Tag Archives: God

He fought cancer while building a business

When Adelso Lemus was expanding his business and felt pressured to cover ballooning expenses with sales, he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

“The doctor was gently telling us that they were going to see what they could do,” Adelso told God Reports. “I didn’t want to do chemo because the last time I had cancer it jacked me up.”

From his hospital bed, he watched his family huddle.

They weren’t weeping; they were strategizing. Who would do what to cover Dad’s extensive responsibilities in the business? Adelso and his family sought what they always wanted in times of trial: a turnaround, for good to come out of the bad.

“I wasn’t thinking I was going to die,” he says. “I just needed to work this through and get back to the business.”

Adelso miraculously survived the cancer. His 10-year-old business of specialty tres leches cakes now grosses $1 million in revenue.

He shares his life philosophy on a radio podcast “The Flipside” which encourages listeners to not despair but to find how “all things work together for the good,” as the Bible says.

Adelso, 54, lives in San Antonio, Texas. He got saved as a youth in Albuquerque when he saw a formerly “fried” pothead” all cleaned up and alive.” It was an unexpected surprise, and the young man invited Adelso to church. He didn’t want to go, but his friend hounded him and he broke down. Of course, Adelso ended up receiving Jesus and transformation.

He grew zealous for the things of God and even prepared himself to enter ministry. He was part of the church-planting mission that emphasized evangelism and discipleship and not Bible school degrees.

He and new-convert Veronica got married “Jesus people style,” the way the hippies did in the Jesus Movement of the 70s, without expensive ballroom-like details and during the Sunday morning service. They were in love with each other and considered the fact that Jesus didn’t have any money.

Adelso and Veronica marched off to Panama, where they were missionaries for nine years. It was a wild time of scrambling to make ends meet. Adelso became very resourceful as he adeptly negotiated equipment and building rentals without having enough money to do so. Navigating financial hardship with resourcefulness became a skill he carried forward in life and it became the hallmark of his business.

“It hardened my hide to be able to go through what I’ve gone through in the business,” he says.

When his 25th wedding anniversary approached, he was on staff at John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church. He decided to save as much money he could every week to honor his wife with a big bash to renew their wedding vows. He wanted to make up for the skimpy beginnings of married life.

How would he cobble together the money for the event? His sister gave him a secret recipe, a tres leches cake with a non-traditional flourish, pineapple. It was off the radar, but when he took samples to some local restaurants they were curious.

“Tres leches with pineapple?” one proprietor said. “That’s weird.”

He tasted it.

“The way they responded in the restaurant was really positive,” Adelso explains. “I wanted them to taste it to see if it had any potential. They really liked it. I just chased the dream because of the reaction that I got. It was a genuine surprised reaction. I thought, Wow, they really liked it. It made me realize that this was something I could possibly do on the side.”

He started at home, but you can’t cook at home for commercial ventures for long.

The preparation for a wedding renewal turned into a full-time business. He needed to rent space at a bakery. At a cooking conference where he impressed with free samples, an acquaintance tipped him off to a 2,000-square-foot San Antonio bakery that could rent him space in the evenings.

The only problem was that she wanted $800 a month and all he could offer was $350. Read the rest: Adelso Lemus fought cancer while running a growing business

I am Cinderella

His family thought he was crazy, but he was fighting demonic oppression

Never mind that driving him towards suicide were demonic voices, schizophrenic episodes, and the opposition of his family. What bothered Adrien Lamont in the Bible conference – where he had gone seeking deliverance – was that there was only one other black person.

Fortunately, she came straight over to Adrien with a prophetic word: “God sees what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been chasing after him, and he’s so proud of you and he loves you and all the people that have done you wrong and called you crazy are gonna see what God is doing in your life in the direction that he’s taking you and they’re all gonna apologize.”

Adrien stayed and received intensive prayer. The deliverance was decisive. Today Adrien is a rising star in Christian Hip Hop, though his music is oriented more to the street than the pew, a rough-edged message of salvation, not cleared for Sunday School.

