Lorena Saylor would get in her car and wind up at some random place, having no idea how she got there.
Depression had taken over her life.
“I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want to get dressed. I just basically wanted to be alone,” Lorena says on a CBN video. “There was times I wanted to commit suicide.”
Lorena’s problems started with sexual abuse in her childhood home in Kentucky. Although she was the victim, she was punished. “I was the one that got spanked for it,” she says.
Migraines set in at the same time. She couldn’t concentrate in school and was diagnosed with dyslexia. She also suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem.
Lorena married at age 25, but her problems persisted. Her husband was enlisted in the Air Force and would frequently be sent for lengthy deployments, leaving her and the two children alone for long periods of time.
“This voice would say, ‘Ram your car into this tree. Your family would be so much better off if you’re just gone.’”
She was raised in church, but “the back-stabbing of people talking about people, just the things I had heard and seen within the church, I didn’t want anything to do with it,” she says.
At age 33, Lorena suffered a back and hip injury at work. Unfortunately, her prescription pain medication turned into an addiction. “My body just craved more and more,” she says. “I become a functioning addict.”
She felt unloved. She wanted to be alone but despaired of the loneliness. Whenever she drove, she got lost in her thoughts and direction. The voices would tell her to commit suicide.
“I wanted to die,” she says. “Many times I put pills in my hands ready to take them. This voice would say, ‘Just take it. Your family would be so much better off.’”
The day after being exposed to pornography and being molested, 3-year-old Anne Paulk started dressing like a Tomboy.
“I was no longer interested in dolls,” she says on a CBN video. “It was everything to do with throwing off the feminine because it was unsafe.”
Anne was raised in a Christian home, but the seeds for lesbianism had been planted right there.
“I felt responsible for what an older person did to me,” she says. “I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt unsafe.”
When she was six, a little girl “made a pass at” her and kissed her.
“What I realized right then is I felt like I had power as opposed to being powerless in the other circumstance,” she says. “And that ignited a lesbian desire later on in life. That was really the starting point of that turning of my feelings.”
Up until college, she pretty much suppressed the lesbian inclination. But when she entered the university, a libertine environment and substance abuse created the perfect cocktail to carry out her curiosities and cloud her confusion even more.
“I found myself quickly getting involved in alcohol and drugs on campus. They were everywhere. And that also gave me room to explore my sexual desires.”
She sought counseling, but her advisor told her “the Bible and homosexuality go just fine together.”
Nevertheless, “I just sensed that there was something off about that,” she admits.
Even though she had been raised in a Christian home, Anne had only heard about God; she had never known Him personally.
She began attending gay support groups and hoped to find a partner to marry and live happily ever after.
The Holy Spirit had other things in mind. One day right in the middle of the gay support meeting, he spoke to her heart: The love that you’re seeking, you’re not going to find here.
“It felt like a ray of light from heaven hit me right in the middle of this gay meeting,” says Anne. Read the rest: Anne Paulk former lesbian.
At one time, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett didn’t know that there was an academic degree called a PhD. Now, the outspoken Christian is leading a National Institutes of Health team developing a Covid vaccine.
“I would have never thought that I would be in this moment right now,” the viral immunologist says on Black Enterprise. She wonders if she is living in an alternate universe, one in which God is shaking the table.
Kizzmekia grew up in North Carolina and somehow caught the eye of her high school chemistry teacher who hooked her up with summer internships in a lab at the University of North Carolina after the 10th and 11th grades.
“I was in the middle of a laboratory with this world-renowned organic chemist, his name is James Morkin. And he paired me with a black grad student, Albert Russell,” said Corbett. “Beyond the love for science and the scientific process, I learned that being him was possible.”
Mentors helped her climb the heights of science, along with her Christian faith, she says.
“I am Christian. I’m black. I am Southern, I’m an empath,” she says. “I’m feisty, sassy, and fashionable. That’s kind of how I describe myself. I would say that my role as a scientist is really about my passion and purpose for the world and for giving back to the world.”
Researching on the cutting edge of science to counter the world’s deadliest disease in 100 years allows Kizzmekia to combine her faith and intellect to serve others.
“My team is responding to the world’s most devastating global pandemic in the last hundred years,” she says. “There’s something to be said about knowing who you are.”
Outgoing president Trump visited her lab and became aware of her service to the country. Read the rest: women of color in science.
To combat her painful fibromyalgia, Nancy Johnson tried meditation techniques from Eastern mysticism. It distracted her for a time from the skeletal-muscular pain but provided no lasting relief.
“I wаs оn this seаrсh,” Nancy told CBN. “What am I going tо dо?’ There’s sоmething emрty inside оf me. There’s а seаrсh fоr, Whо аm I? What am I? Аnd hоw соuld anybody love me? because I felt like such а failure аnd sо weak.”
At age 24 after delivering her first child, Nancy developed the mysterious disease, whose causes continue to elude medical science.
By age 40 after delivering their fourth child, Nancy essentially became a shut-in who, befuddled by exhaustion, couldn’t keep house or raise her kids.
“I felt so much shame about that,” she says. “I couldn’t be perfect for my kids or my husband.”
“Оne оf the dосtоrs sent me away with, ‘It’s all in your head,'” says Nancy. “And that was just devastating.” She felt hорeless, facing the grim reality she would have to live with her condition.
At the same time, she developed food allergies that depleted her body. At age 49, she had dwindled down to 82 pounds and was admitted to a trauma center with a temperature of 83 degrees, a hair’s distance from her organs shutting down.
“I very neаrly lоst her,” her husband Riсh told CBN. “Her bоdy hаd just deрleted. She was literally hours аwаy frоm her internal organs shutting down if we can’t get her stаbilized. I did some real soul searching that week.” Read the rest: healing from fibromyalgia.
With the exception of her husband who was Christian, Deepa Srinivas disdained Christians in her native area of Andhra Pradesh, India.
“Back in my village, even today, Christianity is treated very low,” Deepa says on a 100Huntley video. “During those days, I never liked to get connected to Christians or Christianity.”
That’s why she performed endless rituals to the Hindu pantheon worshiped by her family.
“My family is from a strong Hindu religion background with traditions, a lot of traditions,” she says. “My parents would be into a lot of idol worship. I used to think if I perform rituals, something good would happen to me and my family. Wherever I used to see a tree, I used to bow down to it and pray, even if it is on a road.”
While she married a Christian man, she never intended to adopt his religion.
God surprised her, however, with several miraculous incidents. One was a girl who spread rumors about her.
Deepa had tried to help her. This girl was a beautician but needed clients, so Deepa connected her with some contacts.
Biting the hand that fed her, the beautician spread a rumor about Deepa, causing her to lose all her friends.
“I was left all alone” Deepa says. “I was really upset, and I was not really happy with that girl at that point of time.”
Because she interacted with churches due to her husband, a pastor called her randomly one day and prophetically asked her if she was experiencing anxiety
“I was surprised and asked God, ‘Can God speak to someone about me?’” she says.
Taken aback by the insight into her heart, she shared her disillusionment.
The pastor responded: “If you love someone who loves you, then there is no point. Anyone can do that. But if you love someone who does not love you, then that is commendable in the sight of God.”
“I was shocked,” she admits.
The truth of scripture conflicted with everything she had known from Hinduism and Indian culture.
“Then I thought, ‘OK, Lord, I don’t know much about you. Whoever has hurt me and caused this grief to me, that girl should come and apologize the next day at 6:00 a.m.”
Guess who showed up bright and early “knocking at my door at six a.m.?” Deepa asks.
After four failed marriages, Ruth Graham, the famous evangelist’s daughter, realized she had abandonment issues that could be traced to her childhood.
Billy Graham was always on the road for crusades or preparing for an event. Daughter Ruth had little quality time with her dad as she was growing up.
“If we find that we are repeating a sin or repeating a pattern, we have to look at the core issue and I had to look at the core issue,” Ruth says on a 100Huntley video. “My father is my hero and he would never have hurt my heart. But I knew it was true that piece of the puzzle fit and once I put it in the puzzle, everything sort of calmed down.”
One of five children born to America’s most famous evangelist, Ruth was taught to never show anger or be upset that her father was often absent. So, she put on a mask to hide feeling neglected.
“We grew up a normal family,” Ruth says. “I mean it was just as dysfunctional as everybody else. I didn’t have that kind of time with my father and I missed it and I wasn’t the kind that would assert myself and grab it.”
Her first marriage unraveled because her husband cheated on her.
