Category Archives: Christian living

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

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

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

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

Pastor tackles gunman in Nashville church

When a man stood up suddenly during prayer service and waved a handgun at the congregation, Pastor Ezekiel Ndikumana sprang into action and tackled him from behind before he could fire off a round.

“He wanted to kill,” Pastor Ezekiel said through an interpreter on WKRN news. “That was the first thing that came to mind.”

Motives remain unclear as yet as to why Dezire Baganda, 26, suddenly jumped up in the Nashville Light Mission Pentecostal church and ordered the congregation to stand as he waved a handgun.

But quick-witted Pastor Ezekiel neutralized him before he could do anyone harm. The immigrant pastor acted as if he were exiting the back door behind the pulpit and behind the gunman and then rushed him and tackled him from his blindspot. Other congregants joined in to help disarm the threatening man at the Nov. 7th service, all recorded on church surveillance video.

“I would say that God used me because I felt like I was going to use the back door as an Read the rest: Pastor tackles gunman in Nashville church

Children fare better with a mom and a dad

In a study that riled LBGT advocates in 2012, Professor Mark Regnerus found that kids raised by a married man and woman fared better generally than those raised in homes where they had two male parents or two female parents. Has there been any change in outcomes during the intervening years?

Surveying 15,000 Americans between 18 and 39, the study measured 40 outcome categories and found, for example, that kids of homosexual parents were more likely to be on welfare support, have depression and succumb to drug abuse than their counterparts raised in intact biological homes, according to the 2012 study, reported by CBS.

Naturally, the gay political agenda fired off rounds at the study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin sociologist. The study, they said, proved that instability at home, not homosexuality, was a problem. They maintained it was biased by the sociologist’s Catholic faith. It contradicted other, better studies, they said.

His own university department chair disavowed his study and LBGT demographer Gary Gates formed a group of 200 social scientists to attack Social Science Research, the journal which published his study. Cancel culture was in full swing.

Defending himself, Regnerus says his study was the most thorough so far and challenged opponents to conduct their own studies based on statistically significant data and prove him wrong, not just yell. Why haven’t the studies which supported raising kids in same-sex parent households not subjected to the same scrutiny as his? He asked.

“Most conclusions about same-sex parenting have been drawn from small, convenience samples, not larger, random ones,” Regnerus said. “The results of that approach have often led family scholars to conclude that there are no differences between children raised in same-sex households and those raised in other types of families. But those earlier studies have inadvertently masked real diversity among gay and lesbian parenting experiences in America.”

Since 2012, Regnerus has continued to study questions of sexuality and the family. He has attacked the “pornographization of daily life,” which erodes Christian marriage and normalizes aberrant sexual practices.

According to his most recent book in 2020, The Future of Christian Marriage, fewer Christians are getting married. What God established as the foundation of society is meeting some measure of indifference from Christians, who seemed to be influenced by cultural trends.

Regnerus stands behind his original conclusions that kids tend to do better in traditional homes. Kids need a dad for what only a dad can provide, and they need a mom for what only a mom can provide.

Of his respondents, 69% of children of lesbian mothers… Read the rest: Children fare better with a mom and a dad.

Coco Gauff prays for her opponents

Steam-roll, blast, defeat, thrash, shellac, rout, conquer, trounce, humble, squash, dominate, or dismantle – just a few of the ways sports competitors wish to deal with their opponents.

Coco Gauff prays for her opponents.

“Before every match since I was eight, my dad and I say a prayer together,” Coco told Christian Headlines. “We don’t really pray about victory, just that me and my opponent stay safe.”

Cori “Coco” Gauff has a notable sports pedigree. Her parents were NCAA Division 1 athletes who supported her journey to professional tennis, sacrificing careers and comfort (Mom left a good job and house in Atlanta to move in with grandparents and homeschool in Florida for better training opportunities).

The move paid off.

In the 2019 French Open, Coco entered as a virtual unknown, receiving a wildcard invitation. Coco kept beating highly ranked girls. Then she faced the legendary Venus Williams, ranked 40th in the world at that time.Read the rest: Coco Gauff Christian.

Gay Marine’s journey to Jesus

Emmett Chang insists: “I was not born gay.”

But he grew up with mostly female friends and got bullied by the guys his age, so he grew to hate his masculinity.

“I just took out my insecurities with lust towards men,” Emmett says on a Tucson Door Church video. “I medicated myself and pacified myself and drowned myself in homosexuality because I hated myself as a man. I didn’t feel like a man.”

But in 2015, somebody talked to him about God and gave him a little booklet to read.

“I read it because I wanted to see if God hated me,” Emmett says. “But I found out He didn’t. It said, all sins are bad; they’re all worthy of death, including homosexuality. But that same sin was covered by grace.”

So he gave his life to Christ.

At that a time, a pastor prompted him indirectly with a question: Did God ever say you were gay?

“It was a million-dollar question,” he says. “It took 21 years… Read the rest: Gay Marine in Jesus now

After his dad died, he turned to crime and drugs in Newcastle England

When Kirk was a drug dealer, a friend committed suicide after he sold him drugs. After Kirk became a Christian, another friend committed suicide. He never told his friend about Jesus.

Now, the Newcastle, England, man feels the urgency to share Jesus with everyone.

Up until his father’s death, Kirk had an ideal childhood. His family had few serious problems; his dad held a good job.

But when a drunk driver killed his father, his tranquil life turned nightmarish. His mom started drinking and hooking up with other men. There was no stability.

Kirk turned to running away from home, committing crimes, and abusing drugs.

“Between 16 and 19 I basically lived in a drug filled haze,” says Kirk. By the age of 24, he was a drug dealer.

One night a friend was in a bad place and came to his house. Kirk did what he had always done, sold him drugs.

“That night someone upset him,” Kirk recounts. “He went home and killed himself.”

As a result of the tragedy, he realized drugs are not an answer.

“Life just got too much,” he says. “My faults were consumed with horrible thoughts. I got really depressed and I just didn’t want to be here.”

One day Kirk met a woman named Dionne who preached about Jesus.

But in his world, there was no such thing as God. If God existed, he couldn’t love someone like himself.

The next day Kirk intentionally overdosed.

“I really just didn’t want to be here,” he remarks. “I didn’t have any strength left, not even the strength to just get up in the morning. In the middle of the overdose the phone rang and woke us up.”

The following day Kirk received a visitor that shared Jesus with him.

When the person left, Kirk got on his knees and prayed for his dad to come down and take him and his family away with him.

Then something remarkable happened.

“All of sudden the room just lit up like a summer’s dayRead the rest: Christianity in Newcastle, England

Corrupt cop got God, got off from federal trial

On the 17th day of solitary confinement in jail, cop John Cichy broke down and made a confession — not to the crime of which he was accused but to his need for Jesus Christ.

“I realized I needed help because there was no way I was getting out of this, there was no way I was getting through this,” he says on a Psalm Forty video. “January 31st, 2013, right after midnight, I wholeheartedly called out to God. I saw everything that I was doing wrong that was displeasing to God that was harming me, and I realized I got myself into that mess. I said, ‘God, I don’t want to live that life no more.’ I wholeheartedly repented of that life.”

The former undercover detective who lived a high-flying life — with spinning rims, free drinks at bars and 19 girlfriends — was accused with two other Schaumburg Village, Ill, detectives of re-selling part of the drugs they confiscated from busts.

But while the two other cops accepted plea bargains for lesser sentences, Cichy took his fledgling faith seriously. He had heard God say to not break down in fear of getting a longer sentence and to go to trial.

He faced 18 counts which, if convicted, could result in a minimum of 24 years in prison, yet he refused every plea bargain they offered because God told him to.

“I was asking God what should I do,” he says. “I woke up the next morning and turned on the radio, the very first song was Mandisa, ‘Stay in the fight to the final round, you’re not going under.’”

He didn’t think much of it. But then he turned on the radio at mid-day, and the very first words were the same from Mandisa. Then at night when he went home and turned on the radio, again it was Mandisa.

The coincidence seemed too much.

“It was impossible, you cannot recreate that,” he remarks. “That was God speaking to me through that song, which translates to, ‘Go to trial. You’re not going to prison. I got you.’”

That’s why Cichy flouted his lawyer’s advice, his friends’ advice, his family’s advice, from his Christian brothers; everyone told him he didn’t stand a chance in the trial and that the federal case was too strong.

“It made no sense. Everything on paper, judges, lawyers, family, newspapers, Google, said I was going to prison 100%,” he remembers.

During one agonizing day, God told him to check his daily Bible verse in the app on his phone. It was Prov 29:25:

The fear of man lays a snare, but those who trust in the Lord are safe.

At 3:33 a.m… Read the rest: John Cichy Christian

Prolific punting couldn’t earn paternal praise

Steve Weatherford — whose punting pinned the Patriots back deep in their zone to help the Giants win Superbowl XLVI — says all his heroics were a vain attempt to get the approval of his father.

“I was trying to get the attention of my dad,” Weatherford says on a 7 Figure Squad video. “During a lot of those amazing achievements, I didn’t really enjoy them because the reason I was achieving them was I needed some affirmation from the most important person: dad.”

Today, Weatherford has found peace, approval and acceptance from Jesus, leaving behind the inner turmoil that led him to drugs and porn despite his outward appearance of success and manliness.

Born in Indiana, Steve Weatherford was raised in Baton Rouge. From an early age, he showed inclination for sports, playing football, soccer, basketball and track in high school. He didn’t enjoy the greatest relationship with his stoical, old school-style father.

The foray into sports began as a means to win his father’s approval. He worked out in the gym incessantly. As a result of his impressive physique, rumors circulated around town that he had bulked up thanks to “the juice.” One day, his dad even called him at school and told him to come over to the office.

“Oh crap, what did I do?” he wondered as he drove over to Dad’s. “Oh my God, I’m really in trouble.”

“There’s rumors around town that you’ve been taking steroids,” Dad said. “I’m not mad at you, but I want to get you help.”

“Initially I was really offended. I wanted to lash back,” Steve remembers. “But then I sat back into my chair and I thought to myself, ‘My dad thinks that I’ve done something with myself that is impossible to do without cheating.’”

“Dad, you might not believe me but I’ve done this 100% the right way,” he responded. “I’ll take a test right now.”

It was the closest thing to a compliment that he ever got from his dad.

Weatherford proceeded to the University of Illinois as a kicker and punter. He also played track and was named Sports Illustrated’s most underrated athlete in the Big Ten in 2004. He walked on to the New Orleans Saints and played for four teams before landing with the New York Giants.

