Get in the money game

If you don’t play the game, you can’t win it.

Frugal: How penny-pinching can help you retire comfortably

From missionary to millonaire

One armed hooper Hansel Enmanuel on a mission for God

With one arm amputated, Christian dunker Hansel Enmanuel is winning high school games and has D-1 scholarship offers from Tennessee State and the University of Memphis.

“It’s not about what I want to achieve or do in life, it’s what God wants from me,” Hansel told the Orlando Sentinel. “God always has a purpose. I am living His mission, what He wants me to do in this life. Everything I do, I do it with God first and for my family; they are everything [to me].”

To see young hotshots slaloming through opponents and dunking on them is enough to generate a buzz in the basketball world. But he does it with one arm.

Hansel was born in the Dominican Republic. His father, Hansel Salvador, was a professional basketball player on the Caribbean Island. But he grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods. He developed a love and passion for basketball as a kid.

Tragedy struck when he was only six-years-old. When he clambered up on a wall of cinder blocks, they came crashing down and trapped his arm under a block for two hours before he could be rescued. When his father took him to the hospital, doctors determined that his tendons were shattered and they could do little to save his arm.

“My life fell apart when Hansel’s accident happened. I was the one with him and when they had to amputate his arm, I felt like it was all over. But God grabbed us and led us down this path,“ his father said. “You remember everything [from the accident] because a blow like this is not forgotten so quickly, regardless of all that he is achieving, thanks to God.“ Read the rest: One armed baller Hansel Enmanuel is Christian.

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Freed from the demons of Buddhism

Despite experiencing terrors of demonic oppression as a child, Apisit “Ide” Viriya didn’t abandon the syncretic Buddhism of his childhood when he began experiencing clinical levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder with anxiety as a college student.

“Buddhism acknowledges suffering in the world,” says the Thai immigrant to America. “But for me it didn’t provide a solution. I fell into a survival mentality.”

Ide was raised in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. Raised in America, Ide was told by his parents to always double-down on the teachings of his family, as 95% of Thais are Buddhist.

So he hung on to Buddhism, even when the animism of his village opened him to demonic influences. His parents didn’t believe him or his brother when they were awakened by terrors or heard voices during the night, so they comforted each other.

“I felt like there were fingers touching my body,” he says on a Delafe video. “I could see two eyes looking down at me.”

At the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Ide first encountered an enthusiastic believer. He felt like she genuinely cared for him, but he was put off by her exclusive attitude, saying that Jesus was the only way to God.

He listened to her as she witnessed to him and even attended church, but he also shared Buddhism with her.

In his early 20s, he began to suffer from depression and OCD, believing that something bad would happen to his mom if he didn’t repeat a phrase a number of times.

“I would keep having to repeat things as a thought in my head until I felt peace,” he says.

He sought help from university student psychological services and got referred off campus because the case was higher level than they could handle.

Thus began years of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. At the height, he was taking 12 pills a day to calm the irrational fears. He also dove deep into Buddhism, visiting the temple and praying with monks every evening.

Still, he sought solutions that Buddhism couldn’t provide.

While Buddhism teaches the way to peace is by not setting your hopes on the things in this world, it was completely at a loss for aiding with OCD.

Trying to manage his OCD, finish college, and hold down a job, was a daunting task.

Desperate at age 25, he saw a Christian psychologist, who asked if he could pray for him each time. “I was hurting, so lost, I said, that’s fine. I just didn’t care,” he says. Read the rest: Demons in Buddhism

Toddler orders 31 cheeseburgers on Mom’s cell

Customarily, toddler Barrett Golden is the star of the show taking pictures of himself on his mom’s phone. But on Monday, the 2-year-old Texas tyke used mom’s cellular to order 31 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s via DoorDash.

Instead of getting mad, Mom Kelsey Golden, whose Facebook profile says “I love Jesus first and foremost,” allowed the mirthful cutefulness of the situation to melt her heart like the melted cheese on those burgers.

“He usually likes to take pictures of himself, and so he was doing,” Kelsey says. “I thought I’d locked the phone, but apparently I didn’t because the Doordash came with 31 cheeseburgers.”

When DoorDash rang her door in Kingsville, Texas, Mom was very surprised by a delivery that she hadn’t ordered: $92 worth of hamburgers (including a $16 DoorDasher tip).

Immediately, she set about to find the culprit, her youngest smiling innocently and charmingly over hacking skills so advanced that even Russian blackhats took notice.

Mom has since “hidden” the DoorDash app on her phone, as well as the Amazon app.

Of his Golden Arches spoils, the little Golden boy only ate half a cheeseburger.

The rest, Mom says, were donated to the needy in the community via a Facebook community page.

“I didn’t know what to do with them.” Kelsey told KRIS 6 News. “He only ate half of one.”

Cue Veggie Tale’s Cheeseburger song.

‘Shut up and die!’ she shouted at her mother. She didn’t mean it.

In a moment of extreme accumulated frustration, Chiaki Gadsden told her alcoholic mother during a fight: “Shut up and die!”

Chiaki’s mother died that day.

“The next morning my father told me, ‘Chiaki, you mother died today,’” she narrates on a Japan Kingdom Church video on YouTube. “I didn’t feel anything. I just couldn’t believe it. I went home and saw her body and still couldn’t believe it.”

Chiaki’s childhood frustration and source of loneliness and abandonment was her mother’s alcoholism. Her father didn’t like to see his wife drunk, so he stayed away from home. Her older sister had become hardened and unfeeling, so she paid no heed to Chiaki’s pleas that they help Mother.

Eventually, Chiaki became uncaring also and took drugs and became promiscuous as a coping mechanism, she says. The coping mechanism never worked very well.

Meanwhile, she grew hard-hearted and distant from everyone.

That morning Chiaki and her mother fought, as they did many days. The sinister effects of alcoholism over many years reached a boiling point and Chiaki uttered the words she later regretted: “Shut up and die!”

She pronounced the awful words, but didn’t want the horrible result.

So when Mom died that day, Chiaki was staggered.

“I started to blame God: ‘Why didn’t you help me?’” she remembers. “I thought, What’s the point of this life? No one can help. My family didn’t help. God didn’t help. What is this life?”

At a family meeting, Chiaki’s father made a terrible announcement to everyone.

“He said my mother’s death was my fault,” Chiaki says.

“I was shocked that he said that,” she says. “I could not understand why he would say that.”

“Oh, it’s my fault that my mother’s dead?” Chiaki thought. “My father said so. Then it is bad for me to be here. If I’m not here, then everyone will be happy.”

From that moment, Chiaki no longer sought to have relationships with people. She cut herself off. She lost all hope, all purpose.

“Everything just became darkness,” she says.

Then Chiaki was invited to a gospel music festival.

“When I saw and listened to the gospel music, suddenly I felt something warm in my heart,” she recalls. “I thought, wow, gospel music is amazing. Then all of a sudden, tears started to pour out. I thought to myself, Why am I crying? I thought, What is this? What is this?” Read the rest: Christianity in Japan

A black pastor in Japan

Blacks aren’t generally accepted in Japan. Even Japan’s 2015 Miss Universe candidate Ariana Miyamoto, being half black, was widely rejected on social media as not being truly Japanese.

So how does Marcel Jonte Gadsden – and a handful of other black pastors – lead churches and evangelize in Japan?

“No matter what you do, no matter how you treat me, I respond with a deeper love, an unconditional love, agape love,” Marcel says on The Black Experience Japan YouTube channel. “The Bible tells us to love our enemies. How can you love your enemy? You can’t do it. That’s why the L of love is written from the top down. You must receive love vertically from the Father, down to you and then you can give it out.”

Marcel arrived in Japan as a military brat in 1999.

“I thought coming here there’d be samurais everywhere with swords,” he says. “I was scared to come to Japan. I thought we’d be the only black people in Japan. All I knew was Ramen noodles and samurais.”

When he got out among the people, he was smitten with compassion – so many hordes without hope, without Jesus.

“If what I believe is true about God, what is the hope for these people?” Marcel remembers. “The passion began to rise.”

Motivated to reach the people, Marcel threw himself into learning Japanese and when he had memorized some verses, went out as an adolescent to street-preach in Japanese in the Shinjuku neighborhood.

Japan has virtually no context for understanding street preachers. While there are street performers, they make a poor reference point. Some stared at him as if he were crazy, others ignored him.

While the initial response wasn’t exactly warm, Marcel was warmed by the fires of the love of God.

“Some people were listening and others were like who is this guy?” he remembers. “I began to learn about Japanese people and how they’re not expressive like we are.”

He took a job at 7Eleven to immerse himself in the culture and get to know the people. When he started a church in his living room, many of his first visitors had met him at 7Eleven.

“It was a training ground. I learned so much. It turned a lot of heads when they saw me at the counter. To see the reactions in people’s faces, they look and look again like, he works here?”

When Marcel met and married a Japanese girl from church, he had to overcome the resistance of his father-in-law, who shared the typical entrenched racism of Japan. Every day his future father-in-law would drop his girlfriend off at church, he would pop up to the car, open the door for Chiaki and warmly greet her dad.

“I think he had this image of me being a gangster and trying to steal his daughter,” Marcel relates. “He totally ignored me. And this continued until finally one day, he slightly looked like he slightly acknowledged me. He gave an inch of a nod. I was really convinced that love could destroy his prejudice.”

After Marcel and Chiaki were married, the formation of a relationship with his father-in-law began… Read the rest: black pastors in Japan

Chevy Beauville with him when he shipped hotdog carts, drove kids in high school and then at church

The “goon-mobile” or “swagger wagon” – a 1978 Chevy Beauville van that belched out blue smoke from its tailpipe – accompanied Adam Dragoon everywhere he went, from delivering hotdog carts around town in Portland to the party bus in high school.

When he got saved in his later high school years, the Beauville became the church bus, carting people and equipment for outreach and service.

“I learned how to sell hotdogs at 10 years old, slinging the mustard, Hebrew National hotdogs,” Adam says. “I inherited the van, a 1978 Chevy Beauville. It was a tank, one of those half-ton vans. That became my ride, that hunk of junk. It was glorious.”

The hunk of junk is a metaphor for Adam’s life before Jesus: weighted heavily, inefficient, roaring around, wasting resources. The heaviness on his heart started early, when his parents got divorced in Oregon during kindergarten.

“I was upset that Dad was gone and he wasn’t coming back,” Adam remembers on a Testimony Tuesday podcast on Spotify. “That definitely had a profound impact on who I was.”

Then both his grandfathers died when he was 15.

“That hit me real hard,” he acknowledges. “It was the first time I had to deal with death. I got angry at God. My mother’s father knew Jesus, so I was confident he was in Heaven. But my other grandpa was blasphemous and told dirty jokes. One of them was in Heaven, and one of them was not.

“That had a profound effect on me.”

What was a young boy supposed to do but fall in love with a cute blond at a telemarketing firm that he now realizes was a scam?