“I grew up around honorable men. So it never occurred to me that my husband of 18 years had been unfaithful to me for a number of years,” she says. “It just pulled the rug out from under me.”
Ruth says she and her husband went through counseling and she forgave him, but after he kept cheating on her, she decided to call it quits.
“Forgiveness is unconditional. Reconciliation is conditioned on the changed behavior of the one who’s done the wounding,” she says. “My husband wasn’t changing.”
Finally, the anger she repressed boiled over.
She and her siblings were not allowed to be angry as youngsters, she says. “So I just stuffed it and I stuffed it and I stuffed it and I stuffed it and that’s not a healthy thing.”
Shortly after the divorce, her ex died, and she forgave him.
Her second marriage was a “rebound,” she admits. On the outside, she was saying Christ was her security, but deep inside in the secret place of her heart, she was filled with insecurities.
The marriage lasted only three months because the man was abusive.
“I think it’s important to remove ourselves from a toxic situation, out of an abusive situation,” she says.
Not long afterward, she remarried a man she adored, but he called it quits after a decade.
“I was just devastated, just totally devastated,” she says.
Annie Lobert was raised in Minneapolis. Her alcoholic father was relentlessly harsh toward her, so when the boys paid her compliments in high school, she swooned. Her high school sweetheart talked of forming a family, but then she found out he was cheating.
“I completely took my entire heart and gave it to this boy and when I found out that he was sleeping with several of my best girlfriends, it was such a shock to me.”
Annie moved out on graduation day. She was working three jobs to make ends meet, so when a friend told her she had a Corvette in Waikiki and a lavish lifestyle spending days on the beach, she agreed to visit.
“I knew something wasn’t right, but the lure of the possibility of having nice things and finally having money that I never had growing up” was too much to resist, she says.
Her friend was prostituting herself, and Annie joined her.
“I became a different person, became the harlot, became the Queen of Lies, that Jezebel,” she says. “I was embraced by the devil and his false love.”
At first the money was good, really good: between $1,000 and $10,000. But later she fell for a sweet-talking guy who took her to Las Vegas.
After she arrived she discovered her “boyfriend” was actually a pimp. She now had to work for him under threat of life.
After a day of working, she came home with a wad. “Break yourself,” he told her, meaning that she must hand over all the money to him. This was very different from his charming demeanor earlier, so she resisted.
“He proceeded to take me out by my hair,” she remembers on an I am Second video. “He choked me. He threw me on the porch on my knees and he started kicking me. My nose broke. My ribs broke.
“I was looking at the devil.”
He raped her, held a gun to her head and let her know she would never escape alive.
After five years, she managed to get free.
“You’ll leave the money, the cars, the houses all behind, because when you leave a pimp, you leave with nothing,” she says.
Annie wasn’t as young anymore, so the money wasn’t as good. She developed cancer and lost all her hair undergoing chemotherapy.
She started taking painkillers for bone pain and became addicted. From there, she went on to cocaine. She was wearing wigs and staying in seedy motels. Feeling debased and dirty, she decided one night to end it all with an overdose of freebase cocaine
“I went completely blind,” she recalls. “It’s like the whole room, the light that was on in that room turned dark, and I remember laying there. And I felt this demonic presence just come over me. I got really really scared and I just instinctively knew I knew that I was at death’s door.” Read the rest: Annie Lobert Hookers for Jesus.
Backslidden Jesse Holguin was going to avenge the shooting of his cousin, but as he was kicking down the murderer’s door, the man fired at him from a side window.
“I got shot; I didn’t know I was,” Jesse says on a Prager U. video. “I didn’t hear the gunshot and I didn’t feel it or nothing. I just I was on the floor, and he was trying to shoot me some more and I was trying to pull myself with my arms.”
He fell into gangs because “every single member in my family, every single male was a gang member,” he says.
From a young age, Jesse was involved in shootings.
“As other kids wanted to maybe grow up to be an athlete or wanted to be a movie star or something like that, my goal my whole life since I can remember I was wanting to be a gang member,” Jesse says.
Every weekend, he, his brothers and his homies were getting shot at.
“My family had a good reputation around the neighborhood I was in and all that,” Jesse relates. “I tried to earn my own respect.”
It wasn’t long before he wound up in Youth Authority jail, “our worst nightmare.”
“My first night, I go in the shower and some guy runs in the shower with me with a shank (a knife),” he says. “I’m in the shower a little kid naked. He’s gonna stab me in the shower, and I was scared. But I told him, ‘What? Go ahead, stab me. What’s up? I ain’t scared. What’s up?’”
The front of fearlessness worked. The threatening kid backed down.
“That was just my first day,” he says. “They called it gladiator school.”
Jesse was released from the Youth Authority to a hero’s homecoming. In thug life, serving time is like earning your stripes in the military. Upon release, he was named leader of the entire gang.
“I ended up achieving the greatest that you could hope for in that lifestyle,” Jesse says. “I ended up being the leader of my gang and my gang was a big, powerful respected gang. I had respect. I had women, I had everything. But I still wasn’t happy.”
In addition to being the leader of the gang, Jesse also worked a job. His boss happened to be a Christian and would talk constantly about Jesus.
“I never heard it the way he was sharing it with me,” Jesse says. “So he was sharing me telling him about Jesus and things like that, and I told him, ‘You know what? That sounds good. Maybe one day, if I ever get married and stuff like that, maybe maybe I’ll go to church.’”
The Undertaker — WWE’s longest-running and most-heralded villain — has had a major change of heart thanks to his wife Michelle McCool who married him only after “she realized I wasn’t Satan,” he says.
Mark Calaway resisted accompanying his blonde wrestler wife to church because, after 17 surgeries, he didn’t look forward to bowing down at the altar and because he feared “the pastor’s going to see me and he is just going to throw fire and brimstone right me,” he says on a YouTube video.
“I went reluctantly, but once I got there I found myself going from being tense and pensive to kind of leaning in and like, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool.’ That started my journey.”
Mark grew up in a Catholic school with nuns enforcing the rules with cracks on the head in Houston, Texas. The 6’10” 309-lb behemoth was drawn to sports, basketball and football, and even played for the Rams in 1985-86 before donning a red mask in the ring in his original guise as Texas Red.
In 1989, he was re-christened “The Master of Pain,” with an invented criminal backstory as a recently-released killer from Atlanta, but by the end of the year he had a new name with a new schtick that stuck: he became The Undertaker, a persona that endured three decades and won 21 straight matches.
All the way, he lived “a life of excess” and cycled through two marriages before he met and married Michelle McCool in 2010. He retired from wrestling in June of 2020 after concussions and injuries made it increasingly difficult to perform on par.
When he saw Michelle McCool, he noticed her terrific work ethic and golden locks.
She wanted nothing to do with him.
“She was truly terrified of me,” Mark says. “She did not want anything to do with me.”
But he wore he down. He also proved to her that the bad guy persona in front of the camera had nothing in common with his heart. Read the rest: The Undertaker is Christian
After years of crime with the Northern California gang, Jesus Gallegos finally made it to the infamous State Prison known simply as Pelican Bay. Upon his release, he would be the one calling the shots, respected and feared by the up-and-coming rank and file on the streets of Salinas, CA.
“I thought I was on top of the world. I would be looked up to. I had a lot of influence on whatever happened on the streets,” he told God Reports. “That way of thinking shows just how lost I really was in sin.”
Jesus (pronounced Heh-SOOS; a common name in Hispanic culture) Gallegos only knew the life of the norteño gang, which competed with the Southern Californian rivals the Mexican Mafia. As he grew up in poverty, he fixed his eyesight on making it big in the the with norteños.
He earned 4 strikes — enough felonies to get locked up for life. But for some reason, the judge gave him a lighter sentence. Unlike almost everyone else at Pelican Bay, he had a release date. He expected nothing more of his life than prison time or death in the streets.
Something happened when he got released from Pelican Bay in 2005. The plan was to lay low during the time of his “high risk” parole and avoid associating with fellow gang members. The anti-gang task force and FBI would be watching him closely, ready to snatch him up for any violation.
The plan was to get a job, get married, get a house and show every sign of turning over a new leaf. Then when the parole was over, he would report for duty and fall in with the troops.
During those months, he decided to drop out of the gang. He had married for all the wrong reasons, and so things weren’t going well with his wife. Any time they had an argument she would call the cops, he says.
He worked with his parole officer, who let him to ditch the last three months of parole and travel to Texas, where he took up residence with his sister.