Punters are usually wimps, by NFL standards. All they have to do is kick well. But Weatherford had the build of a lineman as a punter. He maintained a maniacal workout and diet regimen that got him featured in bodybuilding magazines.

On the outside, he was achieving his wildest dreams. But on the inside, he was losing battles. He watched porn and started taking percocet.

“I worked so hard to get into the NFL. I worked so hard to become the fittest man in the NFL twice. I worked so hard to (win the) Walter Peyton man of the year community service award. I worked so hard to become a Superbowl champion,” Weatherford says. “Looking back on my life, those were all predicated on getting my dad’s attention.”

Superbowl XLVI was a dream. The Giants were playing against Tom Brady’s Patriots.

Weatherford punted four times with such distance and precision that the Patriots found themselves in their own 10 and five yards — a marathon distance to touchdown. When the Giants came out on top, some observers called Weatherford the MVP.

A punter MVP?

Weatherford basked in the glory of his achievements. He looked over to Dad. He wanted so desperately for his father to clap him on the back, give him a bear hug and lavish patriarchal praise. Read the rest: Steve Weatherford Christian

Before he went viral in CHH, Miles Minnick came to church high

A gaggle of girls besieged him for his autograph at Great America because they thought he was Lil Bow Wow. Miles Minnick was 14, and that’s how he realized hip hop was his calling.

“If this is the kind of attention rappers get, let me go ahead and start rapping,” he says on a Testimony Stories video. “It was crazy.”

He immediately started free-styling inside the theme park. He rapped at school and won talent contests. He got chances to rap in the booth. Chockful of talent, he got noticed by big name San Francisco Bay area rappers and got invited to collaborate.

Miles’ trajectory moved assuredly toward success. But then he got saved and decided to dedicate his talent to God, and now he is one of the hottest new stars in Christian Hip Hop (CHH).

Miles Minnick grew up in Pittsburg, CA, with a polar opposite older brother, who “killed it” in athletics while Miles killed it in video games. In middle school he sported dyed-tip dreads and gold teeth.

His father prayed nightly with his sons but drove them to school in the morning with gangsta rap blaring: “F— the police!”

“When I was 8 or 9, we would go to church maybe once a month,” he remembers.

When Miles turned 12, his brother went to a church camp and came home on fire for God.

“My brother would chip away at me and chip away at me all the time. He would say, ‘Don’t do this? Why you do this?’ He would try to coach me in the correct way,” Miles recounts. “But I was still in the streets.”

He got a girl pregnant when he was 15, and he and his girlfriend brought the baby to class. The teacher often held the infant while teaching at the board.

“We were the school sweethearts. Everybody wanted to support us. Even though I was a knucklehead,” he admits. “I was trying to be a good dad, and I was a kid myself. The streets wouldn’t let me go.”

At age 16, Miles had his encounter with Christ. Ironically, it came when he was selling and smoking weed.

“I was a pothead,” he admits.

As he was getting high one day, a friend blurted out: “Hey bro, we should go to church!”

“Go to church? Right now?” he asked his buddy, who was also smoking marijuana. “We are high like nobody’s business. What are you talking about?”

The friend responded that there were pretty girls at the youth group. “I didn’t want to go, but they drug (sic) in there,” he says.

But youth group was closed, so they went into the main service at New Birth Church, Pittsburg.

“I was the one who didn’t want to go, but I wound up sitting on the edge of my seat, reading the songs off the projector, singing the songs,” he remembers. “It captivated me. I was feeling something I never felt before. I was fresh off the street, fresh off a smoking session. At the end of the service, the pastor pulled an altar call. I didn’t even know what that meant. I just knew I wanted it. I went up to the front, and the pastor laid his hands on me and prayed for me, and I fell out under the Spirit of God.

“I was on the ground weeping, crying my eyes out,” he adds. Read the rest: Miles Minnick

Chris Singleton forgives the white supremacist who killed his mother

While she was praying at church, Chris Singleton’s mom was shot eight times by white supremacist Dylann Roof in 2015.

Then only 18, Chris Singleton had to assume the role of parent for his younger siblings.

“It was being thrown into the fire for me,” Chris says on a 100 Huntley Street video. “Something like that, I call it the unthinkable because you never think in a million years that something like that will happen to you. It was tough then, it’s tough now. It made me grow up a lot quicker than a lot of people. I had to take care of two teenagers when I wasn’t even 21 yet.”

Incredibly, Chris chose to forgive the racist mass murderer who snuffed out nine lives at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When Sharonda Coleman-Singleton died, Chris wasn’t exactly strong in his Christian faith.

“I think anybody that loses a loved one, there’s two ways you could go with your faith,” Chris says. “You could say number one, there’s no way God is real. Or you could say, two, God, I don’t know how this happened or why this happened, but I need you to get me through it.”

Chris, who became a minor league baseball player for the Chicago Cubs, drew on his athletics training to develop resilience.

“I didn’t have my mom anymore and I didn’t have my dad, so Jesus became the rock that I would lean on,” he says. “That was comforting for me, it was therapeutic for me.”

Meanwhile, Dylann Roof has been sentenced to nine consecutive life sentences in prison. His hateful website, The Last Rhodesian, showed pictures of him with neo-Nazi symbols. Rhodesia was the white-ruled state that is now Zimbabwe. Read the rest: Chris Singleton forgives the white supremacist who killed his mom.

Christian surfers

Of course, Christian Surfers International calls Jesus the “Original Water Walker.”

Originally, they were just a support group of like-minded surfers who felt a little marginalized by the church, but as they grew, they realized they had a greater responsibility to win the entire surfing world to Christ.

They want to be even more salty while paddling ocean waves and reflect the light of Jesus on sun-drenched beaches.

Today, Christian Surfers International has affiliates in 35 countries with about 175 local missions, each of those acting like a tiny church plant to the surf community, says Casey Cruciano, operations manager of CSI.

They also do community development projects around the world through their organization Groundswell Aid. Some of the best surf breaks also have some of the poorest communities in the world. Hardcore surfers have always traveled to out-of-reach spots for the perfect wave. But CSI surfers don’t just ride the wave; they help alleviate poverty, restore the environment and provide disaster relief.

“We believe in the power of the global surfing community to make powerful, long-term changes to beach communities around the world,” a narrator on a Groundswell video explains. “Using surfing as a platform to connect, Groundswell exists to meet the needs of under-resourced communities and offer tangible hope.”

They even teach Third World youngsters to surf or learn water polo, offering scholarships to those who do well in school and encourage school dropouts to return.

On the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, they help build housing and school facilities for the locals. Read the rest: Christian surfers Intl.

Gunslingers at volleyball in Santa Monica

Katherine (left) and Allie

Suddenly, the volleyball court disappeared and the scene of a hot and dusty Wild West town emerged.

As a tumbleweed rolled lazily along in the scorching breeze and innocent bystanders scampered for cover, Allie Scribner, hands readied for her quickest draw, squinted sternly at her rival, Westmark’s Katherine Abraham.

When the ref blew the whistle, the gunslinger Allie fired, a blistering serve… straight at the person best able to return it, Katherine.

“I wanted to ace their best player,” Allie explained afterward. “I wanted to make them feel pain.”

It might seem that to liquidate the game efficiently, it was in Lighthouse Christian Academy’s interest to target easy victims with the deadly gunfire.

But when the spirit of posse justice possesses her, Allie turns into a merciless marksman.

“Number 1 had really good serves and overall played really well with the girls,” admitted Katherine, who herself was a powerful player and struck fear into the Santa Monica private school’s heart. Read the rest: Christian private school near Venice, CA – volleyball

Only a punch to the throat saved Tim Tebow’s wife

All glammed up driving to a fancy event, the reigning Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, found herself surrounded by five armed men at a stoplight in Johannesburg.

“I didn’t know what they wanted from me, but I knew it wasn’t good.” Demi says on a Tim Tebow Foundation video.

Demi decided to give up her car and make a run for it, but one assailant forced her in the car.

“Get in!” he barked. “You’re going with us.”

All sorts of horrid possibilities flashed through her mind, so surrendering herself by getting in the car was the last thing she wanted to do.

So Demi punched one of the men in the throat as hard as she could.

“That one punch gave me a split second, a window of opportunity to run away and I DID,” Demi said.

As Miss South Africa, Demi was wearing all her glamorous clothing for a special event — including 6-inch high heels.

She ran frantically — or rather hobbled — down the line of cars at the stoplight. It was peak traffic hour, about five in the afternoon.

“I ran through traffic and tried getting away, looking over my shoulder, not knowing if I’m being shot in the back,” she says.

She knocked on car windows pleading for help.

In all, Demi thinks she knocked on at least 30 car windows.

Nobody opened a car door for her. Nobody rolled down a window to ask what was wrong. Everybody acted like they didn’t see her.

“Not one person stopped to help,” she says. “I don’t know what was more terrifying, being attacked by these five armed men, or not getting any help.” Read the rest: Tim Tebow’s wife attacked

Homage to the Queen

Every ball she hit was for her mother.

Her mother passed away just months ago.

“My hardest hardship was my grieving. My loss,” Dahlia Gonzalez says. “It makes me want to play better… for my mom.”

Mom inspired Dahlia, and the whole Lighthouse Christian Academy team, to victory Tuesday in three sets against Ojai Valley School.

“Dahlia did pretty well this game. She did have an injured finger, but it didn’t seem to hold her back this game,” says Coach Jessica Young. “They were all good. She’s a natural athlete. Some of her passes looked like collegiate level to me. They were beautiful like in a magazine. She made some last-minute saves on the sideline. She can hit ambidextrously.”

Ray Dalio may be the master of the market, but la reina Dahlia is the queen of the court.

She has overcome a lot. The loss of her mother was on top of all the difficulties of Covid and not being around friends and not practicing sports (her preferred is softball).

The Saints dispensed the Spuds (Yes, they call themselves the Spuds. No, potatoes are not a big crop from Ojai) empty-handed.

Playing on grass in the private school’s bucolic Ojai property, LCA team members had to adjust. Hits were affected by breezes. Jumps were harder without the hardwood base. Diving would not displace the fall with a slide of smooth wood surface. Read the rest: Santa Monica Christian school sports volleyball

She never thought she’d wind up in a mental institution

Arynn never thought she would end up in a mental institution, but after she became thrilled with cutting herself, that’s where she was taken.

“The minute I saw the blood it was like I was hooked,” Arynn explains to 700 Club Interactive. “It was like this dopamine hit and in a really twisted way I’d almost rewarded myself with self-harming.”

Arynn was turned off by Christians.

“I always thought of Christians as these really emphatic people who wanted you to turn away from anything that was fun,” she says.

So, the minute she turned 18 and was able to go to parties, she began drinking.