Adrien Lamont’s father abused heroin and died when he was young, so Mom did her best to raise him. Grandma was the driving force behind church attendance, but Adrien never developed a personal relationship with Jesus.

He was drawn to music and wanted to make it big. As he searched for his identity, he began drinking, smoking weed and using other drugs. He also liked to wear a brand of clothing with occult symbols. Today he says those symbols opened him up to demonic interference.

“I was really involved in satanic imagery and satanic clothing,” he says on Testimony Stories, a YouTube channel that focuses on Christian rappers. “It got to a point where all these things I was surrounding myself, started to affect my spirit. I realize now in hindsight that a lot of those garments and things I was wearing actually had demonic forces on them.”

He had a ring that every time he took it off and put it back on, he felt like a different person.

Connected with the producer, he began his path to stardom in secular rap.

“I remember just getting very high and drunk one day and I remember him telling me about all these satanic rituals and blood sacrifice and sacrificing his daughter,” Adrien says. “Under the laptop we were recording on, there was a Ouija board. I felt like I was demon possessed and that demons were speaking out of me into the microphone.”

On that day, he says he felt Satan’s presence. Words were impressed into his mind.

“He asked me if I wanted to sell my soul to Satan,” Adrien relates.

“Yes, okay,” he spoke out.

The rest of the night, he felt a darkness he had never experienced.

Hours later, he was listening to his recording when his computer “glitched.” Up popped another musician who shared his testimony about how demons came out of him and how he ran to his mother, who had a shotgun in her hand. He was saved from evil.

Adriend couldn’t explain the sudden, mysterious site change on his screen. He knew he needed to leave Hollywood immediately and return to his mom, who was living in Long Beach. Early next morning, he wandered around Hollywood asking for a phone to call Mom. Eventually, he got an Uber home.

Immediately… Read the rest: Adrien Lamont Christian rap.

The Jamaican hospital dietitian must have been an angel

Her Christmas Eve hope was to die in the hospital and put an end to the endless pain from Crohn’s disease.

Then a Jamaican dietitian showed up and prayed for Cassidy Kellagher, and on Christmas she woke up without pain for the first time in many months.

“I realized that was an angel,” Cassidy says on her YouTube channel. A Christmas angel.

Before coming to the Lord, Cassidy was virulently anti-Christian to the point she wouldn’t even say “Bless you” when somebody sneezed.

By her own account, she was “an extreme atheist, an extreme vegan, pansexual and an egotistical, terrible person,” She marched in gay pride parades and, dressed in a lettuce bikini, handed out veggie dogs to Senators with PETA.

“I wouldn’t eat with anybody who ate meat,” she says. “I just went out of my way to shame people who didn’t believe what I believed in.”

In June 2019 Cassidy began to have severe stomach aches. She soon went to the ER and got a CAT scan and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In three months time, she lost 60 pounds. Doctors pumped her with pain meds to alleviate the excruciating pain.

“Nothing was working,” she says.

She dwindled down to 80 pounds and after six months wished to die.

“I wanted to kill myself,” she says. “I woke up and hated my existence. I hated every second of it. I had no hope. I lost my personal life.”

Then Christmas Eve came, and the pain was so intense that Cassidy asked her mom to take her back to the hospital.

“I felt like it was going to be my last day on Earth,” she says. “I was excited, like no more pain, no more tears. Let’s do it.”

But she didn’t die. On Christmas she woke up and met the Jamaican dietitian. She had never seen her before, which was strange because she had been in and out of the hospital so often, she thought she knew everybody. She didn’t pay too much attention initially.

For the first time in a long time, Cassidy broke down in tears, which was strange because “I didn’t really have any emotions at that time. I was pretty much a vegetable just waiting to die,” she remembers.

The dietitian broke hospital protocol and told Cassidy she was going to pray for her – a decision Cassidy resisted with all the strength she could muster in her weakened condition. But since the Jamaican lady insisted, Cassidy relented. She didn’t expect anything to happen as a result of the words spoken over her.

“She had so much passion for me,” Cassidy recalls.

