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John Piper Retires After 30 Years in Pulpit

Best-selling author and pastor John Piper will focus on his writing after preaching his last sermon as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he has served for more than 30 years.

"This is the last message in the series of 30-year theological trademarks, and I am calling it 'sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,' " Piper said from the pulpit Dec. 30. "I believe for these decades this theme and tone has marked us deeply. We are a happy people. But we are not what you might call 'chipper.' There is a plaintive strain in the symphony of our lives. I think Jesus was the happiest man whoever lived. And oh how sorrowful! A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Piper, 66, has stepped down from running the church with close to 5,000 weekly attendees, but he still has the passion to write books, preach and tour the country with his Desiring God ministry, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. read more

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Frank Pastore Dies From Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Frank Pastore, a Christian radio host and author of the 2010 memoir Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed, died Dec. 17—nearly a month after suffering serious head injuries from a motorcycle crash in Duarte, Calif. Pastore, 55, had been in a coma since the Nov. 19 accident.

"I just lost my beautiful husband," Pastore's wife, Gina Pastore, told the Inland Daily Bulletin. "But it's comforting to know he's home with the Lord now. People are calling in [to his radio show] and crying and mourning with us.

"I want to thank so many people for their outpouring of love and support," she added. "That's really helped to sustain our family during this difficult time." read more

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Evangelist, Pioneer Mary Ellen Strong Passes at 91

Evangelist, prophet and teacher Mary Ellen Strong, a pioneer in black media and marketing, died last week of heart failure at her California home. She was 91.

“She was the first in so many things,” said Jerrel Jones, her son. “She did have the pioneering spirit.”

Articulate and humorous, on numerous radio stations and television programs including The 700 Club, Strong's messages were delivered with the authority of knowing her secure position in Jesus Christ. She was a trailblazer for change and improvement across the globe; known to stand up with great boldness to rulers and laymen.

Born Mary Ellen Brady on June 4, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wis., she married James Strong, an attorney and U.S. diplomat to Gambia who worked with a number of major corporations, in 1970. He was a former marketing executive with the Kellogg Corp. After his death, she married Andrew Gaines, the father and manager of the late singer Donna Summer. read more

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Pentecostal Founder of Earth Day Passes at 97

John McConnell, Jr., the Pentecostal founder of Earth Day, passed away on Oct. 20, in Denver. He was 97 years old. 

McConnell’s grandfather was at the Azusa Street Revival and his parents were founding members of the Assemblies of God.

Following the Kennedy assassination, McConnell’s Minute for Peace gained worldwide attention. This led to his Earth Day and other initiatives aimed at promoting people and planet. In this book, Peace, Justice, Care for Earth, he shares the views that garnered support during the environmental movement from 1969 onward, and that have inspired followers for 40 years at annual Earth Day ceremonies at the United Nations (UN) and cities across the globe. read more

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