“I just had fun with it and then a long pattern of, you know, thinking that I could just keep doing it and it would never catch up to me,” she says.

As a 19-year-old sophomore in a Christian college, she began taking shots of tequila at 8 a.m.

She didn’t realize she had become an alcoholic.

Almost imperceptibly, the “fun” evolved into depression. This led to self-harm.

“As the alcoholism progressed, the urge to self-harm got so much stronger,” Arynn says. “I felt too like even if God loves me he’s not gonna want to associate too much with me because look at where I’ve ended up.”

Death became her daily meditation and cutting became an obsession.

“I remember one night I decided I just have to try at least one time and so I remember taking the razor, slitting my wrist and nothing happened so I just kept going,” she says. “Finally, I’m surrounded by blood, but I’m not bleeding out.”

A friend found her, stopped her, and called the ambulance. Read the rest: She fell into cutting and was taken to a mental institution.

He hung up on his buddy at 4 a.m. His buddy committed suicide.

Adam Gunton hung up on his buddy when he called at 4:47 a.m.

“Why are you calling me this late?” he snapped.

“I was just calling to say hi,” Chuck responded, timidly.

“Don’t call me this late again!” Adam, a freshman in college in 2008, barked and slammed the phone down.

That’s the point when Adam’s partying changed and he became a hopeless addict.

“Before that moment I was using drugs and alcohol to party and have fun,” he says on a Logan Mayberry video. “But after that I was consciously using drugs to mask the way I feel, mask my emotions, mask my thoughts and cope with life around me. I bottled it down deeper and deeper with drugs and alcohol.”

As a result of his addiction, his weight dwindled down to 147 pounds from 210.

Adam grew up in Littleton, Colorado. He played football and wrestled at Columbine High School, which gained notoriety through tragedy. Mostly, he was able to hide his drug habit. He started drinking at age 11, after someone shared cocaine and weed with him.

“Throughout my high school career, I just thought it was fun,” he says. “I had no idea that it was going to lead me to a homeless shelter and not being able to stop the worst drugs on the planet 10 years later.”

On Nov. 6, 2015, Adam took a heroin hit that initially he thought was bunk. He got in his car and drove off. Cops found him in his car on the side of the road OD’d. Three months later, the body cam video was shown in court and he was charged with felony drug possession.

“Even that moment and those experiences weren’t enough to get me clean and sober,” he remarks.

He worked for Direct TV and became a top salesperson regardless of his drug abuse. At his desk, he had his computer and a drawer full of drugs.

One day, alone in his bedroom, he cried out to a God he didn’t know.

“This drug I was unable to stop using but it was taking everything from me,” he says. Read the rest: Causes of addiction, Adam Gunton.

Developmentally disabled couple wants kids

Chloe fell in love with and married Jason Ivey. It’s a heart-warming and romantic story. There’s just one notable piece of information to add. Both spouses are developmentally disabled.

Chloe has Down Syndrome. Jason has autism, ADD and bipolar disorder.

“People with autism want to feel important; they want to feel needed. Honestly, it’s magical. That’s how I actually feel,” Jason said in an interview with Special Books for Special Kids, a YouTube channel that promotes understanding of people with disabilities. “Yeah, there’s ups and downs. But I’m telling you Chloe is such a perfect wife. And even when I’m down she lifts me right back up and makes me so happy.”

To see Chloe and Jason talk about marriage and how God brought them together is a moving reminder that God has not made anyone inferior. People with special needs have much to teach others about happiness and simplicity in a world that seems overly complicated to many.

“I feel like I’m hit with a love bug. Sometimes I would say, ‘Thank You, God, for everything, all the positive things,” Chloe says. “I feel like I want to cry. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”

The love oozes from the video. “She is like drop-dead gorgeous,” Jason says. “I was worried, like, ‘Lord, I am way marrying out of my league.’ My goodness! Look at this beauty!”

But their fairytale story also raises unsettling questions the video doesn’t address: Would they have children? Would their offspring be more prone to being born with a disability? Who would care for the children?

“Sometimes I think in my mind ‘I want a baby so bad,’” Chloe says. She has a realistic doll that she treats as her baby. “This is Giselle. She represents what we want for the future.”

Both Chloe and Jason recognize their limitations. They say they are 80% independent, which means that 20% of their adult responsibilities are handled by care-givers, often family members.

In a world where abortion is pressed on parents when an ultrasound reveals a potential disability, in a world where government imposes decisions on private citizens in the name of the common good, some questions linger:

Who decides if they have kids? Should society try to prevent a child being born into a world where foster care is a strong possibility? Find out more: Should developmentally disabled couples have kids?

Lost his legs and arms, didn’t lose his spirit

A year after he lost his legs and arms to septic shock, Gary Miracle ran a 1.4-mile race on running blades.

“My doctor tells me all the time, ‘no feet, no excuses,’” Gary told The Epoch Times.

Although Gary had many reasons to sulk, he continues to live his life to the fullest.

Forty-year-old Gary Miracle did ministry for 12 years when he contracted a rare blood infection he thought was the flu but it progressed to septic shock. He spent 10 days in a coma at an Orlando hospital.

“I think they gave me a 1 to 7 percent chance to live through this,” Gary says.

On New Year’s Day his heart failed, and medical personnel took eight minutes to revive him. Gary was placed on an oxygenation machine, and the cardiovascular surgeon saved his life by diverting blood to his brain and torso at the expense of his limbs, which necrotized.

“My arms and legs were so cold,” Gary says. “They told me that I looked like a mummy; my hands and legs were pitch black. Then my muscles and my tendons started kind of falling out of my legs. I had no feeling down there.”

Gary is a husband and father of four kids. His wife, Kelly, posted scriptures all around his hospital room.

“My family just stepped up in a huge way, I was never left alone,” he says. “People were praying for me constantly.”

After 117 days in the hospital, Gary was discharged in April 2020. His lifeless limbs had been amputated. He is a quadruple amputee.

“When you go through something like that, there’s a line drawn in the sand: Am I gonna sit on the couch and throw a pity party?” he says. “Or am I going to choose to live and be alive and live for Christ and be a dad with my kids?” Read the rest: Gary Miracle lost his arms and legs but not hope.

Houston, we have a problem

After Gorman Learning Center punked Lighthouse girls volleyball 12-25, maybe thought they had the match in the bag. After all, the scored showed a solid domination in Valencia Thursday.

But Allie Scribner got mad.

And game 2 was a role reversal. The freshman got mad and served a string of unreturnable serves. She smashed 11 blistering bowling balls down the alley (get it? For Allie). After rotating through, another six aces and near-aces to rack up points for Lighthouse Christian Academy.

How did Lighthouse answer GLC’s lopsided 12-25, a message of mercilessness and intention to humiliate?

Lighthouse responded by winning the second set 25-11.

They one-upped them by one point.

Houston, we have a problem.

Where did the dramatic turnaround come from?

There are two answers. The Saints complained the pacing of Game 1 was slow. They made sloppy mistakes and looked lethargic. They came alive in Game 2.

The second answer was the sweet-faced freshman-turned-furious-face Allie Scribner.

“I knew that we were playing slow. To get my team moving, I had to move and be excited and firey and wanting it,” she says. “You have to get mad to win.” Read the rest: Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica overturns volleyball match

Double homicide revenge

In response to a stepdad throwing boiling beans on his kids, Billy hunted down the suspect and murdered him and his uncle.

“I was so out of my mind,” Billy says on a Tony Evans video, “My kids were my life. I wasn’t thinking rationally and reasonably. All I was thinking about was revenge.”

A year later, he was arrested and began a long sentence.

Billy’s parents split when he was only six years old. He was left to his dad’s care but wanted desperately to find his mom. He would walk down the highway looking for his mom. Eventually, he found her. She was a functional alcoholic.

As an adolescent, Billy met a girl and got her pregnant. He was happy to be having a boy, “even though I was just a boy myself,” he says. But the child was stillborn.

He had two daughters with the young lady, but he didn’t know how to be a father or a husband, and she left him for another man.

The new man abused his daughters and got arrested, along with his former partner (who was taken into custody for child endangerment).

Billy boiled with rage.

“I would begin to consume enormous amounts of alcohol,” Billy recalls. “I consumed whatever it was to take my mind off of its original state to keep from having to deal with these issues.”

When a couple of friends notified him that the perpetrator had been released on bond, “my next question was, where is he?” Billy says. “I made my way over to the condominium where this uncle and he were and I murdered them.”

Billy spent five years in county jail awaiting trial, ultimately taking a plea-bargain deal that gave him 30 years, reduced to seven if behaved well in jail.

Ultimately, he didn’t “behave well” in jail.

“I had so much hate, anger, and bitterness and resentment that would just roll into my life and other people around me,” he says. “I began to express my faithfulness to rebellion so much that in fact the other gang members started to recognize me.”

He liked the recognition and respect he earned by getting into trouble.

Transferred to a prison in Amarillo, Texas, BIlly got caught up in a gang riot that left one man in critical condition. The man was air-lifted to the hospital, where he lingered between life and death.

Three inmates who were supposedly “brothers” in Billy’s gang, fingered him as the responsible man behind the brutal beating. The warden called in Billy and produced the signed accounts accusing him. If spelled the death penalty for him. His only hope was that the beaten man would somehow survive in the hospital. Read the rest: revenge and redemption in Texas

Vitor Belfort found Christ through his sister’s kidnapping

Before Vitor Belfort KO’d Evander Holyfield, he got KO’d by life. Specifically, his sister’s kidnapping and reported rape and killing left him searching for answers and hopelessly embittered.

“There’s two ways to get to God, through pain or through love,” he says on an I am Second video. “Mine was through pain.”

Known as “the Phenom,” Vitor Belfort was the youngest fighter to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout at 19. The Brazilian-born Florida resident, 44, has fought in all kinds of matches, with boxing being his latest.

He knew about God from childhood. In his first official fight, he promised to serve God faithfully, if God permitted him to win. Once he triumphed, he promptly forgot his promise.

“As soon as I won the championship, I didn’t follow God right away,” he acknowledges.

At age 20, he suffered a neck injury. Doctors were grim. He would have to give up his beloved sport of fighting and find another career.

“I was crying, I was desperate,” he admits.

One day as he drove around in his fancy car he saw a legless man who got around on a skate. He was so struck by this beggar, he engaged in conversation.

“Many people that drive by here think I’m worthless because I don’t have any legs,” the beggar told him. “But I can guarantee you, Vitor, I’m happier than many people who drive by here in their big cars. I got Jesus and Jesus can transform your life.”

That was the moment that Vitor felt God talking to his heart.