In Fort Worth he started drinking again. When he moved to San Antonio, he started using heroin and methadone. He resigned himself to a life of failure.
“I’m just going to go back to prison,” he realized. “That was my M.O.” Read the rest: from gangs to God
The voice was good, the look was good, but American Idol judges summarily dismissed Moriah Peters’ performance based on her Christian testimony. She wrote on her bio that she was reserving her first kiss for marriage.
“You need to go out into the world and make some mistakes and get some life experience and come back,” one of the judges said. “You need to go out and kiss somebody and that’ll make you feel sexier and then come back after for a hearing.”
Moriah had given up her high school prom and cut back on studies so she could participate in multiple auditions. Their response was crushing, but she maintained her faith in God.
“I was fighting the tears,” Moriah recounts on an I Am Second video. God had opened up the doors until that point, but now He seemed to close them, but she knew God had a greater plan and His strength would see her through.
Moriah got her start in Christian music at a church camp in the sixth grade. The worship music moved her and she felt drawn to God. Soon, she was singing in her church and leading worship. After a sensational Easter performance, people encouraged the Pomona, California, native to try out for American Idol.
But judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Avril Lavigne were harsh with her and sent her down the elevator.
As she walked out of the building, a random stranger congratulated her and asked to introduce her to Wendi Foy, who helped her put together a demo for record labels in Nashville.
She was struck by how quickly God opened the next door and saw it as a miracle. Since then, she signed with Reunion Records.
Then she got engaged to Christian music legend Joel Smallbone of For King and Country. How they met was the stuff of a Hallmark Channel movie.
The woman who invited her to a wedding that Joel also attended raved about him in the car, which made Moriah feel awkward. Then there was the line of women waiting to talk with him. She felt uncomfortable joining the line.
“This is not Disneyland, and you are not Pocahontas,” she was thinking. “I’m not standing in line. This is ridiculous.”
When she made it to the front of the line she still felt odd. The dude looked like a Ken doll.
After days of thanking the medical clinic doctors with canoes full of flowers or fish, the Manaos tribal leaders dressed in white sang praises to God in their native tongue to celebrate Sean Feucht’s baptism in the Amazon River.
“Dad put me under the water, and when I surfaced, I felt a profound sense of destiny and calling on my life,” Sean writes in the autobiographical Brazen: Be a Voice, not an Echo. “The presence of God fell heavily upon me in that moment. I had become new and everything changed.”
Worship has marked Sean’s life, ever since that moment at age 10 when he dedicated his life to Christ’s service deep in the Amazon jungle, in the hinterlands of Jim Elliot. He’s played his guitar to bring healing around the world and in the Oval Office.
Sean Feucht loved the outdoors in his birth state of Montana. His dad, a doctor, accepted a 75% reduction of salary to lead missions with Christian Broadcasting Network and the family moved to Virginia. Sean despised the balmy suburbia of his new town and felt disillusioned with the loss of the Rockies until he was taken to the rainforests.
It was Sean’s job to fish for the medical team’s meals as the boat tooled up and down the Amazon River. They ate rainbow bass and large black piranhas. His dad and the medical professionals applied the science of medicine to heal natives, and when science came up short, they prayed and witnessed miraculous healings.
His father’s “brazen” faith became a legacy for Sean.
At first, Sean’s heart was to be a quarterback in football and a guard in basketball. Being a worship leader was not on his radar. But when a worship leader cancelled for his dad’s home Bible study, Sean was called upon to fill the gap after only owning a guitar for three weeks and knowing only three chords and three songs.
“The night was an absolute train wreck. I continually broke out in a nervous sweat, strained my voice and broke not just one but two guitar strings,” he complains. “I was embarrassed and ashamed in front of 15 of my peers. I remember running to my room afterward, vowing that I would never lead worship in public again.”
Oh, the irony.
He got called on again and again to direct praise in front of people as the Bible study grew to 70 people. Fairly rapidly, he moved into leading youth group worship and then took over church worship. He led youth group and challenged his peers to pray for people in the local hospital’s ICU.
Also in high school, he met Kate, who became his wife. He attended a worship rally in Washington D.C. and won a state football championship.
Despite sport successes, what really pulsed through his heart was the lost. He compiled a list of the least-reached peoples on the globe: Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The opportunity to visit Afghanistan came first. It was right after the terrorists had downed the Twin Towers in New York City, and Americans were fighting the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan, right where Sean, just out of high school, wanted to go with his father’s trusted missionary associate.
The U.S. State Department warned Americans not to go there. And the Afghan Embassy refused to grant him — or any American — a visa, “under any circumstances,” Sean writes.
But the team leader was used to obstacles and encouraged Sean to believe more in God than the gloom and doom of so many detractors. “God will make a way, brother!” he told Sean confidently.
Sean was learning to not be deterred. He visited the Afghan Embassy in person and got an interview.
What could go wrong with a blond-haired, blue-eyed 18-year-old leading worships in the mountains owned by the America-kidnapping Taliban? he asked.
The Afghan official couldn’t disguise his astonishment at the visa request.
“Are you truly willing to give your life right now because there’s a high chance of that if you go?” the official said.
Astonishingly, Sean declared he would not leave the embassy until the visa was granted.
Flouting conventional wisdom and doing the contrary of what everyone expects has been Sean’s trademark ever since.
In the isolated mountain villages, the team ministered to peaceful people in the Farsi dialect. Sean discovered that music was a universal language to bridge divides. “My guitar broke down all our walls and misconceptions about one another,” he writes.
The team had been sternly warned: Don’t spend a night in the village. Stay on the move. The Taliban would love to abduct an American and demand a ransom from the American government.
“But after spending all day building relationship, sharing stories, laughing and eating together, it was so hard for us to leave,” he writes. “Many nights, we were invited to stay at the home of tribal leaders.”
Sleeping on the roof to beat the heat, Sean would look at the stars and think of Abraham, to whom God promised to multiply his descendants to be as countless as the stars overhead.
God had done amazing things, and Sean expected to continue with God’s blessing as he carted off to Oral Roberts University. He had seen God move through his guitar in Virginia and Afghanistan, so he offered his services to the worship team at college.
No, was the reply.
It was not the only discouragement. He tried to get involved in missions. No was the answer.
In the dorm, his roommate, despite being at a Christian college, mocked Christianity and blasted explicit hip hop to drown out any praises Sean tried to strum.
“Nothing seemed to work out,” Sean says, and he mothballed his guitar under his bed. Read the rest: Sean Feucht Burn 24/7
When God called Ira Krizo distinctly and undeniably to ministry, “there was no use waiting any longer,” he says.
So he immediately went to New York… to culinary school.
Ira wasn’t called to the pastorate. He wasn’t called to the foreign field as a missionary. He wasn’t called into worship.
He was called to be a chef — a Christian chef. After all, God’s calling and gifting is to myriad areas of life, not just stereotypical “ministry.”
Today, Ira is the president of Christian Chefs International, a network of believers who have almost as much gusto for gourmet cooking as the Gospel.
With 14 chapters active or pending in America and abroad, the Cannon Beach, Oregon-based non profit holds annual conferences and boasts a 1-year, non-denominational culinary school where they don’t throw knives at the students.
“In many secular kitchens I’ve worked in, I’ve seen the chef yelling and screaming all day long at people,” writes Ira in a devotional on CCI’s website. “I’ve seen chefs throw things; once even knives. Is that the best way?”
Ira recommends humbly confronting head chefs who abuse their authority. He suggests chefs use the Biblical model: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-18 (NKJV)
Even reality TV programs depict the outbursts of rage that occur under pressure when chefs are striving to meet the demands of their patrons.
Under the title “Christians in the Kitchen,” the CCI website offers devotions for cooks that include ethics in the kitchen, being content (restaurants typically experience a high turnover of staff) and being “prayed up” for the pressures of the job. One encourages disciples to be “sourdough Christians,” with analogies per ingredient. Read more about God’s calling to cooking.
The next time an atheist accuses Christianity of being responsible for untold mass murder throughout history, point out to him that atheism in the 20th Century alone has killed 200 million people.
“Godlessness kills,” says Barak Lurie in his new book Atheism Kills. “Godlessness has resulted in far more mayhem and murders than all Judeo-Christian religion institutions combined. There is no comparison. Virtually every culture that has rejected God has collapsed or engaged in horrific mayhem. By contrast, virtually all cultures grounded on the Judeo-Christian tradition have flourished.”