“I had to take care of the car. I had to pay insurance. I had to put gas in the tank, so I had to have a job,” he remembers of his 16th year. School was less appealing than work: he had a ready mind to learn but an unready hand for homework and barely passed his classes.

Raised in Arizona – “the Promised Land where all the California people who can’t afford California go,” Adam spent summers with his father where Grandfather Dragoon put him to work peddling hotdogs from his deli. He learned a work ethic.

During the summer when he was 14, Adam tried reading the Bible with his other grandfather but didn’t understand because he wasn’t yet born-again; the Holy Spirit was not yet upon him to teach him the meaning of the Scriptures.

“I put some serious effort into it,” he says.

His mom took Adam and his brother to church, one of those megachurches with cushy chairs, AC flooding the room, and a youth group of 800 kids. If you asked him, Adam would have said he was a Christian.

At the same time, there were doubts. Taught in public school, he was filled with a lot of skepticism and atheistic ideas, the fodder of the public school system.

So, when one day he sat next to a glowingly pretty blond at the telemarketing business, Adam was ripe to listen to the Gospel from her. Taya radiated light, the light of Jesus – and she was stunning.

“One day I got brave enough to leave a note on her car: If you ever want to hang out with me, you can call me,’” he remembers. “Amazingly enough, she called me.”

The first conversation ended with him asking her to hang out on the weekend. She responded with: Today’s Wednesday, and I’m going to church. Do you want to go to church with me? Read the rest: Adam Dragoon pastor of Virginia Beach Church

Avid atheist in drugs returns because of mom’s prayers

Steve Prendergast went from diehard Christian in his youth to a hard-to-kill “avid atheist” who drank, took drugs, and ridiculed his praying mom.

“I pretty much ran out of veins to inject crack cocaine with,” says the former wrestler who crashed a vehicle while drunk and had a leg amputated as a result. “Thank God for a persistent mother. I credit a praying mother who prayed with my Aunt Linda for over 20 years.”

After three motorcycle accidents, a boating accident, five overdoses and two suicide attempts, the boy who started on fire with God finally relented and came back to God.

Steve’s start was in a Christian home with lots of love for the Word of God. But curiosity to see what the world had to offer seduced his heart.

“At age 16, I started to binge drink,” Steven says on 100 Huntley Street video on YouTube. “I wanted to see what life was like on the other side of the fence.”

When his young Christian girlfriend moved away, he blamed God and searched for “hypocrisies” in the church to justify his plunge into temptation.

“I became a very avid atheist,” Steve acknowledges. “I actively mocked people, including my mother, and friends of mine who had faith. It didn’t matter what your religion was, I would still mock you if you believed in any form of a deity. That’s how far I drifted away.”

The bar scenes, the drug and alcohol culture began to fill his boat with water, sinking him ever deeper. He worked full time, and as soon as he got home, his phone rang non-stop; he became a drug dealer as well.

Steve took up wrestling and wanted… Read the rest: Avid atheist saved by mom’s prayers.

Miracle money for marine

Just when Jacob and Charlsie tried to honor God by getting out of debt – he took a second job, she got food at the Food Bank – simultaneously both of their cars broke down and needed expensive repairs.

It was a blast of discouragement undermining their newfound determination to “not be a slave to the lender.”

Marines don’t make much money in the first place. The sacrifice of being separated for most of their three years of marriage while Jacob was deployed was already a burden. When they took stock of their growing credit card debt, they felt crushed.

“The joy of being back together was dampened by the weight of, ‘wow, okay, we we’ve got debt and it’s growing,'” Charlsie explains on a CBN video.

“We looked at it, we were like, ‘wow, that hurts.’ And that was kind of our wakeup call where we came together and we were like, ‘we can’t, do this. We need to learn the skills, apply them, and pull ourselves out of this hole,'” Jacob adds.

In a bid to get the upper hand over expenditures, they dropped their cable and internet.

They were just beginning to feel they would soon be above water. Then disaster struck both of their cars. It was a devastating blow.

“Right now, fixing the issues with either car can’t be at the top of our priority list,” Charlsie remembers thinking. “There are other bills and needs that come before doing that.”

They considered downsizing to just one car. But they really needed both. Charlsie volunteered a their church, Pillar Church in Oceanside.

Pastor Mike became aware of their struggles and made… Read the rest: Miracle money for marine.

He had scratches on his back in the morning

She was Bahai, he was a militant agnostic, they fell in love, what could possibly go wrong?

After declining the offer to receive Jesus at a friend’s church, Emily and Aaron Armstrong found out what could go wrong: a dark presence began to torment them.

“We would wake up in the evening and really feel like somebody else was in the house when there really wasn’t,” Emily says on a 100 Huntley Street video. “He’d wake up with scratches on his back that I didn’t put there. He’d be fighting in his sleep all the time. He’d be swinging his arms as if he was trying to fend somebody off.”

The demons – the presence – left when the Canadian couple accepted Jesus into their hearts. To get to the place where they grappled with demons didn’t take a pact with Satan. Actually, very prosaic events in Emily’s life led her the wrong way.

Despite having lots of Christian friends whose company she enjoyed and with whom she went to youth group activities, Emily didn’t receive Jesus.

She received Bahai, the Iranian-based hodgepodge religion of idealism. It believes that one day, we’ll all have one religion, one economy, one language and universal harmony and equality.

“Because I was a perfectionist, I thought this was a beautiful and wonderful thing,” Emily says.

After graduating from college, she dated Aaron, who was sweet and charming but was an unmovable agnostic. Emily thought that inviting him to enough events would convince him about Bahai, but he always took a dim view.

Not long afterward, Aaron got invited to a 10-week seminar on the basic doctrines of Christianity, and they attended because they didn’t want to make their friend feel bad. It was interesting, but Emily and Aaron politely declined the invitation to receive Jesus.

That’s when the presence showed up.

“Strange things started to happen,” she says. “We would wake up in the evening and really feel like somebody else was in the house when there really wasn’t. I wasn’t seeing things that weren’t there.”

The scratches on Aaron’s back in the morning were really bizarre. Why was Aaron flailing his arms, as if fighting someone off during his sleep? Read the rest: Bahai opened couple to demons

You think that jihadi getting out of prison right now is ‘gentle as a jelly bean?’

Deradicalization programs designed to tame jihadists in prison are all utter failures because they try to convince fanatics that the Koran doesn’t mean what it says in plain language, says a former Australian jihadist in the March 31, 2022 edition of the Atlantic.

Musa Cerantonio, formerly a top propagandist for ISIS, laments the useless deprogramming program because they ineffectively try to teach militants that the watered-down Islam of the medieval Muslim theologians is more authentic than the unadulterated Koran.

“It’s idiotic,” Cerantonio says. “It doesn’t work. It has failed miserably time after time.”

Cerantonio’s comments come at a time when thousands of ISIS prisoners are ready to be released into society, in America and abroad, after serving relatively light sentences because prosecutors didn’t know whether ISIS militants ‘slaughtered Shias or cooked falafel,” says David Wood, a Christian apologist who monitors the Islamic community.

“How do you know the ISIS jihadi you’re releasing back into society isn’t going to go on a killing spree?” Wood says with meditative sarcasm. “Easy. You know he’s as gentle as a jelly bean because while he was in prison, you made him participate in a deradicalization program.”

The deradicalization programs fail because they ineffectually spin simple and clear edicts from the Koran: “fight those who don’t believe in Allah” and “when anyone leaves Islam, kill him,’ Wood notes on an Acts 17 Apologetics video.

There must be some irony that Wood, a diehard Christian, is in agreement with Cerantonio, a formerly diehard Muslim who now is a diehard atheist.

Cerantonio is currently finishing a sentence in Australia for his participation with ISIS. He’s the uncommon jihadist, the scholarly radical who is fluent in Aramaic, linguistics and Arabic history. It was his profound study that led him to detect plagiarism in the Koran, a finding that made him realize the Muslim’s holy book originated from man, not Allah.

Specifically, he compared closely the fictionalized exploits of Alexander the Great with its counterpart version of Dhu-l Qarnayn in the Koran and realized the sheer linguistic evidence inclined heavily in favor of the Aramaic version being the original, not the Koran’s.

“I have been wrong these last 17 years,” Cerantonio wrote an Atlantic reporter. “Seeing individuals dedicate themselves to tyrannical death cults led by suicidal maniacs is bad enough. Knowing that I may have contributed to their choices is terrible.”

Today Cerantonio has reverted to his birth name Robert and is a follower of new atheist Richard Dawkins. He himself has persuaded two fellow jihadists to believe in evolution and abandon plans… Read the rest: Can jihadis be reformed by prison programs?

4 out of 10 abortions, Christian mothers

Four out of 10 women who received an abortion, according to a 2015 Care Net study, got pregnant out of wedlock and had also been attending church. They said the church had no influence on their decision to terminate a pregnancy.

How could this be when the church is at the heart of the Pro-Life movement?

A new documentary attempts to resolve this dark paradox. “The Matter of Life,” in theaters May 16 and 17 only, suggests that the church needs to work on a secondary message. Without easing off the preaching against abortion, it needs to strengthen its message of extending grace to people who slip up.

“I thought all of them were going to judge me,” one young woman says in the film.

“My expectation was that everyone was going to look at me and not see a ring on my finger,” another says.

“These people are going to look at me and say, ‘Uh oh, somebody messed up,’” still another says.

“The Matter of Life” searches the soul of the church.

“Many American churches – including those considered to be Pro-Life – are not considered to be welcoming places for pregnant single women,” the narrator says.

Lisa Cannon Green, who reported the findings, also said:

  • Two-thirds (65 percent) say church members judge single women who are pregnant.
  • A majority (54 percent) thinks churches oversimplify decisions about pregnancy options.
  • Fewer than half (41 percent) believe churches are prepared to help with decisions about unwanted pregnancies.
  • Only 3 in 10 think churches give accurate advice about pregnancy options. Read the rest: Abortion among Christians

Atheist psychopath smashed father’s head with a hammer

Wanting to “unleash” himself from society’s norms, David Wood decided to flout rules in the biggest and worst way, by murdering someone. Not just anyone. He developed a plan to murder his own father.

“Some people don’t want to live like cattle,” David explains on his Acts 17 Apologetics YouTube channel. “Some people don’t want to follow this pattern that we are all expected to mindlessly follow. Some would rather bash a man’s head in, or shoot up a theater, or walk down their school hallway stabbing people. Why shouldn’t they? Because it’s wrong? Because of your grandma? Or do people have intrinsic value? Human beings were (to me) nothing but machines for propagating DNA.”

From childhood, David had psychopathic tendencies. He was further influenced by an atheistic moral vacuum and the destructive philosophy of nihilism, a poisonous mixture that influenced the monster he became.

As a boy, when his dog died, his mother cried, but he felt nothing.

Crying isn’t going to change the fact that it’s dead so why are you crying? he thought.

Years later, when his friend died, David again felt nothing. When his mother got beaten up by a boyfriend, he felt nothing.