“But even with that, I didn’t follow God,” he concedes.

With his wife, Joana Prado

It would take the kidnapping of his sister in 2004 to humble Vitor and bring him to repentance.

Priscila was taken, and the family didn’t know anything about her for three years. A woman who supposedly was taken captive herself to pay off drug debts, Elaine Paiva, confessed to helping drug dealers kidnap and kill Priscilla.

Information that his sister had been repeatedly raped by grisly murderers enraged Vitor.

“If you lost your husband, you’re a widow. If you lost your parent, you’re an orphan. But if you lost your child, we don’t have a name for that,” Vitor says. “It’s so painful. It’s so painful they don’t even have a name for that.” Read the rest to find out how Vitor Belfort overcame the bitterness of his sister’s kidnapping and came to Christ.

He was killed by the Philippine soldiers who were sent to rescue him

The Philippine military was supposed to rescue hostage Martin Burnham. Instead, they shot him.

“I was immediately shot in the leg,” says Gracia Burnham, his wife, on a Huntley 100 video. “Martin was shot as well and just lay there. I could tell that gunshot wounds to the chest don’t heal. He was just kind of breathing loudly. Then he got very still.”

For a year, the Philippine military was pursuing the missionary couple’s kidnappers, the Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels, through the sweltering jungles of the Philippines. They were aided by a tracking device sewn into a backpack that the CIA had managed to pass on to the squad’s leader.

Missionaries for 17 years, Gracia and Martin Burnham were on Palawan Island when M16-touting rebels, seeking a ransom to fund their guerilla war, broke down their door and pulled husband and wife out on May 11, 2001.

They were spirited away on a speed boat and taken to the jungles where they joined other hostages. For a year, the rebels dragged them over hills and through rivers, constantly on the move to avoid capture, in jungles filled with snakes, spiders and disease-bearing mosquitos.

Sometimes they ate; sometimes they went days at a time without eating. The Muslim militants forced Gracia to wear a hijab in observance of ancient Islamic customs. The jihadists prayed five times a day. On some days, they stayed hidden with no movement, leaving the missionaries bored. Other days they walked endlessly, always on the run. They collapsed exhausted at night.

As the ordeal dragged on, Gracia struggled with why God had permitted the trial.

“How long do you think this will last?” Gracia asked her husband.

Martin remembered certain European hostages that were rescued after six weeks.

Gracia fixated on “six weeks,” and unconsciously made it a timeline for God to rescue them.

When six weeks passed with no sign of rescue, she despaired and began to doubt God — not His existence or the terms of salvation but if He indeed cared for her and loved her.

After all, He hadn’t responded.

And that’s how an internal conflict erupted in the context of the greater conflict of the rebel war.

Inside her heart, there was a battle of faith.

Martin, the aviator missionary, encouraged his wife not to lose faith even in the most trying circumstances.

“You either believe all of it or you believe none of it,” he gently challenged her.

From then on, the couple encouraged each other with remembrances of verses from the Bible that stirred faith.

Added to the trial of faith about the goodness of God, Gracia observed that a weariness of the jungle grated her. During the day, they were either bored unendingly as the hid or were exhausted from trudging forward to evade being discovered by the Philippine military.

The night was filled with dangerous predators and sounds that filled the darkness. She wished for daylight to arrive.

But days were filled with heat, humidity, marching or hunkering down. Then she wished for nightfall.

“I felt like I was wishing my life away,” Gracia says.

One of the other hostages was beheaded, perhaps to speed up the hoped-for ransom money.

After a wearisome, worrisome year on the run during their captivity, Gracia eventually lost all hope and said her goodbyes to her husband on June 7, 2002.

He gently reminded her to keep faith alive. But it was a good thing she said her goodbyes.

That very day, Martin… Continue reading: Gracia and Martin Burnham hostages of jihadist militants

Her parents’ rejection drove Pam further into LGBTQ

Pam’s own mother called her an “abomination” and “scum of the earth” after the 14-year-old admitted she was lesbian in 1970.

“I knew that I was lesbian when I was three. Absolutely,” Pam, now 62, says during an Ariana Armour interview.

By contrast, her grandparents, because they were hairstylists and knew homosexuals — were far more accepting.

“My grandmother showed me true unconditional love. She didn’t care what I said I was. She just handed me to God,” Pam says. “My mom had a wicked, wicked Jezebel spirit.”

Conceived by date rape, Pam was given up for adoption in Florida. Her adopted mom adhered to a legalistic form of Christianity.

Then in the fourth grade, Pam was raped by a neighbor boy. When she wanted to be a drummer, the music instructor molested her at age 11.

“I was like, I’m gonna keep my mouth shut,” she says. “I was afraid to say anything because I would be ostracized.”

Pushing her further toward the LGBT community, a warlock raped her in 1975.

Sadly, her parents’ expression of faith drove her further from God.

“I wrote out a contract in blood to Satan,” she says. It was an effort to get out of going to church and Sunday school.

When her adopted dad found out about the Satanism, “he tried to kill me,” Pam says. “He said he was going to beat Satan out of me. He was beating me but all of a sudden I felt power. I hit him and he flew back and hit my dresser.”

Pam was thrilled with the power, but the devil let her down on another occasion when her dad came back and beat her severely.

“I would have poltergeists come into my room,” she says. Demonic spirits would move objects and make noises. A lamp with a decorative face turned and looked at her.

“If you’re in Satanism, get out of it. It’s not just animal sacrifices,” she says. “They take aborted babies… Read the rest: Parents’ rejection drove her further away from God.

She wasn’t serious at all. Now, Athing Mu is very serious

Athing Mu was just fooling around with her older brother, who was part of the Trenton Track Club. She was running — outrunning the bigger kids — when the coach saw her and confronted her later when she was seated on the bleachers.

“Who is this girl? I want her on my team,” the coach said.

That was the start of an incredibly “God-gifted” girl who just won the first gold medal for the U.S. in the women’s 800 meters in 53 years. The 19-year-old freshman records-breaker from Texas A&M charged to the front of the pack from the very beginning and stayed there almost unchallenged, graceful and calm, with a powerful pace throughout.

First-placed USA’s Athing Mu celebrates on the podium with the gold medal after competing in the women’s 800m event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 4, 2021. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

Athing Mu (pronounced Uh-THING Moe), now 19, is lucky to be in America. Her parents fled South Sudan and made their residence in Trenton, New Jersey. She’s the second youngest of seven siblings. She got involved in track and also discovered what it means to run with Jesus.

“As a follower of Christ, our main goal is to live in the image of Jesus in order to connect to God and ‘get to’ God,” the 5’10” runner says on The Battalion. “I believe when God is ready to give you blessings, He gives it to you with all intentions. In this case, ‘keeping one at the top, never at the bottom.’”

She’s referring to Deut. 28:13: The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Read the rest: Athing Mu Christian

Cleaning up the homeless in Venice, CA?

About once a week, one homeless man or woman dies in Venice, CA.

That’s Michael Ashman’s tally. At least three times a week, Ashman hands out free food, clothes, and Bibles at Muscle Beach, which is often filled with tourists and eclectic street performers.

This area – until recently cleaned up by Sheriff’s deputies – has been thronged with homeless and criminals.

“When people say we have a ‘homeless problem’, that tells me they don’t have a clue; it’s a human problem, not a homelessness problem,” Ashman, 57, told God Reports. “There are all kinds of reasons people are homeless. Then you throw alcohol and drugs into the mix. But Jesus is the answer. He’s the One who’s going to heal their minds and set them free.”

For three years, Michael has ministered to the homeless. Arguably, homeless ministry is prone to burnout because positive results are few and far between, while death and destruction abound. The homeless, he says, have zero self-control and consequently get devastated by addiction, violence and disease.

“Every now and then, someone comes by and says, ‘Do you remember me? You fed me. You helped me,’” Michael says.

One such was Ivan, who once slept on the beach because of Southern California’s year-round temperate climate. One day he arrived cleaned-up and smiling. He had a small place and two jobs. The day he greeted Ashman, he was handing out clothes to his street friends, paying forward the favors.

Native to Southern California, Ashman got to know Jesus at a Billy Graham crusade at age 15. He got off drugs and was attending church but was “too young and not very involved,” he says.

In 1996, he got married and had kids but walked away from church and lost his marriage. He didn’t immediately come back to church because guilt coiled in his heart like a snake.

“I’d gone too far,” he explains. “I looked in the mirror every day and said, ‘God, what am I doing? I’m killing myself.’”

On Valentine’s Day in 2016, Ashman returned to church after “my life pretty much fell apart.”

He sat in the back and wept. He kept going to church “and wept every service for quite a while,” he says. “God was fixing me.”

Eventually, he launched his ministry, a 501c3 titled “You Matter.” He wears “You Matter” T-shirts on outreach, and it’s a good message to people that society has cast aside, fears and finds revolting.

“I just felt like this is what God wanted me to do,” Ashman says. “It was so powerful in me. It was beyond passionate, it was a driving force. I couldn’t not do it. I feel Jesus in me, and He loves people through me.”

For most of his life, Ashman worked as a contractor and a phone and computer communications installer, but as his non-profit has taken off, he’s neglected his business and given himself more and more to ministry.

While politicians promote social theories for dealing with the homeless, Ashman says only Jesus can truly change them.

Recently, the L.A. Sheriff ignited a spat with the mayor’s office by publicly accusing politicians of being incompetent and making an incursion into Venice to get the homeless off the streets. As a result, fewer homeless are coming to Ashman’s ministry. He fears that… Read the rest: homeless in Venice

Fiji’s rugby team celebrate gold with praise to Jesus

Some shed tears. Others dedicate their win to Mom. A few make political statement with clenched fists or whatnot.

Fiji’s seven-man rugby team broke into a song of worship when gold medals were hung around their necks at the Tokyo summer Olympics after they stunned New Zealand 27-12. It was their second, back-to-back gold, and for such a small nation in the South Pacfic, monumental. They sang:

We have overcome
We have overcome
By the blood of the Lamb
And the word of the Lord.

In a time of self-aggrandizing superstars and political propagandists, a showing of sheer joy and spontaneous rejoicing to God is refreshing. The words of their triumphal song come from Revelations 12:11 And they overcame the devil by blood of the Lamb and bthe word of their testimony.

Their victory is also a highlight to Fijians who are currently languishing under strict lockdown, being scourged by Covid.

“Last Olympics we gathered in numbers, tears flowed and bells were rung. Tonight in the middle of a pandemic and (with) Fiji under curfew, pots and pans ring, fireworks go off in yards and the cheers from every house can be heard,” tweeted Fiji Broadcasting Corporation presenter Jaquee Speight.

