News Group website.

As anticipated, the new regulations follow the guidelines of the recent Supreme Court order granting Wheaton College an injunction against the mandate.

Here's how the new regulations work: an objecting nonprofit can inform the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in writing that it objects to the mandate and be absolved from arranging coverage. But, HHS would then order the nonprofit’s insurer to provide the objectionable drugs to employees at no cost to the nonprofit. If the nonprofit is self-insured, HHS would order the group’s third-party administrator to provide the drugs, which the article points out is a complicated scenario.

HHS also announced a proposal in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case to allow closely held corporations who object to the mandate to use the same accommodation process as objecting nonprofits.

Lori Windham of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty issued this statement:
“Under pressure from hundreds of lawsuits, the government continues to retreat. After three losses in the Supreme Court and dozens of losses in courts below, the government continues to confuse the issues. The government issued over 70 pages of regulations, when all it needed to do was read the First Amendment. We’ll be reviewing this latest attempt with each of our clients.”

The Becket Fund website points out 5 things about the new regulations:

1. This is the 8th retreat the administration has made from their original stance that only “house[s] of worship” receive religious liberty protection.

2. There are a lot of lawsuits against the administration: 102 cases filed including: 28 religious universities (More Protestant than Catholic), 40 religious charities, and 3 Bible publishers.

3. The administration has lost 90% of their cases on this issue – including a decision and two orders from the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Wheaton.

4. The religious charities in these cases serve tens of thousands of people, helping the poor and healing the sick. The Little Sisters of the Poor alone serve more than ten thousand people.

5. This is the first time the administration has acknowledged that families do not lose their religious freedom when they open a family business. None of the previous seven revisions reached family-owned businesses.

Baptist Press quotes a written statement by Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Dr. Russell Moore:
"Here we go again...What we see here is another revised attempt to settle issues of religious conscience with accounting maneuvers. This new policy doesn't get at the primary problem. The administration is setting itself up as a mediator between God and the conscience on the question of the taking of innocent human life."

1 - Thousands flock to Harvest Crusade in Anaheim

What has been termed as the longest-running evangelistic outreach in U.S. history yielded another sizable crowd to the Angel Stadium of Anaheim in California, where more than 116,000 people packed the stands of the famed baseball stadium over three nights to attend the 25th annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie, which ended on Sunday, the 17th.

All nights of the 2014 SoCal Harvest were broadcast on the Internet, where over 62,700 people from all 50 states and 121 countries around the world watched the outreach.

In a Harvest Crusade press release, Laurie, who preached each night of the Crusade, is quoted as saying, "God can forgive your sin and the guilt that goes along with it. He loves you...Have you heard His voice? After 25 years, I know there's nothing I can say to make you believe in Jesus. All I can do is deliver the news, sharing it with you. You have a choice: you can say yes to Him or you can say no to Him."

By the end of the weekend, almost 12,800 people indicated their faith in Christ at the Southern California Harvest Crusade, including over 11,300 people who walked to the outfield of Angel Stadium, and another 1,425 who made that decision online after viewing the Internet broadcast of the crusade.

The 2014 Crusade concluded with a Sunday night fireworks display that accompanied Chris Tomlin as he sang "God's Great Dance Floor," and a musical medley from Grammy-nominated vocalist Crystal Lewis, who has performed at nearly every Harvest Crusades outreach in Orange County.

Other musical artists throughout the Crusade included NEEDTOBREATHE, Phil Wickham, Skillet, Sidewalk Prophets, and For King and Country.

There were reflections on the past 25 years with video flashbacks and testimonies from past participants who experienced spiritual change after attending a Harvest Crusade event.

Coming up on Sunday, October 5th, Harvest America will take place in Dallas at the American Airlines Arena. The event is scheduled to be simulcast to host locations nationwide. The event will feature Greg Laurie, music by MercyMe, and worship with Phil Wickham.  Learn more at or

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