“I don’t remember ever not living with violence in the family,” David says on Premier Christianity. “My mum was habitually with very abusive boyfriends. One of my earliest memories was hearing a lot of screaming and walking into the kitchen and seeing blood everywhere, and my mum saying: ‘It’s ketchup, go back to bed.’”

David became a habitual rules breaker. He broke into homes, ran from police, and trampled people’s gardens. For David, morality was, at best, a “useful fiction.”

“My atheist worldview was throughout the universe or through time, we’re collections of cells,” he says. “You could kill 1,000 people, or you could spend your entire life helping people. It doesn’t make any real difference. You might as well just do whatever you feel like doing with the time you’ve got.

With a nihilist worldview, he adopted the Nietzschean self-concept of an ubermensch. He was mad at society for trying to “brainwash” him with its rules. The right thing to do, he believed, was to throw off all restraint and prove his superiority. He was “Humanity 2.0.”

There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s everyone else who has a problem. I’m the only smart, sane one, he thought.

David started studying how to build bombs but ultimately rejected mass murder because it was so prosaic.

“Anyone can blow up a bunch of random people, you don’t know them,” he says, “If you’re sick of life dangling at the end of society’s puppy strings, the killing has to start much closer to home. My dad was the only relative I had within a few hundred miles and so he obviously needed to die, and I had a ball-peen hammer that would do the trick.”

Later diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, David felt no remorse, no guilt, no sense of right and wrong. His determination to live “unleashed” knew no bounds.

On the night he planned to murder his father, 18-year-old David sat trying to think of one thing wrong his dad had done to him. He couldn’t think of a thing. He attacked him anyway with the hammer. His goal was to kill him, but he failed.

“I underestimated the amount of damage a human head could endure, crushed skulls could apparently be pieced back together by doctors,” he says. “My dad had brain damage, but he survived the attack.”

David was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for malicious wounding under New York’s law.

In jail, he met a Christian named Randy whom he mocked. Randy wouldn’t back down easily. In fact, Randy engaged in a spirited debate with David. Surprisingly, they became friends. To compose arguments to refute Christianity, David began to read… Read the rest David Wood.

She put her arms around the gangbanger who took her son’s life

Melanie Washington hugged the young man who killed her son.

“It’s more important to love and forgive than to hold on to the pain and the hurt,” Melanie says on a Long Beach Post video. “I found myself putting my arm around him. I didn’t feel a murderer that killed my son. I felt my son.”

Today Melanie Washington, based in Long Beach, CA, is helping troubled youth make it out of a destructive culture. She herself came out of a childhood that was “pure hell,” she says.

At age 8, she was molested by her stepfather. When “Fred” got on top of her sister Mary, Melanie told her mother, who kicked out the abuser.

He left but showed up the next day with a gun.

“No, Daddy, no,” Mary pleaded.

He shot and killed Mom. He tried to kill Melanie, but the gun jammed.

Shocked and overcome by grief, Melanie, who didn’t know where to turn, blamed herself for her mother’s death.

“I was the one who told my mother that he was doing this,” Melanie explains. “She put him out, and then he came back and killed her the day after Thanksgiving. I went through a life of never forgiving myself for that. I kept telling my mother, I’m sorry.”

Melanie graduated from high school and, falling in love with a handsome young man, married him. After the second month of marriage, he began to beat her.

Again, Melanie blamed herself.

“I was just wondering … Read the rest: Forgiving her son’s murderer.

Denzel Washington warns against social media ills

Actor Denzel Washington is once again unleashing a furious attack against social media.

“The No. 1 photograph today is a selfie, ‘Oh, me at the protest.’ ‘Me with the fire.’ ‘Follow me.’ ‘Listen to me,’” he told the New York Times. “The Bible says in the last days – I don’t know if it’s the last days, it’s not my place to know – but it says we’ll be lovers of ourselves. We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed.”

Not only that, people are committing suicide because of snide remarks on social media.

“This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective,” the two-time Academy Award winner says. “If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.”

The 67-year-old goes so far as to give youth advice regarding Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat: “Turn it off. It’s hard for young people now because they’re addicted. If you don’t think you’re addicted, see if you can turn it off for a week.”

Denzel just portrayed MacBeth in an Apple Movie released Dec. 25 and now available on streaming. The Shakespearean tragedy explores the demise and demonization of a once-loyal general who allows ambition to take over his heart. Read the rest: Denzel Washington social media

Church and state? Once again, gov denies rights of Church, this time in Somerville, Massachusetts

A Hispanic congregation’s attempt to launch a Christian private school has been blocked by a Boston-area school board, but the Vida Real Church is fighting for its constitutional rights through two lawyers’ groups, Fox News reported.

First Liberty Institute and the Massachusetts Family Institute say the Somerville Superintendent and the Somerville Public School Committee is violating the U.S. Constitution by denying religious freedom. At issue is the Vida Real’s biblical stance on creationism and homosexuality, which the board contends is “unscientific” and out of line with its values.

“It is illegal and unconstitutional for city officials to question the religious beliefs of Vida Real, let alone use those beliefs to stop the church from opening a school,” Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said in a statement first provided to Fox News Digital. “This is blatant religious discrimination. It’s time for Somerville officials to stop treating Vida Real unfairly and allow it to pursue the opening of a school.”

The skirmish between secular politicians and church leaders shows where the cultural war is being fought currently: on school boards. As secular humanists attempt to impose their version of utopia on America, Christians are trying to stick to the bible.

Vida Real turned in a lengthy application to open “Real Life Learning Center,” but the school board has not granted authorization. Instead, Somerville’s school board committee responded with 35 “hostile” questions about what is intended to be taught, the lawyer’s group says.

“The school’s position on homosexuality and creationism make it difficult to see how a thorough science and health curriculum is possible,” the school board says, according to documents. “The school’s approach to student services and counseling appears to devalue evidence-based psychology and its emphasis on approaches rooted in the belief that mental illness is caused by sin and demons is unscientific and harmful. … Overall, the school was entirely contrary to the values of SPS and the idea of educating the whole child as being inclusive.”

Creationism is the term for looking for scientific evidence to support the Bible’s account of the world’s beginnings, as opposed to evolution. The discussions of “being inclusive” refers to affirming students with gender dysphoria and same-sex attractions. Christians can affirm individuals while helping them with their harmful thoughts and confusions.

As a first attempt to resolve the conflict, the lawyers’ group has sent a letter to the school board alleging violation of the Constitution, which bans government from interfering with questions of faith. If they are unable to resolve the disagreement through the letter by April 8, a full-fledged lawsuit may be necessary, the lawyers’ group says.

“The hostility displayed by the Somerville Public School Committee is outrageous,” Justin Butterfield, deputy general counsel at First Liberty, said in the statement. “The government cannot ban a religious school because they disagree with its religious beliefs. Doing so violates federal constitutional and statutory law.”

The letter charges the school board with evident “overt hostility” and accuses a public official saying that denying the school application was the “morally right thing to do” even to the point of defending against a lawsuit, whose expenses would be “well worth it.” Read the rest: School board denies Somerville Vida Real Church’s application for a Christian school

He ran behind the screen to fight the centurions

A Daasanach warrior chief named John was outraged that the Roman centurions were killing Jesus on screen in his Ethiopian village, according to a Timothy Initiative Vimeo video.

“I couldn’t believe that while Jesus was being tortured, my people sat idle,” John recalled. “I threw a stone at the soldiers and even ran behind the screen with my knife drawn.”

Some remote people groups who still live out of touch with civilization and technology don’t immediately discern between the acting in the Jesus Film and reality. So John attempted to engage the Roman soldiers to defend “an innocent man.”

Of course, John didn’t find anything behind the screen. He had never seen a movie. When he understood that the film’s action scenes were only on the screen, he took his seat on the ground and watched with horror and anguish as the Romans crucified Jesus.

While John found no one behind the screen that day, he did find Jesus. A member of the team that projected the film led him in a sinner’s prayer and began to disciple him.

Today John is no longer a violent pastoral shepherd with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder, raiding and stealing livestock and defending against… Read the rest: Unreached Daasanach tribe in Ethiopia being won to Jesus.

But is Jordan Peterson Christian?

Like most intelligentsia, Jordan Peterson started as an avowed atheist.

He is no longer an atheist. He leans strongly towards Christianity, which his wife has largely embraced after a brush with cancer.

But Jordan Peterson shies away from outright and unreserved acceptance of Christianity, mainly because he feels the implications are overwhelming in terms of the code of conduct expected.

“Who would have the audacity to claim that they believed in God if they examined the way they lived?” he says on a Pursuit of Meaning YouTube video. “People have asked me if I believe in God. I’ve answered in various ways: ‘No, but I’m afraid he probably exists.’ While I try to act like I believe, I never claim that I manage it.”

A behavioral psychologist and university professor from Canada, Peterson has rocketed to herodom among Christian pundits because, as a cultural icon, he opposed gender confusion and the cancel culture sweeping politics, the media and academia. He doesn’t like the attempts to force people to not think for themselves.

His best-selling 12 Rules for Life affirms traditional masculinity, which current culture calls “toxic,” and offers itself as an antidote to the moral chaos heralded widely now in Western nations. He’s pronounced himself in favor of Biblical morality.

With this shift towards Christian values and Christian cultural ideas, the loudest liberals “cast him as a far-right boogeyman riding the wave of a misogynistic backlash,” according to the Los Angeles Times, but in reality, he’s not. He has all kinds of ideas, and he’s unafraid to share them.

Peterson has even presented a series of lectures on the bible. But don’t expect an inspirational devotion like your pastor’s; Peterson legitimizes the bible but examines it through a Jungian psychological optic.

He offers insight as to why God didn’t punish Cain more severely. He explains that skeptics can’t easily shrug off the resurrection with the claim that it’s simply a forged copy of various resurrection myths from different cultures for one simple fact: Jesus was a real historical person while other resurrection myths only portray mythological persons.

“What you have in the figure of Christ is an actual person who actually lived, plus a myth, and, in some sense, Christ is the union of those two things,” he says. “The problem is I probably believe that, but I’m amazed at my own belief and I don’t… Read the rest: Is Jordan Peterson Christian?

They nearly chopped her arm off

Shamso was a sickly Somali girl in a refugee camp with a growth on her arm that doctors thought was cancer. They wanted to amputate.

Fortunately, her mother refused and wanted to seek better health care in another nation. A church from Texas sponsored Shamso’s family to come to America with no strings attached.

In 2000 they came to America and got involved in their local Muslim community. Shamso was very religious and taught other children, observed Ramadan, and did everything possible to make it to Heaven.

But she was unsettled by the teaching in Islam that one can never be sure she’ll gain entry into paradise, one can never be sure their good works will be enough.

“I was deathly afraid, not knowing where I was going to be after I die, if I was going to make it into” Heaven, she says on her YouTube channel. “Was I good enough here on Earth? I would always recite the Koran and all sorts of stuff because I genuinely wanted to make it into Heaven.

“But when I realized that everything I was doing was probably not good enough for Allah, it felt like a mentally difficult thing for me to accept. I was super afraid of death. I couldn’t go to sleep at night. Darkness terrified me.”

