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How God is redeeming the Armenian atrocities

A woman is reflected in a display containing a banner depicting 'Tools of Genocide' forming the shape of '1915', in reference to the year of the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, in Yerevan, April 22, 2015 (Credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili)"Today there are signs of spiritual revival again in Armenia.  The number of believers is increasing, and people are responding to God's word."  So says the leader of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) in Armenia, describing perhaps the most unlikely revival occurring anywhere in the world.

Today commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian atrocities.  A century ago, leaders of the Turkish government suspected Armenians living in the then-Ottoman Empire of conspiring with Imperial Russia, one of the Empire's long-standing enemies.  On April 24, 1915, scores of Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Istanbul; most were later murdered.  Thus began an atrocity that still defies comprehension.

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A gospel movement changing a city

Atlanta Skyline (Credit: Mike Boening Photography via Flickr)I was privileged to live and pastor in Atlanta, Georgia from 1994 to 1998.  Atlanta is one of the most beautiful cities in America.  And it has one of the most vibrant Christian communities in the U.S., with well-known pastors such as Charles and Andy Stanley.  I am familiar with the city and grateful for its remarkable churches and ministries.

This week, however, I learned about a gospel movement in Atlanta I did not know existed.  What I learned encouraged me greatly.  Meet Chip Sweney, who grew up in Illinois, attended Duke University, and went into business.  He was invited to a businessmen's Bible study, where he committed his life to Jesus.  At the age of 27, he left business for seminary, then became a student minister and staff member with Perimeter Church in Atlanta.

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The most famous orphan in America?

Davion Navar Henry Only poses for a photo with Connie Going, Eckerd adoption specialist (Credit: Tampa Bay Times/Melissa Lyttle)Davion Only may be the most famous orphan in America. In October 2013 he stood before a church congregation in Florida and made an appeal for adoption: "My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born. I know God hasn't given up on me, so I'm not giving up either."

He passed through several temporary homes, then called Connie Going, his adoption case worker of nearly 10 years. Every year he had asked if she would adopt him, but she always hesitated. "I always believed there was a better family than us out there," she told a reporter. "He deserves so much in this world." This time was different.

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Tim Tebow and the power of courage

Tim Tebow smiles at the camera as he signs a one-year contract Monday afternoon with the Philadelphia Eagles, April 20, 2015 (Credit: Philadelphia Eagles) Tim Tebow is back in the news.  The Philadelphia Eagles have signed him as their fourth quarterback, in time for their offseason workout program.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has released a video showing militants beheading 15 Ethiopian Christians in Libya and shooting 15 more.  Americans continue to remember the Oklahoma City bombing 20 years after 168 people were killed.  Two ships in the Mediterranean sank over the weekend, killing hundreds.  And six Somali-Americans were arrested last Sunday for allegedly recruiting new members for the Islamic State.

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Mother forgave Aaron Hernandez for killing her son

Ursula Ward, mother of shooting victim Odin Lloyd, looks up to the heavens as she talks about her deceased son outside Bristol County Superior Court on April 15, 2015, in Fall River, Massachusetts, after former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd (Credit: AP/Stew Milne)"I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son's murder—either before or after—and I pray and hope that some day everybody out there will forgive them also." So said Ursula Ward less than an hour after a jury convicted former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez of killing her son.

She added, "I will never have a grandchild from my son or grandchildren.  I will never get to dance at his wedding."  She told the packed courtroom, "The day I laid my son Odin Lloyd to rest I felt my heart stop beating for a moment.  I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son."  Nonetheless, the grieving mother has chosen to forgive the man convicted of his murder.

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