5 Questions for Roy Costner: SC Valedictorian Who Defied School Ban on Prayer at Graduation Talks Free Speech and Future Plans

Roy B. Costner IV delivered the valedictorian address at Liberty High School’s graduation ceremony as administrators watched in Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum on June 1, 2013. (Photo courtesy of Angie Costner)

Roy Costner IV, valedictorian of South Carolina’s Liberty High School, defied his school district’s ban on prayer and inserted the Lord’s Prayer into his graduation address to much applause from the audience. I asked him about the details behind his decision, how he is handling critics, and his future plans.When eighteen-year-old Roy Costner IV of Liberty, South Carolina first heard about the controversy over prayer at public school events in Pickens County several months ago, he was perpl … [Read more...]

Hosanna in Hindustan: A Palm Sunday Reflection

Indian believers gather at a church in rural East India to worship on Palm Sunday. (Photo by Biswaranjan Rout)

It was a warm Spring weekend in March 2010, and I was in the middle of an adventurous trip to rural east India.  I decided to visit a local church in Ranchi, Jharkhand that Sunday, but was told that there probably wouldn’t be many people gathering in the morning and it might not be safe to venture out alone.  There had been some recent persecution of Christians in that region, and many Ranchi residents were skeptical of whether the church congregation would turn out in large numbers.  … [Read more...]

Gifts of the Season: Advent Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

Advent - istock_000010733475small_med

Advent (meaning “arrival” or “coming”) is a spiritual season of preparation leading up to Christmas, as Christians get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This season is characterized by personal prayer and repentance along with corporate expressions of anticipation, hope and joy.Of course, another hallmark of this holiday season is the focus on giving.  According to the American Research Group, this year it is estimated that shoppers will spend an average of $854 for gifts, up $200 from l … [Read more...]

Son of Promise: Reflections on God’s Power and Providence

Paul and Veena (May 2012)

My daughter Ruth recently wrote about a miracle that took place in our family 22 years ago, causing me to reflect on the providence of God and the power of His precious promises during that defining time in our lives. Here is how God used our trials to strengthen our faith, deepen our surrender, and teach us to rest in His grace.  By Veena MalhotraToday as we commemorate Veterans Day, with hearts full of gratitude for the U.S. military, my thoughts go back to Veterans Day 22 years ago wh … [Read more...]

The Day I Grew Up

I remember feeling all alone on November 11, 1990.

22 years ago this Sunday, I was a young child sitting in church when my mom suddenly told me to call an usher.  Here is what happened the day I almost lost my mom and brother... and how that experience still impacts me today.   My mom was 29 weeks pregnant, and I was a spunky six-year-old.  It was a Sunday, so my mom and I were in the morning church service (typical).  My dad was out of town on business (also typical).  It was November 11, 1990.The kind ushers had just taken up the o … [Read more...]


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