Shamso was a naturally talkative girl and a naturally curious girl. When in Islamic “Sunday school” she heard that other religions describe Jesus as more than a prophet (which Islam limits him to by definition).

She wanted to explore other religions, but was told not to ask questions. Her teacher told her mom about the questions she had been asking, and she got in trouble.

Shamso wasn’t scared merely of death. She was also scared of the jinn, or spirits sometimes translated and conceptualized as “genies” in English but probably better understood as demons. Her mother told her the story of somebody who accidentally dropped the Koran and turned into a half human, half goat creature by the jinn.

At age 16, Shamso witnessed a new Somali girl at school manifest a full-blown case of demon possession during their English class.

“The jinn was on her. She was screaming, yelling. It was absolutely terrifying. I was already terrified of these things, so to see it in real life, a person being held captive by an evil spirit, instantly I ran out of the room,” Shamso recalls. “It was pure chaos. All the kids were outside. The teachers were outside. Tears were flowing. I trembled with fear.”

The Somali girl was allowed to return home with an adult friend and returned to school the next day, seemingly normal. She didn’t remember anything about what happened, what she said, or what she did.

But Shamso remembered every “freaky” thing.

“For the longest time ever I was terrified of this girl. She was a very… Read the rest: Muslim girl converts to Christ.

Author of Texas Heartbeat law, Briscoe Cain was born with Asperger’s

Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain has suffered from Asperger’s and autism throughout his life but hasn’t let that stop him from being an unashamed Christian who stands for his faith in his work to create the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits abortion after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected in the womb.

“Yes, I mix religion and politics,” he wrote in a tweet.

Cain was recipient of the 2021 Malachi Award, given by Operation Rescue to recognize the person who advanced the cause of protecting the pre-born, for his role in creating the Texas Heartbeat Act.

The 37-year-old is a loving husband and father of five. His first name is in honor of his ancestor, American pioneer, Andrew Briscoe, who fought in the Texas Revolution as a part of the Texan Army and was one of 60 who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.

Born with Asperger’s and autism, Cain grew up in Deer Park, Texas, raised by his father, a plant operator and his stepmother, an occupational nurse. His mother, a homemaker, taught him the value of hard work and commitment to his community.

“I, along with countless others who experience these challenges brought on by Asperger’s and autism, communicate and express myself in a way that’s different from others,” Cain told Capital Tonight.

He founded the Republican Club at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), the first pro-life law student organization in Texas.

“It definitely was the desire of my heart… Read the rest: Texas Heartbeat Law by Briscoe Cain

Christianity in Laos: persecution and revival

They get persecuted by their government, spurned by their neighbors, thrown out of their houses. Still the Laotian Christians are growing and evangelizing successfully, fomenting one of Asia’s great underground revivals.

Pei, a 52-year-old widow, illustrates what you can expect to suffer in a nation whose communist government promotes atheism and whose animists and Buddhists think you offend local gods by accepting “the God of America.”

When Pei heard the gospel via a salesman, she embraced the message of salvation by faith and forsook the worship of her ancestors. Secretly, she received discipleship for four months.

When she felt strong enough and bold enough, Pei ventured to share her faith with her daughter and son-in-law.

“Both her daughter and son-in-law immediately began to violently criticize her,” a Christian leader told Christian Aid Mission (CAM). “They told her if she did not stop believing Jesus, they would report her to the police, put her in jail or kick her out of the house, because the son-in-law is a policeman.”

Pei remained steadfast in her faith, while her daughter and husband remained steadfast in their anger.

“In June, while they were yelling at her to leave the house, they grabbed all her clothes and threw them out of the house,” the leader said. “They told her to live with her people who shared about Jesus with her. They told her to never return to the house.”

In Laos, the constitution allows for freedom of faith, in theory. But the government, which espouses atheism, has restricted the practice of Christianity. Officials, hearkening back to the sufferings of the Vietnam War they blame on America, see Christianity as a propagandist arm of militaristic capitalism.

The hostility towards Christians is not only practiced by the government. Laotians are mostly Buddhist or animists and see conversion to Christianity as a grave offense against the local gods.

“You people believe in America’s god,” a villager was told by a local official, as narrated to UCA News. “Don’t you remember what America did to our country?” Read the rest: Christianity in Laos — persecution and revival.

He rebuffed Christians because he was Jewish. Secretly he suffered depression.

Trevor Rubenstein got mad when some Christians approached him at a mall and talked about Jesus.

“I’m Jewish!” he barked. “This Jesus who you’re following is a false prophet! Why are you sharing this with me?”

Later, he admitted that his anger was unjustified. But it seemed reasonable at the time: Judaism was important to his well-off family.

Trevor – his Hebrew name is Tuvia – grew up in an affluent family. His parents did well; his grandparents did very well, he says on a Chosen People Ministries video.

Despite living in the lap of luxury, Trevor experienced significant depression to the point of being suicidal.

“I would often contemplate killing myself,” he said. “There was this overlying feeling that I’m not loved like I want to be loved.”

The inner emptiness prompted him to look for acceptance, which he found among the druggies. He began to drink and abuse drugs.

“That really affected my grades and my education,” he says.

With plummeting grades and behavioral issues, he got kicked out of school.

“You’re not coming back to this school,” the principal told him in his office. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure you don’t come back to this school.”

At college, a friend invited Trevor to a Bible study. Without really listening to what the activity was, Trevor acceded. Only too late did he realize he was in a Bible study.

But the friend had answers to Trevor’s doubts and Read the rest: Story of the Prodigal the heart of a suicidal Jewish man.

Vietnamese wife almost drank insecticide to die and escape abusive marriage

Her husband beat her every time he drank, and Anh become so desperate she was ready to end the hell that was her life, according to a report by Christian Aid Mission (CAM).

When Anh first met her future husband, Ngoc, she saw his charm and swagger and was smitten by love. She didn’t realize that he hung out with buddies who drank, gambled, and smoked opium.

After they married, he often came home inebriated and was physically abusive.

“Every time Ngoc got drunk, he beat his wife.” a local ministry leader told CAM.

One night, she took refuge at a friend’s house. When she returned the next morning, her husband had burned her clothing and her university degree.

In the depths of despair, Ahn fetched a bottle of insecticide was was going to drink it, but her children began tugging at her and crying. For the sake of her children, she didn’t kill herself that day.

Instead, she worked on a plan for someone to care for her kids after she ended her life.

Before she could finish the plan, a Christian missionary knocked on her front door, came in, and presented the Gospel.

Moved by the power of the Word and the Spirit, she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.

“Everything was changed and renewed,” the ministry leader reported.

Anh invited her husband to receive Christ, but he rebuffed her. “No, never,” he declared.

However, he began to witness changes in his wife because of the filling of the Holy Spirit.

After pleadings from Anh and the children, Ngoc finally acquiesced and attended church. He was received warmly by the congregation and ended up accepting Jesus.

“The Holy Bible is very good,” Ngoc told his wife later that night. “But I can’t understand it. Can you teach me the Holy Bible?”

For four months he learned the Bible, aided by the patient instruction of the missionary. He even got baptized.

“His life was Read the rest: Vietnamese woman almost drank insecticide

Out-of-control spending almost ruined their marriage

When her frustration hit the tipping point, Angie Cabler threw the checkbook across the room at husband Jason.

“I will no longer pay the bills,” she snapped, on a 700 Club video. “You will take care of it.”

From thoughtlessly spending to cutting up 17 credit cards, Angie chartered a course with Jason towards financial freedom, which brought them fewer worries about money, and greater peace and harmony in their marriage.

As a dentist concerned with running his practice, Jason abdicated household financial management to Angie. Debt stressed him out, so Angie balanced the checkbook.

For the first seven years of their marriage, the Christian couple never established a plan or goals for their finances.

As a result, their spending habits became unsustainable.

“I just liked to spend,” Angie admits.

As it always does, financial chaos spawned marital strife.

“When we fought, we fought about money,” she adds. “I think if we would have had open communication in the beginning, our first seven years of marriage would not have been so hard.”

But with the breaking point came a breakthrough. Angie threw the checkbook at Jason and renounced any further bookkeeping. Jason took over the expenditure tallying.

Most importantly, the Cablers enrolled in a financial education class at church where they learned the principles of everything from stewardship to generosity. They committed to tithing, eliminating frivolous spending, and setting aside a percentage of their income for a rainy day.

At the last class, Angie spontaneously offered to cut up their credit cards – all 17 of them.

“A lot of them were department stores, jewelry stores, or American Express, Visa, those kinds” of credit cards, Angie details.

In cutting the cards up, she halted… Read the rest: Out-of-control spending almost ruined their marriage.

Uganda pastor, former Muslim, killed by family for leaving Islam

Six years after Bashir Sengendo converted to Christianity from Islam, his Muslim family beat him and cut him so severely that he died 12 days later.

Sengendo, 35, of Namutumba, Western Uganda, left a family of four when he passed away in the hospital on Jan. 25th after succumbing to wounds inflicted by his own brother and uncle.

“The family needs a lot of financial, moral and psychological support,” a Kiboga area pastor told Morning Star news, which tracks persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa.

Bashir Sengendo was raised a Muslim and trained to become a mosque leader. But he converted to Christ after he spoke with a former Muslim. Sengendo left his native town and studied at a Uganda Bible college before serving as a pastor in Kiboga for six years.

His immediate family sent messages to him to return home and take care of the farmland that was his portion of the inheritance. Sengendo was reluctant to return because he wanted to continue fulfilling his call to Kiboga.

After six years, Sengendo acceded to his family’s pleas to return home. He had no idea what awaited him.

He arrived Jan. 12th. If he thought the family would receive him warmly, he was badly mistaken. The family was openly hostile.

He was shocked by their cold reception and slept without food.

Early the next morning, his brother and uncle fell on him with violence.

“They beat me badly. They cut me with an object in the head, back and hand,” Sengendo told Morning Star News following the attack, while he hovered between life and death in the hospital. Read the rest: Persecution of Christians around the world.

Scrape with death led rebel to God – Father Stu

Father Stu

When Stuart Long crashed his motorcycle into a car, he was launched into oncoming traffic and hit the windshield of an oncoming car headfirst. Witnesses say he then rolled on the street and got run over by another car.

“And here I am” still alive, he remarked later.

Out of the death-defying experience, Stuart turned to God and became a priest, known as Father Stu. He’s the subject of a new biopic starring Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg, who were inspired by the story and decided to make the movie.

The movie “Father Stu” will be released on Good Friday by Sony. Wahlberg has pursued this project for six years. His own father died of cancer, so when Wahlberg heard two priests talk over dinner with him about Stuart Long, it resonated with him.

Born in Seattle on July 26, 1963, Stuart Long was adventurous and ambitious as a young rascal he explains, according to the Daily Mail. After graduating high school in 1981, he arrived at Carroll College, a private Catholic university. His focus was completely on sports, primarily football and soon, boxing, which became his sole passion.