Atheistic governments, seeking to impose their vision of utopia, feel compelled to eliminate any and all opposition, according to research from Atheism Kills:
The French Revolution: up to 40,000 deaths.
Stalin: 20 million deaths.
Mao Tse-tung: up to 70 million deaths.
Fidel Castro: up to 141,000 deaths.
Ho Chi Minh: up to 100,000 deaths.
Pol Pot: 2 million deaths.
Kim Il-sung: 1.5 million deaths.
Hitler: 11 million deaths.
Victims of the atheistic Mao Tse-tung regime
The list goes on. “Being an atheist dictator advancing atheist doctrine has always led to brutality and killings,” Lurie observes.
By comparison, what is the tally of the bloodbath supposedly orchestrated by Christianity?
The Spanish Inquisition: up to 5,000 killed.
The Crusades: 1 million killed.
The Salem Witch Trials: 19 killed.
The Ku Klux Klan: 3,446 killed.
Religious wars post Reformation: 11 million.
Skulls from Cambodia’s “killing fields,” victims of the atheistic Pol Pot regime
“Atheism killed hundreds of millions in the span of only 30 years,” Lurie writes. “The number of killings on (the alleged) behalf of Christianity (are) minor in comparison and ranged over approximately 800 years.”
Lurie decided to become an atheist at age 11 when he stumbled across the clever arguments atheists wield to crush. Then he went to college and rediscovered God through philosophy classes.
Fyodor Dostoevsky was instrumental to his floundering faith in atheism. The Russian novelist explored the consequences of atheism — the resulting absence of all morals — in Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.
“It was he who first made me see the dangerous world of my own atheism,” Lurie writes. “His books show the consequences of living according to dangerous believes.” Read the rest about Atheism Kills.
With a huge, swarthy bully chasing him, the tow-headed third grader ran home after school as fast as he could.
This was little Carlos Ray’s misery everyday in Miami, Arizona – until a gas station attendant stopped him and taught him to stand up to the bigger boy.
Little Carlitos trembled with fear as he faced his bully. The two grappling in the dirt for minutes that seemed like an eternity, and Carlos was receiving a walloping. Suddently, he grabbed his adversary’s finger bent it backwards. The bully cried out in pain and surrendered, according to the autobiography, Against All Odds: My Story.
When he was known as Carlos Ray
That’s how America’s toughest tough guy got his start. The shy and intimidated little kid later learned martial arts in Korea, while he was in the Air Force. It was in Korea that Carlos Ray Norris adopted his nickname “Chuck.”
The martial arts instructor and actor, now 78, was born into a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. He was part Cherokee, but that didn’t help him when his mother moved to Arizona and enrolled him in a school of mostly Native Americans, where the blue-eyed blond kid seemed easy prey for schoolyard tormentors. He was introverted, non-athletic and not very academic.
After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force as an Air Policeman in 1958 and excelled at martial arts, earning more than one black belt. He eventually founded his own school with his own brand of martial arts called Chun Kuk Do.
He was discharged from the military in 1962, taught in karate schools, and excelled in competitions. He won the Professional World Full-Contact Middleweight Karate Champion title in 1968, which he retained until he retired in 1974.
His karate teaching brought him to the likes of Priscilla Presley, the Osmonds and the Hollywood tough guy Steve McQueen. McQueen encouraged Norris to try his hand at acting. He had already performed bit parts in The Wrecking Crew in 1969.
He met Bruce Lee and played the part of Lee’s nemesis in Way of the Dragon in 1972 and Return of the Dragon the following year. His acting career took off, with his biggest role being the thriller, Good Guys Wear Black. The film made $18 million in 1978. Read how Chuck Norris became Christian.
While at Phi Gamma Delta in college, Mike Pence was intrigued by a fraternity brother’s gold cross — and even more intrigued by what he said about the necklace pendant.
“Remember, Mike, you have got to wear it in your heart before you wear it around your neck,” his “big brother” told him, according to the New York Times.
Pence, 58, was born into an Irish immigrant family with five other siblings on a farm in the small town of Columbus, Indiana. Along with his three brothers, Pence served as an altar boy at the St. Columba parish church and attended as many as seven days a week. They grew up in Catholic school.
When he went off to Hanover College, a small liberal arts college in Indiana, he began to feel drawn to a more intimate, less ritualistic, approach to God.
“I began to meet young men and women who talked about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” he told CBN. “That had not been a part of my experience.”
At a Christian music festival in the spring of 1978 in Kentucky, he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord and was born again.
Still, his heartstrings remained firmly entrenched with his Catholic upbringing. He called himself an “evangelical Catholic” and even considered the priesthood as a career path.
“He was part of a movement of people, I’ll call it, who had grown up Catholic and still loved many things about the Catholic Church, but also really loved the concept of having a very personal relationship with Christ,” said Patricia Bailey, who, along with her husband Mark, worked at the Pence law firm in the 1980s in Indianapolis. Pence and Mark started every day with prayer at the firm.
In law school at Indiana University, Pence met Karen, who became his wife. As their relationship turned serious, she bought a gold cross with the word “Yes” engraved on it and carried it around in her purse to be ready for the inevitable proposition. Pence calls her “his prayer warrior.” The couple has three children.
In the political arena, Pence was a Democrat. His heroes were fellow Irish American John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. But as the Democratic Party fully embraced abortion, the man who grew up a staunch Catholic found himself feeling betrayed.
After voting for Jimmy Carter in 1980, he became attracted to the politics of Ronald Reagan. He never looked back.
After two failed campaigns for Congress, Pence won election in 2000 and served in the House of Representatives until 2011. He proved himself a man of convictions, not a political opportunist, and threw his support behind the Tea Party Movement. He declared he was willing to shut down the federal government in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, the IndyStar reported. Read the rest of Mike Pence Christian.
Selena Gomez surprised more than a few when she took the stage of a Hillsong Young & Free concert to sing praise and worship Feb. 25th last year.
It seems the baby-faced pop star has revitalized her relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I’m a Christian,” the 24-year-old said unabashedly in a YouTube interview.
Selena, whose Instagram account has 117 million followers, has prepared for concerts by listening to Hillsong and by gathering with her team for prayer, as a recent Entertainment Tonight video revealed. She has voiced admiration for Brooke Fraser.
Selena was born to teenage parents in Texas and suffered emotionally as a child. She blamed her mom for her parents’ separation when she was a five-years-old. Without dad, the family struggled financially. They scrounged up quarters to put gas in the car and frequently fed on spaghetti from the Dollar Store.
“I was frustrated that my parents weren’t together, and never saw the light at the end of the tunnel where my mom was working hard to provide a better life for me,” she said, according to Wikipedia. “My mom was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me.”
She got her start in acting with a childhood role as Gianna on Barney and Friends. Later, she landed the starring role of Alex Russo on the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place from 2007-12. She was following in the footsteps of fellow Disney stars Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, who kept squeaky clean images as Disney teens only to rampage with drugs and sex when they branched out of their own.
Selena seemed to be falling into the post-Disney depravity. She cultivated a sultry songstress image and ran with the Hollywood A-listers, including BFF Taylor Swift. Song after song topped charts, and she became the girlfriend of drug-troubled Justin Bieber for a year, only to stumble through another year of on-and-off-again rumors.
But then she started suffering from lupus, with depression and anxiety compounding her malaise, and she canceled the rest of her Revival Tour in 2016 to enroll in a rehab program. She wasn’t fighting drugs, she maintained. She said she just needed help to get a grip on her emotions. Selena eschewed the typical Hollywood luxury rehabs and instead chose a Christian-run facility. Read the rest of the article about Selena Gomez Christian.
Ivan Arango never liked the party because, as he repeated, they always ended with fights, hatred and vows of revenge. But his close friend, Antonio, prevailed on him to go to his high school graduation’s celebration in Guatemala – in the cantina.
Sure enough, a fight broke out over some stolen beers, and Ivan and Antonio found themselves fleeing a death squad in the City of Quetzaltenango in the Western side of Guatemala.
Formed to efficiently kill dangerous targets outside of the proper channels of justice during Guatemala’s dirty civil war, clandestine death squads were paramilitary groups that devolved into despotic gangs answerable to no one.
A death squad in Honduras
A death squad member had stolen Antonio’s beer, and he had punched him, not knowing he was a paramilitary.
Out of his devotion to his best friend, Ivan had planned to accompany the graduation festivities in the cantina for only 30 minutes. In the next moment, he was fleeing for his life.
“Are they going to kill us?” he worried.