Due to Covid, Fiji players were called upon to practice 5 months in quarantine. That meant, they couldn’t go home and see their families, and some of the players barely stood the pressure of being away.

Captain Jerry Tuwai, who was part of the team that won five years ago, said his second gold was “more special because… Read the rest: Fiji rugby team praises Jesus at Olympics

Kuwaiti sought to proselytize Christians

Abu Ahmad, a Kuwaiti refugee in Jordan, felt compassion for the Christians who enrolled his son tuition-free in a private school when he was down on his luck.

“Honestly, it is not fair that these people go to Hell,” he told his wife. “They are kind, have good manners and like to help. I must go to them, tell them about Islam and make them Muslims who can go to Al Jannah.”

So Adel — as he is also called — began to share what he thought was the truth about Allah with a school official.

“I started vigorously discussing matters with them,” he remembers on a Strong Tower 27 video. He even thought things might deteriorate into a brawl. “I had my hands ready to box him.”

“Honestly, I saw you were properly dressed and thought you were well-educated, but it turns out you neither know nor understand anything,” he said to the school official.

“I thought he would become angry and hit me, so I had my fist ready to hit him before he did.”

Instead, the school official smiled. He treated Abu with respect and appreciation.

Abu was thrown off. “He was smiling and treated me well. Why? What’s the difference?” he marveled. “If someone talked to me like that, I would kill him.”

Abu Ahmad’s flight to Jordan began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Saddam Hussain quickly overwhelmed the small, oil-rich nation, but an international military coalition purged him from his Persian Gulf neighbor.

Abu and his family were in danger and sought to flee. The road to Saudi Arabia was closed, they heard. So they fled to Iraq, where they hunkered down in Al Basra for four years, not able to return to Kuwait because they were accused of being traitors.

“If they knew I was Kuwaiti and staying there, they would kill us all for sure,” Abu recalls.

Eventually, he found a guide who would smuggle him and his family into neighboring Jordan. He found employment distributing first tea, then gas. Eventually family relations from Kuwait sent him money, and he opened a small shop.

Before in Kuwait, Abu had been a millionaire. But now his fortunes were reduced to scrambling for money.

In the first month of being open, he was able to make rent, 200 dinar.

But in the second month, he scrounged only 150 JOD by the time the landlord came.

“Here’s 150,” Abu told him. “I will give you the other 50 tomorrow.”

“No man,” the landlord retorted. “I want all the rent now.”

Despairing, Abu beckoned people out in front of his shop to come in and buy.

“When people came towards me, they looked like they were coming to buy from me,” he remembers. “But when they approached, they would either go in the shop on the right or the left. It was as if there was a curtain blocking my shop.”

He sat down, frustrated, in front of his shop and tried to think of a solution.

Suddenly he felt a strange urge to look under his chair. To his surprise, he saw and picked up a small wooden cross. He could not imagine how it got there.

Then he remembered the nice people at the Christian school who had selflessly opened the doors to his son. He remembered how he had been disrespectful, and they returned love for ill will. He remembered the one church service he had attended, sitting at the back with his wife.

Then he did something unexpected, he prayed to the God of the Christians.

“Jesus Christ, if You really are God, as they say, then help me now,” he uttered heavenward. “If You help me, I will surrender my life to You.”

Immediately after he prayed, his Egyptian friend from the next shop threw down his broom and said, “Let’s go to my friend.”

“This is Abu Ahmad,” he told the friend when he opened the door. “He needs 50 dinar to pay the rent.”

The Egyptian man went in and brought out a $100 bill.

Abu was aghast. “You are Egyptian,” he objected. “You need to send the money to your family in Egypt. How can you trust me and give me the money when you need it more?”

“If you want to return it, return it,” the man replied. “If you don’t, don’t.”

Abu was both shaken and amazed. Jesus had answered his prayer, and he wasn’t ready to believe it.

“I wanted to prove that what happened was by chance,” he remembers. “I wanted an excuse proving that Christ did not answer. But it became obvious that Christ had answered the prayer.”

In response, he surrendered his life to Jesus and was born again.

Not long after this remarkable answer to prayer, Abu told his wife he was now a Christian.

“Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind?” Laila shrieked. “You went to try to change them, and they changed you.”

She divided their room with a blanket hung from the ceiling.

“You are no longer my husband. You are an infidel,” she said, outraged. “This is your space. “The other is for me and my children. Don’t come near us or interfere in our lives.”

And that is how they lived from then on.

Sometime later, a friend suggested he apply for refugee status through the United Nations. But in a twist of events, the U.N. official sent him to jail.

Abu cried out to God from his cell: “Lord, You said, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will comfort you.’ There is no heavier burden than the one I am carrying,

“You said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” he said. “Where are You? Why did You leave me alone?”

On the eighth day of praying in his jail cell… Read the rest: Abu Ahmad proselytized Christians, he himself became converted.

North Korean Yeonmi Park preferred sexual abuse to starvation

It didn’t even occur to Yeonmi Park to ask why there would be no fee to smuggle her and her mother across the North Korean border into China at night over the frozen Yalu River. Constant hunger smothered that question.

Quickly, she found out why, as the human traffickers immediately demanded sex from the 13-year-old girl, once in China. But her mother stepped in to save her.

“No, you cannot!” Mother shouted. “Take me instead.”

Their desperate escape from North Korea and their entrapment in China’s sex trafficking, followed by their harrowing journey to South Korea and eventual coming to faith, is chronicled in Yeonmi Park’s 2015 book In Order to Live.

Yeonmi’s predicament was devastating. As horrifying as rape was, it was preferrable to starvation, so she remained in China. “There was more food in the garbage can than I might see in a week in Heysan,” Yeonmi says. “I was very happy with my decision.”

Yeonmi Park grew up in Hyesan, North Korea and was taught to revere Great Leader Kim Jong Un. She never questioned the propaganda: North Korea was the most prosperous nation in the world. Kim Jong Un was practically immortal and supremely benevolent. It was the long-nosed Yankees and the Japanese who were evil imperialists destroying the world.

She whole-heartedly believed North Korea’s lies. They were drilled constantly in school and in block meetings in which citizens criticized themselves and others for not obeying the dictator sufficiently.

Never mind that across the river, the Chinese clearly had electricity at night and fireworks during New Year’s while the North Koreans lived in darkness and couldn’t enjoy holiday festivities. Yeonmi, like most North Koreans, never questioned the sincerity of the government or the veracity of their affirmations.

Years later when free, she found in George Orwell’s Animal Farm the term describing her mental state: doublethink. That is how she could watch pirated videos from South Korea and America and, seeing the luxury displayed, still not question Kim Jong Un’s description of reality.

And you could never utter the slightest hint of criticism of the government. You would be overheard and turned in to the state police. “Even the birds and mice can hear you whisper,” mother told her daughters.

“They need to control you through your emotions, making you a slave to the state by destroying your individuality and your ability to react to situations based on your own experience of the world,” Yeonmi writes.

She calls this an “emotional dictatorship.”

All things considered, Yeonmi had it pretty good. Her dad was a smuggler and stole items of value, bribing officials all along the way, to re-sell in the black market.

Then dad got caught, and the family descended into shame and extreme poverty. Mom left Yeonmi and her sister, Eunmi, alone for months at a time while she did her own black-market business to scrounge money for her girls. Dad was condemned to intensive labor in a prison camp that starved inmates so that they died.

“My only adult ambition was to buy as much bread as I liked and eat all of it,” Yeonmi writes. “When you are always hungry, all you think about is food.”

Yeonmi’s older sister eventually found a “broker,” who could smuggle her into China. Yeonmi and her mother followed soon after.

“We never thought to ask why these women were helping us, and why we didn’t have to pay them anything,” Yeonmi says. “We didn’t think that something might be wrong.”

The reason why there were no fees to get spirited across the border is because the smugglers were also sex traffickers. Women were usually sold as slave brides for $2,000, supplying the vacuum of women caused by China’s one-child policy combined with the preference for boys.

Sometimes, they were sold into prostitution.

With resourcefulness, Yeonmi and her mother escaped worse treatment. She couldn’t turn herself in to Chinese authorities; they would only deport her back to the prison camps of North Korea where one might starve to death.

So Yeonmi learned Chinese and fought off her would-be rapists by biting, kicking and screaming. She negotiated with her pimp to be his mistress in return for favors: she bought her mom back from being a “slave bride.”

“I realized that there was a force inside me that would not give up,” she says.

In 1984, China was cracking down on foreigners on its soil in preparation for the Summer Olympics. So, the sex trafficking business dried up. Yeonmi’s pimp let her be taken by a mafia gangster with a harem. It seems that the sex traffickers were particularly pleased to keep her for themselves because of her young age.

Initially, Yeonmi fought the mafia man off when he tried to have his way with her.

“This man had ice in his veins, like a reptile,” she says. I had never met anyone so terrifying. I didn’t escape from North Korea to be this man’s slave, a trophy like something in his jewel collection.” Read the rest: Yeonmi Park on starvation in North Korea vs. sex trafficking in China.

The emerging new way to pay for outreach and church growth: Church Economics 101

When Mark DeYmaz took over a Kmart to open his thriving church of 500, he helped his budget by opening a for-profit coffee shop and renting space to a gym next door.

In an age of declining tithing, DeYmaz proposes churches get smart, abandon obsolete models and incorporate business savvy, not to get rich from the kingdom, but to multiply outreach.

“The more people joined our church — the homeless, the immigrant, the undocumented, the poor — it cost us money, DeYmaz says on a Vice News video. “We realized that if we were going to have effective ministry, we were going to have to have multiple streams of income.”

But don’t accuse him of upending the way church is done. Tithes and offerings were just one business model. DeYmaz is not condoning stingy Christians. He’s simply using his brain and God-given resources to maximize impact, he says.

His church, Mosaic, belongs to the new burst of millennial churches that project a certain image with their relaxed dress codes, untraditional interior decorating, and hipster pastors. They’re rethinking church to be relevant for the next generation.

Pew Research charts a declining number of Americans who call themselves Christians – 65% — 12% lower than a decade ago.

“Religion is less central to American life,” says Rebecca Glazier, professor of public affairs at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. “People are just not identifying with formal religious institutions and finding spiritual fulfillment through them the way that they used to in generations past.”

Glazier sees a trend of churches using excess space to help… Read the rest: Mark DeYmaz Church Economics

Freedom from Freemasons: Paul Knights

Paul Knights waited until the lodge was full to officially quit in an electrifying confrontation: “I denounced Freemasonry as a satanic and demonic society,” he said.