“I wasn’t Catholic. I always felt like kind of an outsider,” Long revealed while thinking about attending mass with the football team.

Long admitted to constantly questioning his college professors. When he discovered boxing, he found his calling.

Mark Wahlberg packed on the pounds to the play the portly priest.

“The individual sport fit with my personality better than the team sport,” Long said in a 2011 interview with the Diocese of Helena. Read the rest: Father Stu

Love story: He got cancer. She became his care-giver

For 13 months, Isaiah Trujillo was vomiting every day, as he battled stage 4 cancer with chemotherapy. Sometimes all his wife could do was rub his back – and stay by his side.

“It was worth it. It’s what God had for us. I knew that God had more for us,” Amanda Trujillo says.

This is a different Valentine’s Day story. At a time when marriage is grounds for divorce, some Christian couples – like the Trujillos – still hold marriage as sacred. Their vows “to death do us part,” they take seriously.

Meanwhile worldly marriages are built on the proverbial sand that the flood waters buffet and break down.

“We definitely questioned why we were going through that,” says Amanda. The two-year ordeal is finally over. Isaiah just was declared cancer-free and the port in his chest is being removed. “You have this idea that if you serve God and do what’s right and do the will of God that you live in a bubble and nothing will touch you and you’re safe. That’s just not true.”

Theirs was the church kids who did everything right fairy tale love story. Their first kiss was on their wedding day.

Then one night, Isaiah, who is pastor in Fort Collins, Colorado, got acute stomach pain. Even though he thought it was due to bad tacos, he went to the emergency room.

After checking him over, the doctor off-handedly ordered a CAT scan, thinking it was probably not necessary, but might turn up something.

Isaiah, who naturally is doctor-averse, ordinarily would have declined. But for some strange reason, he got the scan. It turned out there was a small spot in his intestines that the doctor thought might be diverticulosis, not a serious condition.

After further studies, however, 36-year-old Isaiah was diagnosed with advanced cancer. He could die, leaving his young bride with four kids to fend for themselves. It was a trial of the size of Job’s. Read the rest: a love story of marriage

Burned at the stake for believing Jesus

For accepting Christ, a colleague of Bassma Dabbour Jaballah was burned at the stake in her native land.

This is the horrifying downside of Bassma’s ministry. She converts people from Islam via the internet; the risk is immense for them.

When Bassma herself converted to Christianity at the university in Tunisia, she was initially rejected by her family and eventually immigrated to Canada where she works with Voice of the Martyrs in leadership development.

Tunisia was originally Christian. But when Islam swept west from Saudia Arabia with its fiery furor, the whole swath of territory fell to the powerful Arab army, which gave inhabitants two choices: convert to Islam or be beheaded. It was a convincing method of proselytism.

In college, Bassma was studying the changeover to Islam from Christianity in Tunisia, when she began to ask questions, as recorded on a 100 Huntley Street video: “Am I just born Muslim? Can I explore other faiths?”

She turned to the Bible and was impacted by what she read. Everything she has assumed to be true from childhood began to crumble.

What particularly impacted her was the way Jesus treated (and gave importance to) women vs. the way Islam treats women. The Koran treats women as second-class citizens.

Her conversion to Christianity came with an exuberant personality change.

“Believe it or not, I used to be an introvert,” she says. “I was feeling like I was not fitting in Islam as a woman.”

Because Tunisia is not as oppressive as other Muslim nations (usually countries geographically closer to Saudia Arabia, Islam’s birthplace, are more restrictive), Bassma felt free to share her faith everywhere she went with everyone she met.

“As soon as I became Christian, I didn’t know I was no longer Muslim. I just knew I was following Jesus,” Bassma says. “Immediately I told everyone everywhere, ‘going on top of the roof,’ having joy because I was happy.”

This is the elation she shares with other Muslim woman via the internet. Many of them convert. If they are in a more restrictive nation, they may face intense persecution, like the woman friend burned at the stake Read the rest: Convert from Islam burned at the stake

Tylenol was his best buddy for the pain. Then Jesus moved.

June Perez had experienced football injuries, so when he slipped and smacked down hard on the floor, he thought the excruciating pain in his right shoulder would eventually go away.

“That pain in my shoulder was not alleviating,” June says on a CBN video. “Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.”

june perez

A nurse at the medical facility where June worked made an ominous assessment of his unabated pain: “You’re going to have to go under the knife.”

June stubbornly refused.

“I’m just going to live with Tylenol for the rest of my life,” he responded. “We’re going to be buddies.”

The specter of surgery was unappealing, but a lifetime supply of Tylenol wasn’t much better. Every night, he suffered two hours of pain before he fell asleep.

“I’ve been athletic almost all my life and figured: okay, another football hit, but it was more than that,” he slowly realized.

The throbbing would not go away. “I’ve never suffered such an agonizing pain before in my life, like something or someone Read the rest: Tylenol was his friend until Jesus healed him.

Food pantry helps families in need

Shelby and LeGrand started a family with illusions of having a fairy tale life.

But when Shelby was expecting twins – during a high-risk pregnancy that precluded working – the young couple worried how they would pay for groceries, since LeGrand’s job remodeling a commercial building didn’t pay very much.

“When I found out we were going to have twins, I was nervous and scared,” LeGrand says on a CBN video. “It’s challenging because I feel like as a dad, I want to make sure they can look up to me and I could be there for them.”

Thinking about the babies in her womb filled Shelby with joy, but when she thought of the harsh reality of bills, anxieties plagued her heart.

“Trying to afford groceries is very difficult for us. It’s hard to get the money that we need to feed the kids at the same time,” she says. “It’s hard to balance it out between all the other things we have to pay for. The difficulty of all of that made me feel very down. The not knowing of how we were going to be able to afford things is scary.”

To their rescue came their local church, Dayspring Church, which partners with Operation Blessing, a CBN-related nonprofit that for 40 years has aided churches with critical needs projects.

The food pantry has come through in a big way for Shelby, LeGrand and their two tykes. Read the rest: food pantry in church.

American missionary in restricted country grew bolder and bolder, paid a price

Stephen almost forgot to give Emily his normal goodbye kiss that morning in a rush before the day’s labors in a dangerous area of northern Africa. But he came back and gave her an extra-long hug. Sadly, it was their last hug together.

“That morning he ended up giving his life for Christ,” Emily says on a 100 Huntley Street video. Stephen, a loved and respected servant of Christ, became a victim of jihadist terror.

Emily first visited the unnamed country on a short-term mission trip. It was five weeks of ministering amidst poverty and hopelessness.

She longed to return to America where she could enjoy a decent cup of joe. The hopelessness attached to Islam was omnipresent in the women’s prison, where ladies were jailed for seemingly minor offenses, such as getting pregnant out of wedlock, she says.

After five arduous weeks, Emily waited for the plane to arrive that would whisk her back to America. While she waited, God spoke to her heart: If I called you to this country to serve, would you go?

Emily was more than ready to leave. But God was challenging her to give up much more than she could imagine.

So, after years of praying, Emily and her husband, Stephen, returned to the forlorn desert nation as humanitarian aid workers. To state on the visa application their true calling as ministers of the Gospel would result in a flat denial of entry, so they came in officially as aid workers.

Specifically, they granted microloans to collectives of women to help them launch tiny businesses. Each month, when Stephen collected payment, the people would invite him into their homes with incredible hospitality.

Over tea and milk, they had long talks together. This was customary in their culture, and it afforded Stephen many opportunities to introduce Jesus.

As the years rolled on, Stephen and Emily grew bolder.

“We just did not feel comfortable with being undercover. That would be like putting our light under a bushel,” Emily says. We found creative ways to be who Christ wanted us to be and that is speaking about Christ, his life, his teaching.”

Stephen was growing increasingly bold with proclaiming Jesus. He even began to hand out Bibles and the JESUS Film liberally. Other missionaries grew concerned that he would go too far. Extremist Islam might retaliate.

“Other workers got very nervous,” Emily says. “They felt we had gone a little too far, that it would make us a little too conspicuous. They were fearful for us but also for themselves because they didn’t want to be labeled as proselytizers.”

Their fears proved grounded. One day, Islamic extremists attacked and killed Stephen – who ironically shares the name of the first Christian martyr.

It was the day he went back for an extra-long hug to his wife – his unwitting goodbye.

After Stephen’s death, Emily and the children were escorted by authorities to the other side of the city, where they hid until they could be flown to the States.

Under the cover of darkness Read the rest: Missionary martyr Northern Africa

On Death Row because of racism, Ray Hinton chose to win to Christ a KKK member condemned to die

An African American man wrongly convicted of murder won to Christ a KKK member who lynched a black teenager.

“I truly believe God sent me to Death Row to meet Henry Francis Hays and to show him what real love felt like,” says Anthony Ray Hinton on a 700 Club video. “Real love had no color.”

It wasn’t always easy for Ray to forgive. The cop who arrested him told him he had no chance to escape the murder and attempted murder charges connected to a string of armed robberies in Alabama in 1985.

Never mind that the evidence was skimpy and Ray had an unshakeable alibi for at least one of the assaults. The prosecution’s case rested on forensic evidence which affirmed the bullets matched the gun found at Ray’s house. One officer told him:

“You’re black. A white man is going to say you shot him. You’re going to have a white prosecutor. You’re going to have a white judge. You’re going to have an all-white jury.”

Even Ray’s publicly appointed defense attorney didn’t believe he was innocent.

“What do you do when you tell a lawyer that you’re innocent, and he looks at you and says, ‘The problem with that statement is that all of y’all are always doing something and the moment you get caught you say you didn’t do it.’” Ray recounts.

True to the cop’s cold assessment, an all-white jury found Ray guilty of two counts of capital murder and sentenced him to death by the electric chair.

“It hurt so bad. Why me? What did I do?” Ray anguished. “I even asked God, ‘What did I do so bad?’

“The natural reaction was that it’s over. I was going to be executed.”

Ray’s cell was a mere 30 feet from the yellow-painted execution chair they called “Yellow Mama.”

Every legal appeal Ray made was blocked or dismissed.

“For the first three years, I was in a stage of hate. I hated those men who did this to me.”

As time passed, however, he realized the hatred in his heart was unsavory and wasn’t pleasing to God.

“I asked God to remove this hatred,” he says. “In order for me to be free, I had no choice but to pray for those men that did this to me.”

Ray decided that he would serve the Lord, despite the horrible injustice.

“If this is what God intended for me, to be and die, this is where I die,” Ray resolved. “But while I’m here, everything around me is going to live. I’m going to bring the best out of everybody that comes in touch with me.”

A short time later, he met Death Row inmate Henry Francis Hays, a Ku Klux Klan member who lynched a black teenager without any known provocation. Hays was the first Alabama man executed for white-on-black murder since 1913.

But before he sat in the electric chair, Hays accepted Jesus under Ray’s patient and loving witness.

In their last conversations before Hays’ execution in 1997, Ray told him: “Henry, I truly believe that you’re going to Heaven.”