Ivan and his friend hid in a room in the back of the cantina, and a friendly lady locked it with a padlock on the outside. Sure enough, the death squad came to to that room, pounded and kicked the door and fired bullets.
Terrified, Ivan remembered his brother, Diego, who was first of the family to become a born-again Christian.
In his heart, he cried out to God. “Lord, forgive me. If you can get me out of this trial, save me. Don’t let these men kill me here.”
The paramilitaries busted down the door. They shoved a .44-Magnum in Ivan’s mouth, but it jammed.
“I couldn’t say anything,” he said. “I didn’t argue. He insulted me like a demon.”
death squads honduras
This picture from a Google search is believed to show a Honduran death squad in action.
Responding to disturbances in the neighborhood, the military police showed up. The paramilitaries stood down and left.
The streets were silent like a cemetery. Ivan asked the cantina owner if he should go home.
“They’re waiting for you to come out to torture and kill you,” he said. Read the rest of the story refugee students.
This is the story of how a Guatemala survived the ravages of war in Guatemala and immigrated to the United States where he married and enrolled his daughters in our Christian school in Los Angeles.
With three consecutive wins, Lighthouse soccer was flying high — perhaps too high — when Einstein Academy knocked them down back into the Earth’s atmosphere with a stinging 0-6 loss on Jan. 27.
The players for the Lighthouse Christian Academy were ebullient as they entered their fourth league game undefeated. They were joking. They were confident cocky. They weren’t listening to coach. They weren’t concentrating.
After cooly beating last year’s high school soccer champs 2-1, what could possibly stand in their way?
Albert Einstein Academy for Arts, Letters and Sciences of Valencia had read the game record on MaxPreps and prepared for a formidable foe. “We thought we were going to have to give everything we had to beat you,” admitted the Einstein coach.
Instead, Einstein’s 10 club players and other assorted players faced a disorganized Saints team that hemorrhaged goals with a succession of mistakes. In the first half, Lighthouse held a deep defensive line on two free kicks, allowing Einstein players with powerful kicks to get within goal range with long airborn passes. The 50-50 ball needed only to be turned into the net.
Lighthouse managed the improbable win against Newbury, the reigning league champs, by working some slick passing. But on Friday, Saints players were selfish, attempting impossible penetration through a thicket of players with individual dribbling. At best, they would get past three and get caught by the fourth while an open teammate called for the ball.
Other mistakes were made by the Christian school in Santa Monica.
After a winning run that Coach Junior Cervantes qualified as “miraculous,” it was a crushing loss but not an undeserved loss. The pre-game glut of confidence was inappropriate.
For 20 years, he’s patrolled the most dangerous, smelliest, grungiest disease-saturated section of Los Angeles, a one-square-mile on the edge of downtown called Skid Row where 2,000 sleep on the streets each night.
And Deon Joseph loves it because he gets to share Jesus. He’s never used his gun and has made more friends than arrests. He’s started mentoring and self-defense programs and even become a sort of spokesman to city officials about the need to address mental health issues.
“We need to be lights in dark places,” Joseph told Liberty University students. “If ever the world needed us to be a light, it’s right now.”
It’s only a 15-minute jaunt from the hipster-dominated financial district of downtown. But for some, the journey to Skid Row is a life of bad decisions that lead to the last way station before death.
“When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be a famous R&B singer,” Joseph said. “I did not realize my steps were ordered by God to be on Skid Row. I never thought I would be dealing with crack addicts, drug dealers, loan sharks, pimps and prostitutes.”
Joseph was born to Christian parents who, through the years, welcomed 41 foster kids into their household. His dad got saved when he mugged a preacher. He married his mom, dug ditches, collected cans, fed the homeless and started a construction business to give work to people like him, who had grown up in the Jim Crow South.
When Joseph finished his LAPD training phase, he volunteered for Central Division, not realizing it would lead him into the heart of darkness.
Skid Row is now being called the “homeless capital of America.” It’s the product of anti-police policies and NIMBYs (the acronym Not In My BackYard is for homeowners who wish to corral all the trouble-makers into one bad area of LA), Joseph said.
“I came from Venice where you have beautiful women, lattes and fine eateries,” Joseph remembered of his first day in Central. “And when I worked in Skid Row, it was as if I tripped and fell into Dante’s Inferno or Mad Max’s Thunderdome.
“There were rows and rows of people destroying themselves with crack and heroin, beer, having sex on the sidewalk, defecating on the sidewalk with a porta potty right next to them because the gangsters wouldn’t let them use the toilet,” he said. “The smell was a combination of blood, feet and fish. It grabbed you by the nose hairs and shook you.”
Despite the dehumanizing exploitation and the desensitizing constant crime, Joseph fell in love with the beat.
“Why am I in this place that could easily be compared to hades, and I’m comfortable?” he asked his mom. “My mom said, ‘Son, if ever you feel comfortable in chaos, it’s probably where God called you to be.’ On Skid Row I realized I was home.”
It was never easy though. On his first two months, he worked the front desk where he saw firsthand the mayhem.
“Every five minutes somebody was coming in with their arm broken backwards at 45 degrees, lacerated cheeks, swollen eyes,” he said. “One guy came in and his intestines were hanging out. And they didn’t want a police report because they were that scared of their attacker. All they wanted was an ambulance to whiz them away to the hospital.”
He formed friendships with mentally ill people – only to see them die tragically months later.
One such was “Hurricane Linda,” who knocked over desks at the station, ripped out phones and spat on officers. Joseph was nervous the day she came in like the Tazmanian Devil. Spotting him, she directed a laser gaze on him that made him even more nervous. Read the rest of the story.
Action megastar Sylvester Stallone has always done his own stunts, which sometimes resulted in broken bones and hospitalizations. The Italian Stallion’s faith in Christ survived many blows as well, until the Hollywood prodigal found his way back to the Lord.
“I was raised in a Christian home,” Stallone told the Dove Foundation. “I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it until one day I got out into the so-called real world. I was presented with temptation and I lost my way and made a lot of bad choices.”
Stallone, 70, was born in New York City. His father was a hairdresser and beautician. His mother ran a gym, being an astrologer, dancer and promoter of women’s wrestling.
His birth was accompanied by complications. The obstetrician used forceps that accidentally severed a nerve causing paralysis in portions of his face, contributing to his trademark mad dog look and slightly slurred speech.
His parents divorced when he was nine, which may have had a bearing on his poor school performance. Evicted when he was 24 and sleeping at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Stallone accepted a role in a soft-core porn movie for $200.
“It was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the end – the very end – of my rope,” he told Playboy.
He landed some other minor roles but hit huge success with the 1976 Rocky, which won three academy awards and seized the American consciousness. The underdog boxer became an American icon.
Six sequels and a Special Forces series called Rambo followed that success. The Expendables came later. From the dregs of society, he was catapulted to the summit of Hollywood success, and the flush of money and fame brought a glut of temptation.
“All of sudden you’re given the keys to the candy store and temptation abounds, and then I began to believe my own publicity,” Stallone told Pat Robertson in an interview. “There’s no question. I admit it. I just lost my way.”
He divorced twice, first from Sasha Czack and then from Brigitte Nielsen. He is currently married to Jennifer Flavin, with whom he has three daughters.
His personal struggles have become fodder for the introspection in some of his later films. His 48-year-old half sister Toni Ann Filiti succumbed to lung cancer in 2012. In his most recent film “Creed,” Rocky Balboa needs to be pushed to fight cancer by Donnie Johnson, the youngster Rocky is training to fight in the ring.
By his own account, Stallone spiraled downward for 12 years until he finally had a prodigal son epiphany and decided to return to the faith of his childhood.
“Finally I realized it had to stop,” Stallone said. “I had to get back to basics and take things out of my own hands and put it in God’s hands.”
Even in the anti-Christian environment of Hollywood, he unabashedly acknowledges his faith in Christ – and he spills enthusiasm about going to church.
“The more I go to church and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to his word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now,” Stallone told Focus on the Family. “The church is the gym of the soul. You cannot train yourself. You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else.”
Now older and wiser, Stallone admits to some distaste for the shallow violence of his earlier films. But he stands behind the Rocky series.
“This is a story of faith, integrity and victory,” he said. “Jesus is the inspiration for anyone to go the distance. You could compare his courage to that of David, who as the epic underdog defeated the giant Goliath in battle. It’s a metaphor about life. ”
A sequel to Rambo has been in the works for some time, with discussion of one version being a rescue of missionaries out of ISIS’ control in Iraq. But this film may never get done.