“There was a hole in me that I couldn’t fill. I used to go horse-riding, bike-riding, walking, dancing, martial arts, I used to go diving, snow-skiing, water-skiing — anything just trying to fill this hole in me,” he says on a 44-minute John R. Lilley video. “And I couldn’t do it. I was on this mission to spend every moment of the day doing something. I was still grieving for my father.”

Paul spent 14 years in the Freemasons. He joined mostly to help his tree surgery business in England, but the secret society was a part of his search for meaning and healing after he lost his dad and his wife.

His father died when Paul was only 11. “I encased in a concrete case and put the pain inside of me so far down,”

Becoming a Freemason did in fact bring a boon in his tree business; it grew by one-third, he says. “I wasn’t really interested in the secret ceremonies but in the meal after and the social aspect,” he says.

Freemasonry traces its origins to a builders guild from 13th century Europe. It features secret rituals to advance within the organization, scaling up by levels and degrees. The rituals include oral pledges and secret symbols that Paul found out later were the same used by witches and warlocks.

In one of the first rituals, the inductee is instructed to say and memorize what Freemasonry is: “A peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols,” he says.

Today, Paul Knights is a pastor.

“I didn’t really understand what I was saying,” Paul recounts. “‘Peculiar’ means it’s a warped morality. Every symbol that is in Freemasonry are the same symbols as is in the covenants that the witches and the warlocks take to assume their obligations and promises into their different degrees, different levels. I didn’t know that.”

Around the same time, he dated a girl for eight months and married her, without realizing she had a double personality. She had suffered from anorexia. She left him and returned to him, but their relationship had the stability of jello.

After six months, “I couldn’t handle it anymore,” he says. The loss of his wife became a second pain after the loss of his father.

“Inside there was this pain. I’d given my life to this girl, so my life was pulled apart,” he says. “I liken it to two bottles of acid, one from my father dying and one from my wife living. Suddenly they were poured together and I couldn’t cope.”

That’s when he remembered the God of his childhood. He had attended High Anglican Church, sang in the choir, learned to pray, but was bored out of his mind by Sunday school. The “frocks and frills” did not impress him.

But when he fell upon agony, he remembered to pray.

“I don’t know if You’re there. You may be a God that is over the hill and far away,” he prayed. “I’m such a sinner. I haven’t spoken to You for years. But I need help. I’m desperate.”

He didn’t know what else to say.

Two days later, after taking down a tree for an older woman, she pointed a finger at him and declared: “The Lord has been speaking to me. You’ve been praying. I’d like to help you today.”

He denied having prayed, but she stuck to her guns.

“God doesn’t lie to me,” she told him. “You’ve been praying, and I’d like to help you.” Read the rest: Freedom from Freemasons: Paul Knights.

Josh McDowell’s son had doubts about Christianity

Doubt plagued Sean McDowell, son of famous doubts-slayer Josh McDowell, when he stumbled across an atheist website that refuted his Dad’s book Evidence that Demands a Verdict point by point.

“Honestly growing up, I probably kind of thought someone wasn’t a Christian because they just hadn’t read Evidence Demands a Verdict or More Than a Carpenter,” says Sean on a 100 Huntley Street video.

The books have been decisive in establishing the faith of many people based on hard evidence to corroborate the Bible. But here was a well-reasoned attempt to erode confidence, Sean said.

“All of a sudden, I’m reading some really smart people — some doctors, some lawyers, philosophers, historians — going chapter by chapter, pushing back very thoughtfully on the arguments that my father had made,” Sean relates.

It shook him to his core.

So Sean, 19 and in college, sat down with his dad for coffee and came clean.

“I want to be honest with you,” he told Dad. “I’m not sure that I’m convinced Christianity is true.”

Sean wasn’t sure how did would react. Josh has famously written 150 books and given 27,000 lectures on college campuses to stir university kids to faith and show them what their atheist professors don’t want them to know.

Would his dad lose his temper, kick him out of the family and disown him?

Actually, Josh did none of that. Josh McDowell became a Christian master of apologetics when he as young man decided to study to disprove Christianity, which he thought was an annoying idea that needed to be dethroned in American. Read the rest: Sean McDowell doubted the Christianity of his father Josh McDowell

Helen Roseveare, raped Congo missionary, explains how to overcome trauma

“Why, God?” Helen Roseveare asked after being brutally beaten and raped by Congo rebels for five months while she served as a missionary doctor in 1964.

Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience even if i never tell you why? was the answer she received.

It was a strange answer. But also, God gave her a striking revelation about surviving a dungeon of torture.

“It’s external! You’re sinned against. It’s not your sin. It can’t touch your spirit,” she explained on a 100 Huntley Street video. “It’s only your body. But it can’t get into my mind or soul.”

Helen has used her captivity to encourage others who feel powerless to defend themselves against unimaginable acts of evil.

Helen Roseveare became one of the first females to graduate as a medical doctor from Newnham College, Cambridge in 1945. She became a Christian because of the testimony of some of the girls in her school and almost immediately set off to the mission field in the “Heart of Darkness.”

She tended to patients, built hospitals and trained Africans in medical science indefatigably. While serving the population she was taken captive in the Congo during the tumultuous 1960s along with other foreigners. As was always the case, she turned into the leader, even in captivity.

“When the awful moments came in the rebellion you almost felt, no, this has gone too far. I can’t accept it. It seemed that the price was too high to pay,” she says. “And then God seemed to say, Change the question from ‘Is it worth it?’ to ‘Is He worthy?’”

During her captivity, she was called upon to help 80 Greek Cypriots, workers abducted by the rebels. One lady was in pain, seven months pregnant, so Mama Luca — as she was known — was called upon to attend to her.

With rebel guards on either side of her, she stepped among the cowering Cypriots until she found the needy lady. She didn’t speak Greek, so she went through the languages she knew one by one to ask if she was hurt: English, French, Swahili, Lingala.

Finally, she found someone who could translate into Greek and eventually led not only the lady but the whole prison hall of captives in a sinner’s prayer. As the only area doctor, she had attended to the Cypriots for years but had made no headway in evangelizing them.

But suffering brought a new openness to the Gospel.

“When I eventually left the house, they’re all looking up and smiling and they want to shake my hands,” she remembers. “It was wonderful. God, you are marvelous.”

As was their custom, the rebels subjected Mama Luca to a mock trial. The people in the area were orchestrated to participate in the judgement of “colonial, imperial crimes” committed by foreigners. Under the threat to the rebels’ guns, the locals had to join their voice in a chorus of condemnation, calling for the death sentence.

Responding to the beating of the drums, 800 locals came to her trial. You didn’t dare ignore the calls of the rebels because only they had guns. At a certain signal, they all shouted, as was the custom in these roughshod trials: “She’s a liar! She’s a liar!”

Then they would shout “Mateco! Mateco!” which meant “Crucify her! Crucify her!”

“You knew you would die. You didn’t know how,” Mama Luca recalls. “There came the moment in the trial scene when they must have been given the sign. Suddenly these 800 men suddenly, instead of seeing me as the hated white foreigner, they saw me as their doctor and they rushed forward.

“They pushed the rebel soldiers out of the way and they took me in their arms. In that wonderful moment the black-white barrier had gone and they said, “She’s ours.” They used a word in Kibbutu, which really meant, “She’s blood of our blood and bone of our bone.” The rift between dark skin and pale skin was driven away and we were reunited as one.”

“God used so many things that He’s working out his own wonderful purposes,” she says. “Many, many came to the Lord through those days of suffering. The walls of division were broken down, and the kingdom was expanded.”

Helen had refused to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs assigned by her missionary field director. “I said if God ever asks me to be burned at the stake, I’ll say yes, but I won’t be singing,” she remembers. “I just couldn’t take it all.”

But then she and her missionary cohorts were indeed taken out to be executed by firing squad. Contrary to what she had anticipated, she found herself singing. Read the rest: Helen Roseveare explains how to get past the hurt of rape

Black female commercial pilot and Christian

In the world of flying, there aren’t too many female commercial pilots. Even fewer are black female pilots.

According to Nigerian-born Miracle Izuchukwu, only one percent of pilots are female and black, so when she became a commercial pilot candidate, she celebrated by thanking God.

“Whoever it is praying for me, don’t stop, it’s working,” she wrote on social media. “I joined the elite group of 7% of females and 1% of black female pilots in the world. It’s exhilarating yet surreal feeling to introduce myself to the world as a pilot.”

Miracle is now 23. When she grew up, she wasn’t encouraged by her dad to dream big. When she talked to him about soaring the skies, he responded coldly: “If I get on a plane and see a woman as the pilot, I would get off the plane.”

By contrast, Miracle tells girls to not limit their dreams.

“What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender?” she wrote. “If it’s truly something you want to do, you need to create it for yourself.

“In a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to… Read the rest: Black female Christian pilot Miracle Izuchukwu

Nightmarish Christmas turned around

On the plate where little Greg Colon had left cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve were empty syringes on Christmas morning, evidence that his dad had abused drugs — again.

The embittering experience of substance abusing, absentee parents pushed Greg into copying the cool, law-breaking kids in his New York neighborhood. When he dropped out of high school, he opened a barber shop as a front for trafficking drugs.

“I loved the way I was living, I loved what it could do for me. I loved how it made me feel,” Greg says on a CBN video. “It was all about me. It was about money; it was about greed and it was about self-indulgence.”

Greg Colon’s dad, a stone-hearted drug addict, was rarely home. His mom died of alcoholism.

At age 9, Greg moved in with his grandparents, who offered him precious little in terms of material things but gave him and his brother love. But the lack of acceptance from his parents’ neglect left him with a hole in his heart that he tried to fill with worldly possessions.

“What attracted me were the more violent kids, kids who always had the nice sneakers, the nice clothes,” he confesses.

When his grandfather died, Greg, at age 12, lost his own compass in life.

“He was somebody who really got me as a kid and actually cared for me,” Greg remembers. “Then he was gone. I was just empty inside.”

With no positive role models in his life, Greg fell into running the streets and selling drugs. At age 15, he dropped out of high school.

The one bright spot was when he was 15 and his dad, who tried to reform, gave him a professional barber’s clippers. Cutting hair was something Greg enjoyed.

“In my heart it meant the world,” Greg says. “It was like a real good pair like a professional pair of clippers.”

It certainly helped improve their relationship, but it didn’t undo a lifetime of neglect. Read the rest: Christmas nightmare turned around.

A father’s ‘curse of inheritance’ casts a long shadow over son, who only broke free through Jesus

As so often happens, Jason Rangel became the father he hated.

As a child, he once even called the cops on his drug-addicted, violent father.

“I seen my dad not in his right mind. I was scared,” he remembers on a 700 Club video. “My dad was in jail when I was going through puberty. I remember not having him there when I needed him.”