“You know Ray, I’ve been reading the bible and I have changed my views on so many things,” Henry replied. “I’ve finally looked at you as a human being.”

After years of rejected appeals, Ray got the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) to take up his case in 1998.

EJI probed the case against Ray and found it was deeply flawed: Witnesses had been manipulated. Ray’s defense counsel had been inept. The surviving victim’s initial description of the assailant bore little resemblance to Ray.

The linchpin in the case against Ray was the forensic report, that the bullets came from the gun retrieved at Ray’s house. EJI hired three of the top experts in forensic analysis to… Read the rest: Racism in Judicial system and what God can do.

Battled three brain tumors in Iowa

Since a brain tumor had claimed her grandfather’s life, Kaitlin Richardson had a morbid fear of them.

“My worst fear was that they would find a brain tumor,” Kaitlin says on a 700 Club video.

Doctors didn’t find a brain tumor. They found three.

The devastating news was dealt to Kaitlin, then 28, and her husband after she went to the eye doctor for some unexpected blurriness in her vision in November 2019. The eye doctor saw an inflamed optic nerve and referred her for an MRI.

Weeks later she was admitted to the University of Iowa for the complicated operation to extract the tumors. The surgeon hoped the masses were soft and not intertwining with ventricles of the brain, a possibility that could risk permanent brain damage.

“I was scared,” Kaitlin admits. “I didn’t think I’d survive my surgery.”

Kaitlin and husband, Noah, had one son, Jonah. She despaired at the thought of her son growing up without a mom.

“I was sad that I wouldn’t get to see Jonah grow up,” she admits. Read the rest: God healed her of brain tumors in Iowa.

Nikki Cannon, building African American wealth in Los Angeles

People told Nikki Cannon’s mom, diagnosed with dyslexia, to be a typist. With bigger ambitions, she, notwithstanding, graduated with a bachelor degree, a master’s and a Phd. She became a university professor and a consultant for the U.S. Congress on social justice.

Triumphing over tough times was always part of Nikki’s life. Today she holds six professional licenses and an MBA and is building a team of financial professionals with World Financial Group. “I definitely did not grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth,” she told The Pace.

While she was in high school in Hawaii, her mother packed one suitcase and she and Nikki fled a physically abusive husband/step-dad. Mom and daughter landed in LAX, got a hostel room for two weeks and ate at soup kitchens until Mom got a job at Burger King.

Yup, a PhD flipping burgers. “She made it work,” Nikki says. “Honestly, I don’t feel like I came from poverty. I had a great childhood. There was never any obstacle that she was not going to overcome.” Eventually, mom landed a job with Children Protective Services and segued back to academia. For her part, Nikki was a stellar student at Los Angeles High School who, ironically, didn’t plan to go to college.

“Have you heard back from any of the colleges you applied to?” a college counselor called after her one day. No, she responded. She wanted to take time off to help out Mom. He looked at her grades and her SAT. It was too late for the UCs and Cal States, but she could still apply for private schools. At his insistence, she applied to four universities and was accepted into all four. Read the rest: Nikki Cannon financial advisor

Is Dax a Christian rapper?

As a college basketball player who evidently wouldn’t make it to the NBA, Daniel Nwosu Jr. took a minimum-wage job as a janitor at his college.

It’s a good thing because that’s where he learned to rap.

Today Daniel is known as Dax, a famous rapper who presents the gospel to sinners with a non-traditional voice. His searching – and sometimes profane — “Dear God” has 42.5 million views on YouTube.

“I believe in God,” says Dax on Genius channel on YouTube. “I’m not a Christian rapper, I’m not a mainstream rapper, I’m not a YouTube rapper, I’m not an underground rapper, I’m not a green or a blue rapper. I’m an artist. One day I’m going to rap about how I’m the best. The next day I might rap about my belief in God. The next day I might rap about how I love this girl.”

Born to Nigerian immigrants in Canada, Daniel Nwosu attended a Christian high school. By a miracle, the coach from Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, saw a video of his play and offered him a scholarship for his senior year.

But he had to attend chapel every day and church on Sunday. Also, he had to observe Sunrise’s strict behavior code, which meant no flirting. Dax literally didn’t even talk to a girl that entire year.

“He poured everything he had into basketball,” says Michael McCrudden on his YouTube channel “Before They Were Famous.” “He had 6:00 a.m. workouts. He would lift weights. And on top of this, he had his own crazy workout routine. From all this, the dude would literally fall asleep in class because he was exhausted.”

Aiming for the NBA, Daniel played at three different colleges to complete his four-year degree. In his senior year, he led his Division 2 conference in scoring.

Academics were not his major focus, but he had an active brain and was drawn by philosophy. He started majoring in psychology, switched to economics and finally got a degree in communications from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.

It was math class that gave rise to his stage name Dax. He shortened Daniel and added x.

“In math, x is always a variable,” Dax explains. “So I made x a variable for n.”Read the rest: Dax Christian rapper

One woman’s testimony sheds light on why Muslims are getting saved

Raised in England in a Muslim family, Laila Nassali was bewildered by the number of religions and different doctrines.

“It was so confusing for me,” Laila says on her YouTube video channel. “God is not a God of confusion, so why are there so many different religions out there? If he’s the one true God, why are there so many religions saying he’s this or he’s that? It looked like a confusing puzzle that I would never be able to solve.”

Like so many, she gave up on trying to compare, contrast and determine the truth. Instead, she started to live for personal pleasure and be happy-go-lucky like so many fellow university students appeared to be having fun.

“I was literally just living my best life, and that led me to a lot of sin,” she says. “I was trapped in the flesh. I didn’t believe in God, period.”

One day she randomly felt anxiety and depression, because of living in the ways of sin. “I had thoughts of death, and where am I going to go?” she says. “I had all of this torment in my heart. It led me to the point where my spirit was crying out. I couldn’t fathom that I didn’t have a purpose.

“It took me to go into the dark to realize there is a God somewhere.”

Out of her agony, she decided to pray: Who are you God? she asked.

She didn’t pray at a mosque, as her Muslim parents had taught her. She prayed in her bathroom.

In the following days God brought a Christian into her life. She just “happened” to catch a cab with a pastor, who talked the entire time about God, Christianity, and prayer. Next, she ran across two random girls on the street who talked to her about God.

Then it was Instagram. Scrolling through, all she saw was posts with crosses, which was weird because she knew the algorithms based on her previous interaction with Instagram would not lead her to crosses. Read the rest: why are Muslims getting saved in the West?

Jeff Allen saved his marriage and became a Christian

He was a comedian on stage. At home, Jeff Allen was an irritable, angry husband.

He even fought with his wife over cheese. With a morbid fear of spoilage, he would throw out perfectly fine cheese. His wife would argue over the waste.

“I don’t want it!” he yelled at his wife. He stood on a stool to emphasize his point. “Can’t you hear me? I don’t want it! I don’t want it!”

Cocaine and alcohol were in the mix, sharpening the damage caused by his cutting remarks.

One day as he put his child to bed, the little one shook him.

“Daddy you win,” she told him. “Mommy cries. You yell. You win.”

Tears streamed down his face. Jeff suddenly realized he needed help. He first attacked the drug addiction and alcoholism through 12-step programs.

But he chafed at the step that calls for participants to believe in and pray to a higher power. A confirmed atheist, Jeff ridiculed people of faith. To pray to a “higher power,” he thought, was delusional.

But he went through the motions simply to fulfill all 12 steps.

He was on the road to recovery, so he sampled Buddhism and other faiths that overlapped with self-help.

“I was seeking for my life,” he says.

Then he learned his wife, Tammy, was having an affair. It was devastating.

He called her and told her to come home.

As he waited all night, he fumed.

“I was getting self-righteous,” he confesses.

Finally, the problems of their marriage weren’t to blame on him, and he seized on his wife’s mistakes to feel superior. But as he plotted his revenge, a little voice interrupted him.

“Really?” it said. What about the time you stood on the chair and yelled at her? What about the time you smashed all the dishes? What about the time…?

“I wrestled with God that night,” he admits. “I paced my room like a caged cat.”

By the time his wife called for Jeff to pick her up the next morning, the avalanche of furor had dissolved.

Exhausted from a sleepless night, he met her at the airport. At first sight, Jeff immediately hugged her and kissed her.

“Baby, we’re a mess,” he said… Read the rest: Comedian Jeff Allen Christian

When TobyMac’s son overdosed…

Three months after his eldest son died of a drug overdose at 21, TobyMac sang a heart-breaking tribute “21 Years” about the doomed destiny, lost promise, and hope of Heaven.

“‘21 Years’ is a song I never wanted to write,” the artist born Kevin Michael McKeehan told People. “I loved (Truett) with all my heart. Writing this song felt like an honest confession of the questions, pain, anger, doubt, mercy and promise that describes the journey I’m probably only beginning.”

“21 Years” is a dirge with Toby’s signature catchy pop, stylized lyrics and rousing uplift.

Is it just across the Jordan

Or a city in the stars?

Are ya singin’ with the angels?

Are you happy where you are?

Well, until this show is over

And you’ve run into my arms

God has you in Heaven

But I have you in my heart.

Truett died in Nashville of a fentanyl and amphetamine overdose in 2019. Truett had just launched his music career, having resisted emerging as a child star under the tutelage of his famous father.

“Until something in life hits you this hard, you never know how you will handle it,” Toby says. “I am thankful that I have been surrounded by love, starting with God’s and extending to a community near and far that have walked with us and carried us every day.”

Starting with DC Talk in the late 1980s and 90s, Toby has been a Christian music kingpin. He has 20 Billboard chart-topping singles. In addition to being a performer, Toby produces music for his label, Gotee Records.

Being celebrity Christians brings a unique pressure on their children, who get frustrated with the outsized expectations upon them. They might want to be just normal kids with normal experiences and normal failings but are expected to conform to the rigorous standards by outsiders. In 2013, Pastor Rick Warren’s son committed suicide.

When personal tragedy becomes a public spectacle, the superstar Christian needs to shed his celebrity status and return to his personal relationship with God.

“Part of my process has always been to write about the things I’m going through, but this went to a whole new level,” Toby explains. “What started out as getting some of my thoughts and feelings about losing my firstborn son down on paper, ended up a song. ’21 Years’ is a song I never wanted to write.” Read the rest: how did TobyMac’s son die?

Undrafted QB sensation Kurt Warner, the ultimate underdog

The day of reckoning wasn’t when Kurt Warner was unexpectedly thrust on the field as the Rams’ quarterback amid predictions of failure after the first-string QB was seriously injured.

The day of reckoning came years earlier when his wife’s parents were killed by a tornado. That’s when Kurt saw how genuine her faith was – and came to real faith himself.

“Before that my faith was always like: God was out there and whenever I needed him, he was like my spare tire. I get a flat, pop out the spare, God I need this,” Kurt says on an I am Second video. “When her parents were killed by a tornado, she didn’t have all the answers. She was angry. She was willing to call out to God and ask God why and yell and scream.