The Stallone trademark for his movies is that he does his own stunts. This has resulted in injuries that he has tried to mask with tattoos on his shoulders, chest and upper back. The first tattoo was a portrait of his wife Flavin.
For Rocky IV, he told Dolph Lundgren (who played his Russian opponent): “Punch me as hard as you can in the chest,” he said at a Comic Con panel. “Next thing I know, I was in intensive care at St. John’s Hospital for four days. It’s stupid!”
The injuries too are a metaphor because when we wander from Christ, they tend to make us reflect about what is most important and bring us back to Jesus. It would seem to be something Stallone would say.
This article was written with Alex Cervantes, a student of the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, where I teach. It was originally published on God Reports.
When Dwight Howard was 15 years old, he had national coaches admiring his basketball skills, friends galore following him around and lots of girls throwing him kisses.
Then he broke his leg, and the coaches, the friends, and the girls all disappeared as if by the rapture.
“God said, ‘Dwight I had to humble you,’” he said in a YouTube video. “After that I told God, ‘I will never ever be cocky again. I will always be humble because I never want this to happen to me again.’”
Dwight has proven the naysayers wrong who figured he would never make the NBA after that accident. An eight-time NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight led the Orlando Magic to three division titles and one conference title. At 30 years old, he just finished his 12th season as center for the Houston Rockets.
Through it all, he has consistently talked Jesus. In a recent video, he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Y’all need Jesus.” When he was drafted straight out of high school (the #1 pick!), he declared he would use his fame in basketball to “raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world.”
As a kid, his parents always took him to church in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was 12, he had his first real encounter with God. He was at home asking God what his purpose was in life. Then he heard an audible voice saying, “Dwight.”
There was nobody else at home at the moment, so Dwight was more than a little frightened. He heard his name again: “Dwight.”
Half afraid and half marveling, he went into the bathroom. There, God told him his purpose: to glorify Him in the NBA.
Prayer brought her into the world, and from the looks of it she is now learning how to pray.
Her parents, Gunter and Yara, were among the best disciples in the church. Medically speaking, they couldn’t have kids. Evangelist after evangelist prayed for them. Then my friend, Isaias Campos, came to preach for me. Ironically, he himself couldn’t have natural children. But God told him he would pray for somebody to have kids. That did the trick.
My son, Hosea, among the kids of the Door Christian Church in Guatemala City.
I left Guatemala six years ago under duress. I am currently visiting, and I’m blown away by the revival I’m seeing. It’s been packed, and people are hungry for God.
By Elvin Chen, a Lighthouse Christian Academy student from Taiwan in 2014-15
My school in Taiwan was 3,000 students – all boys, so when I came to Lighthouse Christian Academy with only 45 students, a co-ed school, I was surprised. As a Taiwanese who wanted to study in the America, I never imagined I would wind up at a high school that was so tiny.
When I met my host family, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, Pastor Zach is so strong. His muscles are so big. I will need to be careful and not make him mad or he will beat me up.”
Actually, Zach Scribner is extremely nice. I never had problem with him. He was also a teacher at the Lighthouse high school – and he was the coach of the football team (hence, the muscles).
As he was my host father, it wasn’t easy to get out of football. At first I thought football would be fun to try, even though I had never seen a football before.
After the first practice, however, I thought, “I’m done with that. I must quit in order to survive. I will never do this.”
But quitting wasn’t that easy. Pastor Zach was my host father – I couldn’t let him down. And the team didn’t have enough players without me. The guys needed me. These were my new American friends, and I couldn’t let them down either.
As a teenager, Ben Carson and a friend were arguing over a choice of radio stations. Things got heated and Ben took out a pocketknife and lunged the knife blade toward his friend’s stomach.
The blade hit his friend’s belt buckle, broke in half, which saved his friend from harm and Ben from becoming a murderer. Frightened by what nearly happened, Ben ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible.
Ben turned to the wisdom of Proverbs, reading “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1); or “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (29:22), and a final admonition, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18).
Humbled by the power of God’s Word, Carson realized that if left to his own devices, his anger would drive him toward ruin. Instead he prayed that God would help him control his temper instead of letting it control him, and God answered his prayer.
“When I came out, my temper was gone and I’ve never had a problem since,” Carson revealed in a talk he gave to the LifePoint Assembly of God in Osceola, Iowa, as reported by The Des Moines Register.
He chose instead to live by the words of James 1:19-20 which says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
The retired neurosurgeon – who has inspired millions to overcome adversity with his book and movie Gifted Hands – is now campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination – the only African American running in either party this voting season.
What’s there not to love about this job? (Altruism).
In the USA, I’m surrounded by people who love to make money. I don’t. I love to help people. It makes for awkward conversations, like, “What do you do for a real job?”
Ummmm. Idk. This is what I do.
Fortunately, my wife supports me 100%. Praise the Lord! I’m very sorry to say this, but it seems to make that making money is so empty.
I’m in my old stomping grounds as a I write this, Guatemala, where for 16 years I was a missionary. We planted churches and a school. Just today, I got the chance to talk heart to heart with a kid who needed help. Hopefully, he’ll make some good decisions.
Helping people makes me hum with excitement. I really don’t know why I am this way. God made me this way?
I love these kids. All of them are in a (semi?) safe place, the Door Bilingual School in Guatemala. In addition to doing government paperwork, I’ve been teaching English and Bible. I’ve been helping strategies to help improve finances for the school. I’m making preparations for a medical clinic to be realized by Lighthouse Medical Missions in September.
Lauren Holiday’s stunning volley against Japan was the third of a tsunami of goals that gave the U.S. Women’s National Team the Women’s World Cup on July 5.
Though winning that competition and two Olympic gold medals for women’s soccer has been gratifying for Holiday, it pales in comparison with her love for Christ.
“Success is being the best soccer player I can be,” the midfielder says. “The wonderful, wonderful thing about loving Jesus is, it’s not about me. And the spotlight isn’t on me. So when I do step out on the field, I get to play with freedom because I don’t have to worry about if I score or what happens if we lose or if I make a bad pass, because success isn’t determined on that with Christ.”
Holiday, 27, retired from international soccer immediately after winning the cup. She is part of a cadre of Christians on the national squad that also includes Tobin Heath, Amy Rodriguez, Heather O’Reilly and Jillian Loyden.
Holiday was raised in a Lutheran Church but embraced a vibrant faith when she went into junior high school.
“I went to some youth camps and that’s where I started to discover the presence of God,” she told BeliefNet. “I was able to experience God through the singing and by talking to other girls that had similar experiences. That opened my eyes but I still had to seek out that relationship.” Read the rest of the article.
Good thing she was a military brat. She got used to moving around.
Actually, it’s hard to describe Mrs. Bowen as a brat because she’s so loving, sweet and humble.
“Mrs. Bowen is really good at art, and she loooves to help kids,” said Ana D., her student. “She’s hip. She won’t yell at you. She’s very understanding. She knows when something is up, and she’ll do something positive about it. She’s a well-rounded teacher. She does tons of things. Just the other day we did clay.”
She never got her second degree in education because her father, a major in the Air Force, looked askance at perennial students. So with a bachelors degree from Southern Florida University, Mrs. Bowen landed a job with 1,000-employee Dun & Bradstreet’s Insurance. Read the rest of the story.
He wasn’t supposed to get anywhere near a boxing ring. Because doctors operated his kidney at 3 months of age, Chris Van Heerden was strictly forbidden from contact sports.
But his dad was a boxer and believed God would heal his son. It seemed natural for his father to train him in the sport of gloves. So today, Van Heerden, 27, is the current holder of the IBF International welterweight Title. He beat on points the previously undefeated Cecil McCalla at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9, 2015.
“I’m blessed by Jesus Christ,” the native South African says. “Win or lose, I’m blessed.”
He may call himself blessed when he loses, but he sure has won a lot. Starting on his native continent, he now holds a record 22-1 (and one draw) including three fights since he’s come to the U.S. His only loss was in Serbia. Eleven of his wins were by knockout. Read the rest of the article: Christian boxer.
There was no one faster in the league than our midfielder and defender, Caleb.
We were down 0-2 at halftime, and the kids walked off the field dejected.
Hey! We’re only down two goals. It’s not over! Let’s go out there and win this! I gave specific instructions to the kids. We needed more longer balls, through balls that our forwards could run on and beat defenders.
When the whistle blew, my son Hosea and his partner, Garrett Lahood, zipped through the midfielders and defenders straight to goal with three crisp passes. Garrett smashed it home. Woohoo! Now let’s get some more!