Jason’s aunt took him to church. He found stability, hope and sanity there. He even talked to God. But the demons of his childhood traumas pulled him away from God. In his 20s, he found self-value and meaning by pursuing girls.

“I really became sexual with females. I really just couldn’t get enough. I was having sex with my first girlfriend, and it progressed from there to the next girlfriend and the next girlfriend.”

After he got married, he continued having affairs and fathered two children. But because he was unfaithful to the mother of his children, she took the kids and left him, heading for California. He also was in and out of jail.

Back with his kids after getting right with Jesus.

“It was just a real tumultuous relationship. I was always unfaithful to her,” Jason says. “I just didn’t care about my children. I wasn’t a good father. I was caught up with the world, caught up with these guys that I was hanging out with.”

After he lost his kids, Jason got turned on to drugs by a coworker. “The loss of my kids affected me negatively,” he says. “I was struggling to cope. I was out of control.”

By now, he was married to another woman, which whom he had two addition children.

“I thought I was entitled to drinking and drugs and being unfaithful,” Jason says. “It was a chain reaction that got worse and worse through the years. When my kids were 9 or 10 years old, I remember them coming home, and I’d be high at the house.”

That’s when he… Read the rest: Father’s curse of inheritance

Les Brown, Christian motivational speaker, on his struggles through life

Les Brown swore he would kill the man who arrested his mother, a single woman who turned to making moonshine to feed her seven adopted kids because she became disabled at work.

When did he meet the man? By chance, RIGHT AFTER he told his son to never act out of anger.

“She was injured on the job, so she promised our birth mother that these children will never go to bed hungry. We will always have a roof over our head and clothes on,” Les recalls on an Ed Mylett video.

“I was 10 years old, and he grabbed me by the throat and hit me on the side of the head and threw me up against the wall. He said she’s back there in the room and they went back there and mama was selling homebrew and moonshine and they he said, ‘Pull up the linoleum,’ and they pull up the linoleum and she kept it under the floor of the house and they brought Mom out in handcuffs.”

While “Mama” Mamie Brown was in jail, little Les took to the streets to make money for the family. He collected copper and aluminum for recycling and helped older men carry heavy equipment.

Years later when Les Brown was running a high-paying radio show in Miami, a man tapped him on the shoulder to congratulate him. It was Calhoun, the same man who orchestrated his mom’s arrest. Calhoun didn’t recognize Les, but Les would never forget the face.

Les had just told his adult son, John Leslie, to never act out of anger. “Anger is a wind that blows out the lamp of the mind,” he said. They were at a public event.

When Les turned around to see who was tapping his shoulder, he froze. He started crying. He hid his face and rushed out of the room, got in his car with his son and drove off. He pulled over to the side of the road.

“Is everything okay?’ his son asked, bewildered.

“No,” he responded.

But as he composed himself and collected his thoughts, he marveled at God’s timing and God’s way of doing things. The timing was just too coincidental to not be a miracle.

“I got that hatred out of my heart for him because you were here,” Les told his son. “I promised if I ever saw him again, I would kill him. I have to model what I’m teaching. Forgiveness is remembering without anger. I forgive him, but most of all, I forgive myself. Please forgive me, God, for carrying this anger and hatred.”

Adversity has made Leslie Calvin “Les” Brown, 75, motivational speaker of the Fortune 500, grow better, not bitter.

He was born in the Deep South, in Florida, during the time of segregation. His mother couldn’t care for him and gave him and his twin up for adoption. Mamie, who had only a 3rd grade education, took him in and six other kids.

One day when he was five, Les let go of his mother’s hand and ran to a water fountain where some kids were playing. It was 90 degrees and he was thirsty.

“My mother grabbed me by the neck, and she threw me down on the ground. She started punching me with her fists in my face and on my head,” Les recalls. “I was screaming. She had a crazy look in her eyes. I said, ‘Mama, it’s me. It’s me, Mama.”

Meanwhile a white cop swaggered over, smacking menacingly his baton into the palm of his hand

“Okay, that’s enough,” he barked. “You beat that little n—– boy enough. Now he’s learned his lesson. He won’t do that again.” Read the rest: Les Brown Christian

Asperger’s son went prodigal

When Graham Cottone was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 10, it was a tremendous relief. Before that, his parents didn’t know what was wrong and they blamed themselves. He was constantly punished, made fun of, and friendless.

“He was hard. He was very, very hard to love,” Lore Cotton, his mother, says on a 700 Club Interactive video. “You love your children. They’re your children. We disciplined out of anger on several occasions. It was scary to think, ‘What are we doing? We’re spanking all the time.”

Graham’s behavior worsened beginning at age 12.

“It just was so overwhelming. I remember just going in my bedroom and being so exasperated,” Lore says. “I just fell down on my bed and just began sobbing.”

Out of her prayer that day, God impressed on her heart: Graham is going to get it.

Despite what Lore felt God impart, she didn’t see any encouraging signs. To the contrary, Graham went downhill fast.

At 13, he began using marijuana. He began cutting himself to relieve anxiety. He started fires in the house. He got into a physical fight with his dad, Lore recounts.

“He ran out and got a rock and he threw it and he hit me in the head,” says Michael Cottone, the father. They called 911, and the police intervened. Graham was arrested and jailed and placed under a restraining order to stay away from home.

“We know you’re going to let him come back,” the cops told the parents at the time. “But we’re not.”

Not long after, Graham experienced some sort of emotional breakdown and broken into a house in Texas.

He grew up in jail and mental hospitals.

“I wanted Graham to have peace and have joy,” Lore says.

Graham moved to Colorado, then hitchhiked to Oregon.

“We were actually on a vacation in Mexico,” Lore says. “Graham called us just half crazed, he was crying and screaming and mad because he had run out of all of his medications and he was at a hospital and they wouldn’t give him any more medications.”

Lore offered to wire him some money but said she couldn’t do much else.

“He got upset. He hung up on me,” Lore remembers. “Right before he hung up on me, he said, ‘I’m, going to hurt somebody.’”

Graham wouldn’t answer his phone and soon lost his phone. There was no way to get ahold of him.

“It felt really bad. It felt like the end,” she says. “All we could do was pray. I just told God, ‘He is yours. He’s always been yours. I want so badly to go rescue him, but I know you brought me here. You took me out of the way. I need to trust and let You do your thing.’”

After the vacation, Lore got a call from her son in Sacramento, California. He had hopped a freight train down from Portland with a group of vagabonds.

“I lost everything,” he said. “I knew I didn’t know anybody for thousands of miles, but I need God.”

“I had this vision of Hell,” Graham says. “It wasn’t a place where people were eternally tortured. It was this place where people just chose to do things their own way.” Read the rest: Asperger’s son went prodigal

When Morolake Akinosun Christian track star ruptured her Achilles

The end of her running — the end of her very identity — came when Olympian Morolake Akinosun hit a wall at the end of a race in 2018 and ruptured her Achilles tendon.

“The Achilles is the strongest tendon in the human body, and you need it to do literally everything: walk, jump, crawl, climb stairs, stand up, sit down,” Morolake says on an I am Second video. “I had it surgically repaired but I was being told, ‘Hey, you might never be the same runner that you were ever again. This may be a career-ending injury for you.’”

What rescued Morolake was her spiritual community.

“For the first time I realized that I was surrounded by people who believed in me and not only did they believe in me, they believed that God had a plan for my life and that He was still going to be faithful through it all,” she says.

Morolake Akinosun was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to parents who were Christian pastors. The family immigrated to America when she was two years old, and she flourished at track and field at the University of Texas at Austin, where she won consistently.

“Every training cycle is about figuring out how can I break my body,” she says. “We push ourselves to the limit, breaking your body apart and coming back the next day and doing it over and over again.”

In prelims for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, her teammates dropped the baton in between the 2nd and 3rd leg of the relay race. Morolake, who stood waiting at the 4th spot, was stunned.

“In that moment I had that thought of like, ‘Wow, I’ve trained what feels like your whole life for a moment that now seemed to be gone and stripped from me within the blink of an eye,’” she remembers.

As it turns out, the American women’s team was allowed to re-run the qualifying race. In the final competition, they took gold.

But everything she trained for her entire life was stripped away when she crashed into the wall on that fateful day in 2018.

Angry thoughts ran through her mind toward God: I thought this is what I was supposed to be doing and if this is what I’m supposed to be doing then why did You take it away from me? she questioned. My identity was built in track and field. Read the rest: Morolake Akinosun Christian track star ruptured her Achilles

First drinking, then heroin, Josh Torbich found identity in substance abuse

Josh Torbich drank in an attempt to mask his insecurities.

“That inferiority complex seemed to slip away. I started to feel confident,” Josh says on a 700 Club video. “I set myself up to see the drink as the solution to fix the way that I felt, because it happened. Man, it was like the most immediate and effective solution that I ever had seen to fix that feeling that I had.”

As a young person growing up in Brunswick, Georgia, excess weight made him self-conscious. When friends introduced him to alcohol at age 13, the euphoria blanked out his feelings of inadequacy and a poor self-image.

“My life circled around, ‘where’s the party at?’” he says. “I started to become the go-to guy for alcohol and I felt like that was somebody that everyone was attracted to, that could quickly move in and out of popularity circles.”.

Because he was big, he could buy alcohol with a fake ID.

But he was living a double life. His parents were Christians who took him to church.

In his junior year of high school, the liquor wasn’t enough. He turned to painkillers, and their potency gave him an additional boost of self-confidence.

Of course, the gateway substance led to even more: during his senior year, he was a full-blown heroin addict.

“The first time that I shot up heroin and the rush came over me, it was like going back to when I was 13 years old,” Josh says. “It was new, it was exciting, and it was something that once again made me feel great.”

After high school, his friends went to jobs and college. Josh stayed at home with Mom and Dad and abused drugs. Read the rest: is there any hope for a drug addict?

Hinduism couldn’t, but Romans could help Satabdi Banerjee

Because she was sickly, little Satabdi Banerjee was consecrated to Kali, the revered Hindu goddess who would bring healing.

But when Satabdi got older, she read the Bible to appease her conscience. All was going well until she hit the Book or Romans, which shattered her view that all religions lead to the same godhead.

“If you read the book of Romans with an open heart, you will see God talking to you,” Satabdi says on her own YouTube channel. “I used to look down on Christian missionaries because I thought they do not understand one very simple concept: All the rivers are ending up in the ocean.”

Satabdi Banerjee was born to a Bengali Brahmin family and took pride from her high caste birth and her family’s devotion to the Ramakrishna brand of Hinduism, the belief that no matter what the religion, they all provide salvation.