“But she never lost her faith. She didn’t walk away from God,” Kurt adds. “It was at that moment that I realized that everything she had been talking to me about, this is what it looks like. This is what it is supposed to be. It was at that time that I really committed my life to Jesus.”

By the time Kurt saw himself leading the Rams into the Super Bowl, he was already forged by the furnace. His improbable ascent to NFL Hall of Famer as an undrafted quarterback is the stuff of a consummate underdog. His story – and faith – is portrayed by American Underdog, a movie released in theaters Dec. 25.

Kurt dreamed of football from childhood. The game was a cherished memory he shared with his dad, who left in a divorce.

In college, Kurt was a hotshot with a pinpoint aim, but he had the nasty habit of rolling out of the pocket and making his own plays, not the plays ordered by his coach. For his lack of discipline, the University of Northern Iowa coach kept him on the bench for three seasons.

According to the movie (which sticks closely to his real-life story), he begged for a chance to play, and coach finally leveled with him. He needed to stay in the pocket, a protected bubble formed by collapsing linemen around the QB, to give him time to find a receiver.

As a drill to see if Kurt could handle the pressure, Coach sent wave after wave of defensive linemen crashing into him to hurt him and see if he would stand up under pressure. It worked.

Kurt was named Gateway Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference.

At the same time, Kurt met the girl who became his wife and the catalyst to his faith.

The odds were against him striking up a relationship with Brenda. She loved country music; he hated it. Even worse, she detested football.

But as God would have it, Kurt went with his friend to a country-western bar where he was smitten by her good looks and decided he’d better learn to barn dance.

Sidling up her, he turned on the charm. But Brenda wouldn’t even give him her name. Read the rest: American Underdog, Kurt Warner testimony

Janitor prevailed over doctor, mother saved her baby from abortion

The doctor screamed at Mom to follow through with the abortion she had already paid for, but the janitor who found Christina Bennet’s mom crying in her gown in the hallway said God would provide a way for her to have and support her baby.

Because her mom never wished to tell her the story of how her life hung in the balance between the forces of death (ironically, a doctor) and the forces of life (a humble janitor), Christina never knew until someone whispered prophetically in her ear.

“I was in college and I was attending a church. Someone approached me and said, ‘Christina, God wants you to know something remarkable happened around the time of your birth,’” she recalled on a CBN news video.

Startled, Christina confronted Mom, who was at first only vague saying some Angel had been involved but eventually broke down and spilled the beans.

“Do you want to have this baby?” the janitor had asked Mom.

“Yes,” she replied through the tears.

“God will give you the strength to have your child,” the cleaning man said.

The doctor tried to intervene and obligate Christina’s mom to follow through. “You’ve already paid. You’re just nervous,” he reassured her.

When Mom stood her ground, the doctor yelled, “Don’t leave this room!” Christina narrates.Mom rushed out. Read the rest: doctor battled janitor over abortion

Science backing same-sex parents flawed, author says

Decades of research have only confirmed that kids suffer when they lose a biological parent, whether it be through divorce, death, adoption, abandonment or third-party reproduction.

Two wedding rings on the fabric colors of the rainbow. Concept same-sex marriage.

“Losing a parent is physically, mentally, and emotionally detrimental for kids,” says Katy Faust in her book Them Before Us. “Sociologists overwhelmingly agree outcomes for children are best when the children are raised by their married mother and father, a consensus backed by decades of research on marriage and family.”

This was well-established science until the Dawn of the Enlightened Era of Marriage Equality. People’s hearts melted with compassion as they listened to the stories of same-sex parents wishing for a child.

All of a sudden, a barrage of studies emerged reputedly demonstrating that kids raised by same-sex parents came out just as well as parents raised by their biological parents, a mother and a father. The only thing that matters, we were told, was the stability of two loving parents.

And just like that, decades of research was suddenly upended overnight.

Because the media hype went into full swing and social scientists pushed the story it was a slogan that caught on quickly and was adopted widely. Even the Supreme Court was swayed by the “science.”

There was only one problem: While we heeded the tearful stories of same-sex parents who wanted to have children, we ignored the tearful stories of children who wanted a dad and mom.

“The pain in my life did not stem from the state not recognizing the relationship between my two moms,” wrote Heather Barwick in a Supreme Court amicus brief. “It stemmed from the turmoil of desperately wanting a father. I love my mom deeply, fiercely, and unconditionally. She is an incredible woman, but I also love my absent father. I ached for a father I knew I would never have.”

Actually, there was another problem. The “science” supporting same-sex parenting was baked. Methodology was flawed: participants were NOT selected randomly, sample sizes were small and NOT representative, reporting methods (such as same-sex parents answering on behalf of their children) were NOT reliable, according to an evaluation by the Heritage Foundation in 2015.

When Mark Regenerus conducted a legit study in 2012 – not perfect, but better than anything conducted previously – he demonstrated what family research has basically pointed out all along: parental loss hurts kids over the long run, even under the new rubric of same-sex parenting.

The equal sign was a cute logo. But the math was not equal.

“On 25 out of 40 outcomes evaluated, there were statistically significant differences between children from intact biological families and those of mothers in lesbian relationships in many areas that are unambiguously suboptimal, such as receiving welfare, need for therapy, infidelity, STIs, sexual victimization, educational attainment, safety of the family of origin, depression, attachments and dependencies, marijuana use, frequency of smoking, and criminal behavior,” the study says.

His conclusions detonated an atomic bomb of politcal fury.

An army of 200 social scientists arose and trumpeted in a signed complaint that Regnerus had doctored his conclusions based on his religious ideology. Leading the charge was UCLA’s demographer Gary Cates. If he accused Regnerus of being a religious ideologue, there were three fingers pointing back at him. Cates is gay.

Regnerus almost got fired from his job as Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

The message was ominous: anyone who dared to break ranks with the current political ideology would be canceled.

As social scientists dug through his study to unearth defects, Regnerus responded in a twofold manner: 1) no study supporting same-sex parenting had been subjected to similar scrutiny, and 2) keep doing studies (but legit ones).

Regnerus weathered the maelstrom.

Two things happened since his 2012 watershed study. More social scientists worked unafraid of the woke mob. And kids started posting the cries of their heart online. They still had a longing for the biological parent that was not present.

Culling from 12,000 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Paul Sullins found and studied 20 randomly selected children growing up in same-sex parent household. They were twice as likely to suffer depression later as adults, along with suicidal thoughts and obesity when compared to peers raised by biological parents.

“These results align with what social science has already established about child development, namely the three essential staples of a child’s socio-emotional diet: mother’s love, father’s love, and stability,” Faust writes. Read the rest: Do same-sex parents do as well as biological parents?

With pregnancy, mom and daughter were dying

A pregnancy is supposed to fill parents with joy, but Laura Johnson’s pregnancy seemed to detonate a cascade of life-threatening conditions for both her and her baby.

“There were times where the doctors would bring me the worst information you could think of and I would forget about my faith,” husband Sean Johnson told CBN. “I have to sit here and days go by, and pray that my wife don’t die any day now.”

The gospel singing duo saw their hopes fade to panic. First, Laura was taken to emergency with intense abdominal pain that was diagnosed as a 4-centimeter hernia that twisted her stomach and pushed much of her intestines into her chest cavity. It required surgery.

Then, what was predicted to be a 5-hour surgery turned into 5-days of straight surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston as doctors opened her up and found things were worse than expected: one lung was compressed, her heart was pushed to the side, and a three-foot section of her intestine was dead.

All the while, Laura was pregnant at 22 weeks.

“I’m losing my mind, honestly,” Sean remembers thinking. “Let’s just be truthful. I’m losing my mind.

“I took it back to God,” he adds. “I said, ‘Listen, this is what they told me. So now you gotta figure this out cause I don’t work in this kinda stuff, you work in these kinda ways.’”

Then on day two of surgery, Laura went into labor. She was unconscious when she delivered baby Alora by C-section on Nov. 21, 2018.

You may be hoping for a Disney movie ending, but baby Alora weighed a mere 1 pound and 8 ounces. The tiniest of babies, all of Alora fit into the palm of Sean’s hand.

Alora suffered two brain bleeds, hydrocephalus, and chronic lung disease. She required two brain surgeries, and at one point, doctors called the parents in to say their goodbyes. Alora wouldn’t survive, they said grimly.

Still, Sean and Laura clung to their faith and sang to the Lord.

“You put her in the palm of my hand, that’s how small she was,” says Sean. “I was excited! It’s… Read the rest: Sean and Laura Johnson.

How Joey Kelly overcame survivor’s guilt

The horror of seeing his uncle slash and kill his aunt and cousin metamorphosed into survivor’s guilt that tormented Joey Kelly throughout his life.

“Looking into his eyes, it was just pure evil,” Joey said, describing his uncle on the evening of the murders. At 12-years-old, he was at a sleepover with his 9-year-old cousin when it happened. “He was just completely determined to kill that night, and he was on a killing spree at this point.”

Uncle John was blind with rage. His wife, Joey’s aunt, was divorcing him and had obtained a court order to kick John out of the house. John showed up at 3:00 a.m. hell-bent on vengeance.

For his killing rampage, John is today in Huntsville Prison, and Joey suffers from survivor’s guilt, a post-traumatic stress disorder that stems from the fact that he survived and others did not.

Joey’s beginnings were idyllic enough. He accepted Jesus at age 7 when his older sister sat him on her lap and explained the Gospel.

“I remembered it clicking that God loved me so much and there’s nothing I can do to earn God’s love,” Joey recalls on an I am Second video. “It’s what he did for me.”

Mikey was not only his cousin; he was Joey’s best friend, and sleepovers were common for the Texas tykes.

The fateful night when he was 12 ended the innocence and delight of childhood. It also ended his faith in God.

Uncle John broke through the window and invaded the home. First he went upstairs where he hacked his ex-wife, Phyllis, mercilessly with a butcher’s knife. Mikey woke up Joey and begged him to help. Mikey, who was 9, watched helplessly as his father murdered his mother.

In his hellish altered state, the father turned on his own son. He tackled and stabbed him multiple times, slitting his throat – right in front of Joey.

Lastly, John came after Joey.

“He slams me against the wall,” remembers Joey, who raised his arms to protect his chest. “My uncle John tries to stab me in the chest. He actually ends up stabbing me through my arm. The tip of the blade just scratches my chest.”

Joey has scars to this day from the incident.

But then a miracle occurred. Joey blinked and suddenly he was 10 feet away from his uncle.

“It’s like God got him off of me just for a quick second and pushed me out of the way or something,” he says.

He looked at his arm and saw raw muscle hanging out of the slit. He pushed it back into his arm. There was no time to think. He ran from his uncle, who chased him.

“John, please stop,” he pleaded. “You don’t have to do this. Please stop.”

The little kid was able to elude the uncle. The next thing he knew, his uncle stopped stalking him and returned upstairs. Joey ran outside to the neighbor’s house and rang the doorbell 40 times.

It was 3:00 a.m. When the neighbor eventually opened the door, she screamed.