Garrett’s quickness and ball-handling skills made coach move him from defender to forward.
But we didn’t win. Our inexperience began to show more. Errors were made, and our opponents, Westside Neighborhood School, beat Lighthouse Church School 7-1.
I’m not upset. Winning would have been almost impossible. For our small school with a co-ed team, to have made it to round 2 of playoffs was already an impossible dream. I’m proud of the kids.
It was a fun season. Kids learned about soccer, teamwork, effort. These are lessons they must apply to life.
Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, beheaded by ISIS in a newly released gruesome video, also happened to be a devout Christian.
A reporter seasoned in war zones, Goto traveled to Syria hoping that Japan’s pacifist stance would grant him relative safety, unlike other journalists from nations leading airstrikes against ISIS.
He failed to take into account this new brand of terrorists are breaking all previous norms, with no apparent limits to their depravity.
“You, like your foolish allies in the Satanic coalition, have yet to understand that we, by Allah’s grace, are an Islamic caliphate with authority and power, an entire army thirsty for you blood,” a masked militant says in the video while holding a knife to Goto’s neck. To read the rest of the article, click here.
What’s surprising is that 1 Peter 2:2 exhorts Christians to “grow up” in their salvation. So it’s clear that Christian maturity involves becoming like children: they don’t harbor grudges, they love freely, they laugh.
It’s one thing for young pups in love to send each other “forever” memes. We need to see older mature (?) married couples still in love. My wife and I celebrate 24 years this month. Praise God! It is not always easy but always worth it to work on it instead of throwing it away. My kids agree too.
Lindsey Christian gave birth three months ago, so – naturally – she volunteered to coach LCA’s girls’ volleyball team.
“I loved volleyball,” said the 2002 LCA graduate. “I felt like it was time to give back.”
Time to give back? Right after having her first baby?
“I saw my mom (AD Pam Sommer) looking everywhere for a coach. I was on maternity leave, so I had the most free time I’ve ever had. I realized I could do it,” Lindsey said. “Okay, so maybe I’m a little bit crazy.”
Nobody expected the embarrassing 7-1 loss of Brazil to Germany World Cup semi finals. But as critics groaned and Brazilians cried, another unexpected event transpired. Brazilian defender David Luiz dropped to his knees and prayed.
Amid a gaggle of self-lovers, braggarts and primadonnas who make up soccer’s elite, it’s refreshing to see genuine Christians.
To thank God publicly for a victory is admirable. To thank God for a defeat is maturity.
After all, it’s only a game, though the way people follow it — and the way money is thrown at it — you’d think it was god.
And God is not a game. If we lose, let us remember that God doesn’t favor any team. He wants people to get in relationship with Him, starting now and continuing on into Heaven.
“My faith in Jesus gives me strength to keep on going out onto the field and to do my best, but I also want to inspire others – that is what God inspires me to do,” Luiz gold Christian Today. “For me, true life is found in the relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe that everything in life belongs to God and he has a clear plan for us if we follow him.”
I like that more than seeing Argentina win tomorrow.
Brazil lost, as expected, to Netherlands today. Defense was shoddy. But Luiz is winning at a game that is much more important than soccer.
Enjoying In-N-Out afterwards is a Lighthouse sports tradition. Nate (rt) proved his Fall injury has not hampered his bursts of speed on defense.
Adrian and Rob were decisive
Tex cut surgically through their defense.
People are congratulating “my” 9-2 win last night. I just shrug. The truth is that “I” didn’t win with Lighthouse Christian Academy soccer.
The AD did.
The AD — Athletics Director, for those who don’t know the lingo — won the game. She scheduled it.
Pretty much all I did was shuffle our lineup so as to NOT score any more goals. In the first 20 minutes — one-fourth of the game — we had made 7 goals. So to lessen the humiliation for the other team, I pulled off good players and threw on beginners. I pulled attackers back into defense.
The lopsided victory was no coaching genius. It was guaranteed even before we started simply because we had superior players.
It felt like the gospel. God as AD schedules us trials that we are destined to win. We may celebrate on the field, but it was God who ordained everything to begin with.
To be sure, God schedules defeats for us too. To teach us humility, patience, effort, dependence on Him, etc.
You can have your cosmovision of universal randomness. I like being a Christian.
Out of 14 years in jail under the Communists in Romania, I spent three years alone in a cell 30 feet below ground, never seeing sun, moon or stars, flowers or snow, never seeing another man except for the guards and interrogators who beat and tortured me.
I seldom heard a noise in that prison. The guards had felt-soled shoes, and I did not hear their approach.
I had no Bible, or any other books. I had no paper on which to write my thoughts. The only things we were expected to write were statements accusing ourselves and others.
During that time I rarely slept at night. I slept in the daytime. Every night I passed the hours in spiritual exercises and prayer. Every night I composed a sermon and delivered it (to myself).
I had a faint hope that one day I might be released…
To be in a solitary cell under the Communists or the Nazis is to reach the peak of suffering. The reactions of Christians who pas through such trials are something apart from everything else.
Blogger’s Note: I stumbled across this book With God in Solitary Confinement, with the most unattractive cover, and discovered a gem we need to remember. God’s servants are suffering greatly around the world. They are an inspiration for us to live more whole-heartedly for the Lord. He died in 2001.
On the verge of my wedding, an older friend told me the three happiest moments in life were: marriage, the birth of child, and becoming a grandparent.
Harrison Sommer, former a trial lawyer, opined that the greatest feeling is relief. When he wins, he gushes relief — he will get paid; the stress and uncertainty is over.
Photo thanks Climb St. Louis
I vote for forgiveness. It is something like all of the above-mentioned emotions.
Being forgiven is a part of love, more mature than falling in love, more undeserved than having a baby or a grandchild. Not everyone who feels love, experiences this subgroup of special love called forgiveness.
It is a compounded relief. Relief is when you’re sweating it out to see if you get it. With forgiveness, you simply don’t stand a chance to get it, but you get it anyhow.
I have been forgiven by my wife. And that is how we are still married today, 22 years later. Anyone can fall in love. Anyone can leave (married) love to go experience the immature rush once again, thinking that’s all there is to love. Not just anyone gets the special privilege of forgiveness and getting a chance to continue with the choice of your youth.
Of course, God’s forgiveness on mankind, available instantly, is the most powerful. If you haven’t yet experienced it, by all means, do so today. He sent Christ to the cross in order to forgive us our sins. All we need do is ask.
Like Spiderman, climbing sensation John Bachar moved quickly up the overhanging rock wall, sometimes sustaining his entire body weight with just a couple of fingers. And he did it without ropes.
When I caught up with Bachar in 1988 for interview on the dangerous sport called free-soloing, he philosophized about the freedom from cumbersome protective gear. He waxed about feeling at one with nature. It was a rush, other-worldly, like a drug.
An amateur rock climber myself, I made no plans to try it. Too many times, I had “popped off the rock” — insider lingo for losing your grip — and been saved by the combination of harness, rope, anchor and belay.
After years of feeding off the intoxicating sensation of brushing with death, Bachar fell fatally in July of 2009. Many other proponents of this extreme sport have similarly died. It would appear foolhardy to shun safety while scaling 100- and 1000-foot rock walls only for bragging rights.
Not only do I use ropes, I also go to church. I see in this body of believers a safeguard. The day I come crashing down, I have brothers and sisters to bear me up. I’m always “on belay.” (I personally am incredibly prone to crashing down.)
Others prefer to unencumber themselves of the church, to go it alone in life. It may feel restrictive, but that same restrictiveness is a safety.
Pastor Charles was talking about how each Christian has at least one gift from God, and how we all need to use our gift to help out in the church. As I was listening to the sermon, I realized I must have the gift of criticizing.
The church really needs someone to whip everyone into shape, so immediately after the service I marched off to let Sister Winnie know that as the cleaning lady for the church, she was doing a very poor job. I pointed out a certain area that she had left dusty and disorganized from Saturday.
She broke out in tears, but no matter. I went off quickly to tell Elder Eli that his Sunday School teaching was particularly boring and that he ought to add more jokes into it. I turned my back on him eager to continue using my gifting from God. I found Walter and told him his tie did not go with his pants. Timothy was right there listening, so I finally told him that the way he laughs annoys a lot of people in church, and that he should learn how to laugh like a normal human being.