Her family members prayed hours every day in a dedicated prayer room at their house. They had lots of Hindu idols, decorated them for holidays and invited relatives over for special meals on those holidays.

They also celebrated Christmas — with gifts in the name of Santa Claus and a birthday cake for Jesus, whom they took to be one of many valuable gurus.

“We used to celebrate everything — Christmas, the birth of Buddha. But at the same time, we thought it was all the same thing,” she says. “We celebrated everything. We used to do carols and cut cake for Jesus.”

Satabdi had a strong desire to please the deity.

“We were so dedicated. I was so dedicated,” she says. “I just had one goal. I wanted to please the gods so that I could meet the gods and be with the gods. I thought I was very close to the gods.”

But she was also painfully aware of the sin in her heart.

“There was this other side of me. I had committed so much sin. Nobody knew my inner heart.”

Satabdi was an avid reader through her childhood. But she refused to read the children’s illustrated Bible because it was Christian, and her mother, who had purchased it at a high price, complained that it alone sat neglected on the bookshelf.

“I did not care about what Christians thought,” Satabdi says.

But the in 11th grade, she met a Catholic girl and flipped through the Bible just to be friendly and to report to her friend that she had read it. There was one problem though: she knew she hadn’t read it. She lied. Read the rest: Satabdi Banerjee couldn’t be helped by Hindusim.

Author of ‘Shout to the Lord,’ fought cancer

Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech had spent her life lifting spirits, but when breast cancer struck in 2013, she needed her own spirit lifted.

“What I found in my ‘valley of the shadow of death’ is the presence of God,” she says on a CBN video. “I realized you can only have shadow if there is light. It’s just a fact that God doesn’t leave us.”

Famous for her 1993 song “Shout to the Lord,” Darlene led worship at Hillsong Church from 1996 to 2007, after which she and her husband founded Hope Unlimited Church in 2011 in New South Wales Australia.

Amazingly, it is estimated that “Shout to the Lord” gets sung by 30 million church-goers every Sunday.

A television star from childhood, Darlene developed insecurities after her parents divorced when she was 13. As a result, she fell into bulimia for about four years.

“It took a long time for that (the wounds from the divorce) to heal,” Darlene says on SWCS Australia. “But now, I have got a real compassion for kids in that situation. It is now the rule, not the exception. Our next generation is definitely going to need answers. Divorce can definitely leave scars.”

When her dad returned to church, he took Darlene, who at 15 accepted Christ. She met and married Mark, and the couple worked as youth pastors in Brisbane. Mark felt called to Sydney, while Darlene didn’t want to go because she had just rekindled her relationship with her mom. Read the rest: Darlene Zschech cancer battle

Polycystic ovarian syndrome kept her from getting pregnant

Polycystic ovarian syndrome stopped Renelle Roberts from have a baby… for a while

Polycystic ovarian syndrome kept Renelle Roberts from her dream of becoming a mother and having babies.

“We tried fertility treatments. That didn’t work,” she says on a CBN video. “We tried adoption. That didn’t work. We tried foster care. That didn’t work.

“What’s going on?” she questioned. “There were days that I couldn’t even go to work because I was in bed just crying: Why can’t I have a child? What is wrong with me? Please help me. Please cure me.”

When Renelle hit the milestone of 30 years of age, she had plenty to ponder. On the one hand, her patience was growing thin with the wait. On the other, she recognized that possibly she was making having children into an idol.

“I told the Lord, ‘I want 30 to be my best year,’” she remembers. “I really had to submit though, whether I had children or not, because it had become an idol. Children are wonderful; they are a blessing. But for me it had become an obsession. That can get unbalanced.”

Renelle fasted and pledged to fast for as long as it took. Meanwhile, she got into some Bible studies that emphasized faith and believing.

In January, she turned 30. In March, she found out she was pregnant. Read the rest: polycystic ovarian syndrome

God diet: She dropped 100 pounds

Jackie Halgash lost 100 pounds when she got her comfort from prayer instead of eating.

“I used food for comfort all the time. I used food for when I was happy and when I was sad. I think pretty much any time I felt like eating,” she says on a CBN video. “I got to a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. I would get up in the morning and before I opened my eyes, my first thought was: what did I do last night? What did I eat? Oh, no! didn’t mean to! I meant to not eat after dinner!”

As a nurse, she knew how obesity jeopardizes health, but the feelings driving compulsive eating overpowered her mental understanding of health. She made rules for herself but always broke them.

Then she found a Christian weight loss program that brought the Lord into her eating.

“It’s a spiritual growth program and that’s the key,” she says. “It gave me the tools that I needed in my faith to be able to stop eating and bring the Lord into my eating.”

As she depended on the Lord, she ate only to being satisfied, not full. When she felt tempted, she called out to the Lord and dedicated that moment as a fast unto the Lord.

“The weight dropped off,” she says.

She dedicated it to the Lord: “Thank You, take this. This is a fast. Take this and I honor You because this is what You’re asking me to do.” Read the rest: God diet to drop 100 pounds

IED burned off his ears, the tip of his nose and 35% of his skin

To make kids laugh and to avoid making them nervous because of his disfigurement, Shilo Harris wears “elf ears” like Spock from Star Trek.

The prosthetic ears attach magnetically. He lost his ears — and the skin on 35% of his body — in Feb. 19, 2007 when, as a soldier, his Humvee was hit by an IED on patrol on a stretch of Southern Bagdad road so dangerous it was called “Metallica.”

The IED killed three other soldiers, wounded a fourth and sent Shilo into a 48-day coma. When he awoke from the coma, he endured years of surgery and rehab. The whole experience and the murky, painful time he spent in a coma, Shilo calls “hell.”

“It was the most scariest, most dark, creepiest thing,” Shilo says on a 100Huntley video. “Everything was sharp and painful. The helpless feeling. It had to have been Hell. That’s the way I interpreted it.”

Today, Shilo Harris is a Christian man who has drawn close to God because of his experiences. He’s written a book, Steel Will: My Journey through Hell to Become the Man I was Meant to be. He’s a motivational speaker in schools.

Shilo grew up in Coleman, Texas, working at a bait and tackle shop run by his dad, a Vietnam veteran who suffered from untreated PTSD.

When Shilo saw the Twin Towers fall in New York City, he felt the need to serve his country to fight the terrorists who had decimated civilians with no prior declaration of war. He found himself in the U.S. Calvary during the Iraq War.

The fateful explosion engulfed the Humvee with flames. He managed to escape the vehicle. His body armor, made of nylon and plastic, melted onto his body. His ammo pouch was on fire. He rolled on the ground to snuff the flames. How did his own ammo not erupt and perforate him with rounds?

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Shilo Harris is fitted for prosthetic ears at MacKowan Dental Clinic, Lackland Air Force Base, Oct. 5, 2010. A wax model of the ear is first molded to ensure proper placement and fit before applying the prosthetic. The Maxillofacial Prosthetics Department at MacKown Dental Clinic employs a team that deals with the rehabilitation of patients with acquired and congenital defects of the head and neck region. They are one of only a few in the Department of Defense that creates prosthetic body parts, such as eyes, ears and noses. (U.S. Air Force photo /Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett)

“I guess you could say I was pretty fortunate on a couple of accounts that day,” he told NPR.

He woke up from a medically-induced 48-day coma. In addition to his ears, he lost three fingers and the tip of his nose. He had a fractured collarbone and vertebrae. Read the rest: Shilo Harris on beating suicide

Jim Wahlberg broke out of drugs and crime to Jesus

Jim Wahlberg was the consummate hustler. In prison for hustling, he hustled the prison system — leading a 12-step program under the pretense of being reformed — just to earn an early release for good behavior.

“I was always a hustler, was always manipulative, just to get what I wanted, and I did whatever I had to get it,” Jim observes on a CBN video.

The older brother to Mark Wahlberg actually had no intention of changing his substance-abusing, robbery-financed lifestyle once he was out.

But then the hustler got hustled — by the prison priest.

The priest took an interest in him and tried to strike up conversations. Since Jim was doing janitorial work to earn brownie points with the correction officers, the priest asked him to clean the chapel after attending mass.

The trick worked. Jim began to read his Bible. When Mother Theresa came one day in 1988, he felt God.

“You’re more than the crimes that you’ve committed to be here,” she told the prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord. You’re more than your prison ID number. You are a child of God.’”

The fifth of nine kids born to a delivery driver dad and a bank clerk mom, Jim was shaped by the mean streets of Boston’s Irish working-class neighborhood of Dorchester. When he realized that middle class kids had more things than he did, he began stealing to even the score.

“I started taking things that didn’t belong to me, so that I could try to live up to the way they got to live,” he says.

His first arrest came at age 10. After release, he did the same things.

“I start drinking alcohol under the pretense of ‘I’m celebrating,’ right? But I wasn’t celebrating. I was medicating myself,” says Jim. “I would drink to try to get rid of the shame and those feelings of self-loathing. It’s all rooted in fear. Fear of what you think of me. Fear of not being good enough. I was trying to soothe that fear, that uncomfortability.”

One day, he woke up in a jail cell lying in his own blood. What was his luck? The house he had broken into belong to a police officer. For home invasion, he could get life in prison, but the cop advocated leniency at the hearing, and 17-year-old Jim got only six to nine years.

“I felt completely defeated and broken and I felt resigned to the fact that this was the way my life was gonna be forever,” says Jim.

That’s when he launched into the good behavior ruse to get an early release.

“It was part of that hustle. Just trying to create the illusion that I was getting better in prison,” says Jim. “And always thinking when I get out, I’ll use it again.”

The guile was so good that he even got to leading 12 step programs for prisoners trying to recover from substance abuse.

Then the priest moved in and showed genuine love and concern for Jim. He attended mass only to placate the priest who urged him to clean up the chapel afterwards (since Jim was doing janitorial work anyhow).

Jim had no idea who Mother Theresa was, so when the priest announced her coming visit, it didn’t mean a thing to Jim.

Nevertheless, the titan of charity in a small frame made an impact on Jim, who for the first time actually felt God.

“I felt the presence of God in my heart,” he remembers.

He felt prompted to pray: “God, help me to be the person that you want me to be. I can’t continue to be this person. Help me to be free of this life.”

But his fleeting experience didn’t completely transform him. When he was released, he maintained a semblance of respectability and reform but didn’t attend church. He married and worked as executive director to his brother Mark’s youth foundation.

“When you feel His presence and you walk away from it, there’s guilt, there’s shame, but there’s also sort of a sense that it’ll never happen for you again,” says Jim. Read the rest: Jim Wahlberg Christianity.