“Oh, my God! The house is on fire.”

Uncle John set the house ablaze, burning half of his own face in the process.

Uncle John survived and “looks the monster he is,” Joey says.

“I survived that night,” he says. “This feeling of survivor’s guilt is intense and has been with me for a long time now. It’s a real crappy feeling to know you’re the only one to live and others didn’t. I didn’t feel like I was a good kid or special kid. I didn’t do anything to deserve that. If anything, Mikey was a way better kid than me.

“It never made sense.”

Joey was furious at God. He would go into his backyard to curse God.

“F___ you, God!” he screamed. “What the F are you thinking? How could you let evil win in such a big way?”

He hoped to anger God. Maybe God would strike him down for his blasphemy. Then his inner anguish would cease.

Therapy did not draw out a favorable response from Joey, who growing up decided he deserved to act up.

“If anyone had the right to go crazy, it was me,” he remembers. “I got into partying, alcohol, and smoking. I was struggling from everything from depression, to post traumatic stress, to survivor’s guilt.”

Most of the time, he wore the facade of a happy-go-lucky guy. At least he could compartmentalize the torment.

At Texas A&M University, he randomly popped into a church service. Read the rest: how to get over survivor’s guilt

Science now takes NDEs seriously

For decades, scientists sneered at Near Death Experiences – or NDEs – because they didn’t fit the empirical-evidence, materialistic model of “hard” science.

UCR John Fischer Lecture 2018

The trouble with that shrug-off is that there are so many NDEs and they are so varied it is hard to blame an overactive imagination, religious fanaticism and grand-standing for all of them. There are too many cases for science to objectively ignore.

A $5.1 million grant to the University of California Riverside now is validating topics that Christians have harkened to keenly for decades: eyewitness accounts of existence beyond the stopped heartbeat.

“Given that NDEs have been reported throughout history and across cultures, and because they appear to be a portal to a beautiful immortality, they are of tremendous interest throughout history and currently,” says UCR’s Philosophy Professor John Martin Fischer, who administers the grant.

Professor Fischer’s work surveys and consolidates all credible accounts of NDE. He cites Dutch Cardiologist Pim van Lommel, who after listening to patients relate their experiences after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest, compiled accounts for 26 years and organized them in a systematic way.

Van Lommel

“Van Lommel has observed that (the people who experience) NDEs have significant transformational effects,” Fischer says on a 2018 Univ. of California, Riverside video. “These individuals have less death anxiety and are more spiritual. They appreciate relationships more, spending more time with family, friends and relatives.

“They are also more compassionate and more attuned to morality and justice,” he adds. “The transformations are often profound.”

Fischer’s work is significant to the Christian community not because every account fits nicely into Biblical orthodoxy (some do, some don’t), but because his academic rigor brings scientific backing to the simple notion of an afterlife.

After all, if it can be established that humans enter eternity, then one can debate about which faith has the correct version.

Not everyone who comes back from death tells the same story. But most share these elements: an out-of-body experience, a guided journey, unconditional love and acceptance, a dark tunnel with a light at the end, a life review and a reformed life for the person revived from death, Fischer says.

Most NDEs describe a paradise environment, if not exactly the Bible’s Heaven. But roughly 10% are not positive experiences – something like Hell, Fischer states. The real number of negative NDEs may be larger because of the shame associated with telling others that you were judged unworthy to go to the Good Place, he adds.

Most NDEs tell of unverifiable events, but extraordinarily others relate conversations between doctors and nurses when medically the patient had flatlined and scientifically was unconscious and dead, Fischer says.

“The fact that these NDEs can be checked against the facts and have very similar content at least suggest that the NDEs that cannot be independently corroborated must be taken seriously,” Fischer says.

Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, wrote about his experiences being “in a beautiful and incredible dream world that wasn’t a dream” in his book, Proof of Heaven, which sold three million copies.

Dr. Alexander was in a coma at the time as he flew around with his sister on the wing of a butterfly in an intricately designed surface with indescribable colors and millions of butterflies “more real than the chair I sit in, more real than the log in the fireplace,” Alexander says.

Fischer in his presentation also referenced Colton Burpo, the four-year-old who died and met the Trinity in Heaven and even a miscarried sister, of whom he had no knowledge until he told his parents after he recovered from the surgery.

“There’s lots and lots of reports and it’s often difficult to explain them in a naturalistic way,” Fischer says. “The experiences are remarkable in their universality and at least appear to be a portal to an afterlife, another realm, usually a peaceful Heavenly realm.” Read the rest: the science of NDEs

Jesus helps crime rates

When Robert Polaco got saved, crime statistics went down for the City of Las Vegas, NM. So says his former pastor. People knew him and feared him, and soon the word spread around the city that the Door Church is where the former criminal was saved.

Robert Polaco’s mom lived mostly in a mental hospital with schizophrenia. His dad lived primarily in jail. Robert was raised as a ward of the State.

“I was placed in a foster home,” Robert says on the 2021 video produced by the Door Church. “According to the case work, I was being abused.”

Along with his harsh living conditions, Robert also felt like a pariah — as if something was broken within him.

“I grew up with that chip on my shoulder,” Robert continues. “It was as if there was no answer, I felt there was no hope.”

Later on, Robert would dedicate his life and career to martial arts. His role as an instructor became the new identity he would give himself to.

“I decided to open up my own dojo,” Robert says. “That’s where I met my wife- I gave her free lessons because I thought she was pretty.”

Robert and Jacque Polaco would eventually enter a marriage which was immediately plagued by serious relationship problems. Robert’s life quickly fell apart.

Change would eventually come on May 15th, 1981. The young couple was introduced by Door Church’s pastor Harold Warner to a set of popular Biblical prophecy films. Convicted, Robert and his wife surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.

“When I prayed that prayer on that night, I just felt free.” Robert recounts.

Similarly, Jacque felt as if a massive weight was on her for her entire life. Her prayer for salvation lifted the heavy burdens she carried.

“There was no desire to smoke dope or drink alcohol,” Robert states. “The desire was gone. When I entered the martial arts class on Monday, I shut it all down.”

Robert felt like a brand-new man, a newborn star. It was as if someone had pressed a reset button on him; now Robert found something to live for: Jesus.

“Robert and Jacque proved to be a key couple in the forming of that early church here,” Pastor Ray Rubi of Door Church reminisces.

However, the incredibly small building that represented the Door Church in Las Vegas would eventually be the recipient of God’s miracles in the form of a skilled new pastor, Richard Rubi.

“The city of Las Vegas had about 14,000 people, but everybody knew Robert,” Richard says. “He had a reputation there.” Read the rest: Jesus helps crime rates

Kevin Robinson couldn’t afford to buy books, so he just read them at the bookstore. Today he is rich.

Despite making millions in real estate, Kevin Robinson, 38, scrimps on groceries, eating oatmeal, tuna out of the can, and frozen grapes instead of ice cream. He makes a point of always buying in bulk.

“My family thinks I’m just as cheap as hell,” Kevin says on a MarketWatch video. “They say, you’re just cheap. Go buy some real ice cream. But little things start to add up for me, and (living frugally) has been very, very good for me in building up my net worth.”

Today, Kevin Robinson — who calls himself Kayr — administers a real estate empire, but he grew up in “deep poverty” in Philadelphia. He serves as an example of someone God provided for abundantly as he gave to God’s work.

“No one in my family was financially literate,” he says. “What happened to me is that I was motivated because when I was 13 or 14 years old, I noticed my mother struggled with money and our local church was always raising money.”

So, he went to the local bookstore and read everything on finance, money management and real estate. He didn’t buy the books. He didn’t have the money to do so. He didn’t even have money for the bus to get to the bookstore. He walked there every weekend and spent the day reading them in the store throughout middle school and high school while his friends played sports.

“I would say, ‘I’m going to master this material. No one’s going to know more than me,’” he remembers. “I sat down. I read the book for free. I put it back.”

Throughout his childhood, Mom had to move 10 times. Though instability was not ideal, Kevin found inspiration.

“It looked like the landlord had all this power. He gets to decide who lives and who stays in his property,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to become the homeless person or the teenage dad? Or am I going to become the landlord or the business owner?’

“I decided to become the landlord and the business owner.” Read the rest: He read books on riches at the bookstore because he couldn’t afford them, then Kevin Robinson became rich.

Uber driver and prophet confirms young man

As soon as Justin Berry buckled up, the Uber driver turned to him and said: “Because you have obeyed God, He’s going to bless you.”

“I’m like WHAT?” Justin was flabbergasted. He had just broken up with his girlfriend — reluctantly — because they had fallen into sin. But he was broken-hearted, agitated and conflicted.

“What the heck is going on?” he marveled at the message from an Uber driver. “Whoa that’s crazy.”

The unexpected confrontation was part of a long process of God calling Justin back to salvation, into holy matrimony and unto a beautiful destiny in music ministry.

Justin Berry, now 20, grew up in Ladera Heights, in Los Angeles, going to to church with his mom and brother. Going to the Lighthouse Christian Academy cemented his childhood faith and also it’s where he met a certain girl named Trina.

He excelled in academics and sports during high school and was elated when he got accepted to his dream college: UCLA. It was a euphoria unlike any other. But as he tried to push the “accept” button on the electronic offer letter, Justin was being held back. God had told him to attend college elsewhere.

“Something was holding my hand back from pressing that button,” he remembers.” I started crying and bawling my eyes out. I wanted to go there. This was my ticket to my career. I was trying to press this button and God wouldn’t let me do it.”

Finally, his mom came in asked what was the matter. He explained and, being a loving mom, she persuaded him that it was the devil interfering. He finally pushed the button. What could go wrong? He had a beautiful girlfriend and an ideal institution of higher learning. God’s blessing was evident.

Only not everything was as it seemed. Secretly, he and Trina, allowing themselves to be alone, had fallen into temptation together, and both were feeling intense conviction.

“It was a rough year of heavy, hard conviction,” Justin tells. “I stopped praying and let my relationship with God die away. I replaced Trina as my idol, and she became my god. I would find my peace, my joy, my happiness through her. When I was with her, I didn’t feel any conviction. But when I was away from her, I felt this conviction.”

He still attended church and youth group. He would pray tears of guilt in the strangest of places: in the bathroom.

“The bathroom is where I prayed,” Justin admits. “I still loved God, but something else was stronger.”

One night, the pastor proclaimed prophetically: “There’s somebody here that God has been asking you to give up something for a long time, and you need to give it up right now.”

Justin felt startled, confronted, cornered.

After the service, he confessed to the pastor: the message was for him.

That night, he broke up with Trina. It was the hardest decision of his life up to that moment. His love for this girl was at war with his love for God.

Upset and confused, he got into his Uber. The driver turned on him. It was a wild confirmation.

In fact, the she said, she had been instructed to make a U-turn, a right-hand turn and then wait by the side of the road for her next rider. God told her to prophesy to whoever it was. Justin was next.

Still, Justin wondered, without saying anything, if it were only an improbable coincidence. Read the rest: JBThePreacher