He turned red with anger, but, hey, the truth hurts, right? I was looking for Sister Martha to tell her to stop judging others when my dad caught up with me and pulled me out to the car by my arm. He gave a big lecture about not hurting people’s feelings. But I told him that I was just exercising my gifting. He was pretty mad at me.
So, here I am, trying to figure out where I went wrong. Boy, just when you try to do something right, everyone doesn’t know how to appreciate you. Here’s what I say: A prophet is not without honor except in his own household.
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945.
The easiest thing is to quit.
It requires no courage, no effort, no optimism, no reassessment, no analysis, no second attempt, no positive enthusiasm, no uphill battle.
My soccer team practiced on the beach
So much of Europe just surrendered as Nazi tanks rolled in. They didn’t even try to fight for their homeland. But England was whipped into resistance by Winston Churchill. He said: Never, never, never, never, never give up! He promised the Nazis war by air, war by sea, war by land — on the beaches, over the plains, in the forests, in the cities, room by room, if need by, until the last Nazi fell or withdrew.
I coach a high school soccer team. We are small school, so there’s no talent pool. A few are good, another few are athletic, some are total beginners. We go up against some really good teams. Last season, a typical loss was 10-1. This season, some players have already decided that we have lost.
If you KNOW that you are going to lose even before your feet touch the field, then you WILL fulfill your own prophecy. No wonder some of the kids goof-off at practice, crack jokes and skip training. It’s all pointless, anyhow, right?
I think David saw possibility where others saw only death. He wasn’t afraid to take on a 9-foot tall giant named Goliath. And he took him out.
Quitting may be easy. But it provides no reward, no satisfaction, no triumphalism, no heroics, no solace, no hope, no joy. There’s nothing better than winning by upset. To get that, you have to believe in yourself.
Why do they call it a “setback” if in reality is a necessary step to move forward?
The king of setback is of course Joseph. He dreams of greatness and leadership. Instead, he narrowly escapes death and winds up a slave. If that weren’t bad enough, he then is thrown into prison. He spends some 20 years in forced labor and then as a convict.
But the dude never stops dreaming. In fact, he interprets dreams. Overnight, he’s freed from jail and set upon a throne second only to Pharoah. He orchestrates a seven year famine survival for nations and brings the fledgling nation of Israel down the the Egyptian incubator. Four hundreds years later, they’re a few million, ready to take possession of the Promised Land.
Every step was necessary. Any one of them could have caused moaning. Discouragement could have overpowered the poor kid’s heart. But Joseph maintained perspective! They shackled his hands but never his heart.
Don’t despair with today’s setbacks. In reality, they are steps towards tomorrow’s successes.
Anybody who attains wild success these days, writes a book and explains the “secret.”
The Prophet Daniel was second in power in the Persian empire, trusted like no other counselor. More than just competent administration drove him to the top. His secret was prayer.
Three times a day, he neglected his insanely busy schedule to make time for God. This is an important reminder to us Christians who are trying to advance the kingdom of God. A recent survey found pastors pray on average only seven minutes a day.
King David, likewise, sought God’s face as a #1 priority. When he failed to do so, he fell into
sin. Christ also needed time alone with God. The busier they were, the more the Biblical heroes found time to pray.
This is difficult because it is counter-intuitive, especially here in America, where we are barraged by the message that time (working time) is money. Make (more) time for God today.
They call it sock water. The idea is that the Guatemalans make coffee so weak that it approximates the post-laundry runoff.
I like STRONG coffee, you know, the kind that approximates black ink. When I sip a cup, I want it to feel like
Don’t want no weak coffee
heavyweight punch. My body pulsates, my mind sharpens, the spoon dissolves, the aroma causes furniture to levitate.
Strong coffee has saved my marriage! Without it, I mumble and grunt to my wife. With it, I am a chatterbox! She likes to talk with me. She doesn’t like a Neanderthal grunter husband.
Are your prayers STRONG or weak?
Don’t get me wrong. Some prayer is better than no prayer. And I’m not quite ready to say God prefers espressos. But maybe your prayers, honestly, are more unfeeling religious duty without much zing. Distill the caffeine jolt of faith!
If you like weak coffee, don’t be offended. The comparison is meant to encourage better
May the froth be with you!
praying, not insult your tastes! Cheers! Drink up!
Those cookies were so delicious that I, a UCLA undergrad, wanted the whole bag for myself. But as I hoarded and ate, I realized the Diddy Riese cookies from Westwood just weren’t so good all by myself. They were much tastier if I ate them (shared them) with another person. Selfishness and greed ruined the treat.
Cookies are the vehicle to philosophy??? What is true of cookies is true of finances, of everything you have. When you share with meaningful people, when you share with a meaningful cause, it makes your life much more pleasurable. The reason why Scrooge is such a powerful persona is because he resonates with so many people.
Share today! Don’t wait for the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future to visit you. Break out the stash of cookies and spread around the happiness. Whatever your wealth, whatever your talent, it will be tastier to you if it is shared.
A theologian said God’s resources are so unimaginably vast that no matter how much you take, you cannot in the least reduce the sum of them.
So when God says “no,” it is NOT because He doesn’t have. It may be the request is bad (like a baby who demands more ice cream than is good for him: “I WANT!”). Or it may
Step up your ministry today — through prayer. (Thank you to whomever I stole this photo from. I forgot who you are to give you credit. You have awesome photos!)
be that His “no” is really “wait.” God wants to build patience and character in us, so He doesn’t respond instantly.
Jesus is unflinchingly unequivocal: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you — Matt. 7:7 NIV. A resounding “yes!” will greet every request. But He doesn’t say when.
I track the success rate of my prayer requests. Sometimes I downright dumbfounded: everything I asked for. I asked for more students in the school where I teach, and He answered. I asked for finances f
Add some bite to your effectiveness! Pray!
or my church, and He answered. I asked for a certain troubled youth to come around to Jesus, and He answered.
You may think prayer is for grannies who have nothing better to do. I think prayer is greater efficiency than spinning your wheels in sand. At your disposal is unlimited wealth. You can only exploit it by praying.
Now, we are Christians. We are NOT better, holier, smarter, prettier — none of that. Sometimes we strike you as judgmental, shrill, annoying, killjoys, prideful, hypocritical. We are an abysmal reflection of the Father’s love.
But we definitely don’t want to be exclusivists. We want to welcome you with open arms to this marvelous life we have discovered, many of us serendipitously. We walked around living dead. The life we lived we thought was life; we found true life in the Son. We don’t want to exclude you from the Light, above all else.
Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” — John 3:3 NIV. Being born-again means we were once dead, though alive. Now we have come to true life in Him! Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6 NIV. Jesus doesn’t say He’s a list of rules; He’s life. What’s more, He’s THE life. If you think you’re living life without Him, you still haven’t discovered the best life possible.
Start your life today! Love, joy and peace you never thought possible are yours for the taking right now. We are no longer zombies. You can join us.
When mom asked me if I liked the sermon on Sunday, I replied that I really enjoyed the text. She thought I meant the scripture, which was my attempt to confuse her. Because the truth is that I didn’t hear any of the sermon; I was busy texting the whole time.
As you can see, it wasn’t a completely a lie. All I can say is that it was a good thing mom kept cooking and didn’t ask anything else about the sermon, because I would have been hard-pressed to make things up.
I really thank God that I have one of those unlimited text plans. I think Jesus said to pray always, without ceasing. The way I see it I’m doing something like that. I’m somewhat Biblical because I’m constantly texting with my friends. That’s the “without ceasing” part of the verse.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them — Luke 9:54-55 NIV.
A sharp contrast separates his disciples from Jesus — and that chasm remains today. While the “disciples” want to send bombs off to wipe out entire cities, Jesus proposes forgiveness and evangelization.
America has some Christian foundations, but all we can muster is war against Middle Eastern nations. We have no love to give. Let’s not expect anything good to come from the continuation of the Crusades. Until we share the gospel with these peoples, the hostilities will continue, and we won’t be able to expect safety at home any more.
Stop condemning others. Give them love. Someone said recently that America now spends yearly as much on mascot Halloween costumes as it does on missions. But the budget for military attacks is unlimited. Why do we do this? Because it’s easier to bomb peoples and just wash our hands of them.
In reality, I’m not taking a stand for or against military defense. I AM taking a stand against negligence on the behalf of Christians to pray and send missions. If we have no gospel to give, then we are left only with bombs. Jesus was willing to go to the cross for people’s salvation. What are we willing to do to spread the gospel? Because we are unwilling, we prefer to laud the use of bombs.