“You will be healed and you will be a healer,” the woman prophesied.

The day after Christmas, Cassidy woke up and no longer felt any pain. As a matter of fact, she felt so good she wanted to be released from the hospital, which staff wouldn’t allow because of the seriousness of her condition previously.

Her mom was mystified. What happened? Cassidy didn’t know but… read the rest: Atheist, vegan pansexual comes to Christ through vision of an angel.

Hone your people skills to get rich

Mack Calvin Christian basketball player, saved from terrors of his drunk dad

When his family left Texas, little 9-year-old Mack Calvin saw poverty and physical and verbal abuse under the drunken terrors of his father. His family was evicted many times, so Mack moved from school to school and his learning suffered. In college, he read at a 7th grade level.

So when the 100 colleges offering him basketball scholarships saw his 1.9 GPA on his transcript, they shut the doors to him. “This boy’s dumb,” Mack imagined they said of him.

“My father was always drunk. It was kind of embarrassing when he came to my baseball or basketball games drunk,” Mack told God Reports. “God said to me, ‘You’re not going to ever drink. I didn’t want to be like my dad. I detested the anger he displayed towards my mother when he was intoxicated.

Ultimately, Jesus had big things for Mack, who eventually became a Hall of Famer in basketball. In August, he’s running free youth basketball camps in Long Beach, aiming to help impart values to underprivileged kids and teach them about Jesus.

Born on a farm in Ft Worth, Texas, Mack’s family was middle class and never lacked food. But his dad was an irascible, foul-mouthed drunk who decided to move the family to Los Angeles. His continuous gambling impoverished the family, and they went from eviction to eviction until they arrived at the Imperial Courts Housing Project in Watts.

Right next door, there was a gym where Mack played and practiced continuously until age 15, before the family moved to Long Beach.

“I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to be like my father,” he says. “I wanted to be great. I wanted to be special. I worked hard.”

Parks & Recreation coaches took the raw material in Mack and formed a high-caliber player. At Long Beach Polytechnic High, Mack led his team to back-to-back CIF championships both years he was on the varsity team. He was all-CIF, the state sports organization for high schools.

Colleges wanted him. But his schools had put him into wood shop class, metal shop and special education; he fell victim to the instability of his home. So off to Long Beach City College he went. Mack led his team to championships.

Coaches Chuck Kane and Bill Barnes turned his academics around. Starting him in easier academic classes and connecting him with tutoring, the coaches transformed the academic underachiever into a Dean’s List student.

After two years in the community college, Mack accepted a scholarship offer at USC, where he broke UCLA’s 41-game winning streak with his tenacious play. What the 6’0” point guard lacked in stature, he made up with sheer grit and determination.

Out of college, Mack played seven stellar seasons for the American Basketball Associating until it merged with the NBA in 1976. He was an ABA all-star five times and was named to the ABA all-time team

“You’re talking to a miracle,” Mack admits. “It was by the grace of God. God has always been at the center of everything in my life, no matter what I accomplished, no matter what accolades, no matter what money I made.”

Joining the NBA, he played for the Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, Jazz and Cavaliers before retiring after the 1981 season. He did some stints as a coach, including for the Lakers and for the Virginia Squires.

For 44 years, he’s sponsored a basketball camp to give back to the communities where he’s lived. “I want to always aspire to make a difference,” he says. He’s mindful of the hardships of his own upbringing.

He’s always attended church. In college he participated in college sports faith groups. On the road, he’s attended whenever it was Sunday, as long as there wasn’t a game. Today, he attends Bishop Charles Blake’s West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

“I loved the spirit that came from the church,” Mack says. “I’ve always had the… Read the rest: Mack Calvin Christian

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Christian governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem

She grew up on a ranch and loved that lifestyle, but a freak accident propelled Kristi Noem into South Dakota politics and ultimately, national politics, where she’s become a leading voice against lockdowns, abortion, and transgenders in women sports. She’s been called America’s most pro-life governor and advocates for a return of prayer to schools.

“My relationship with the Lord is my foundation in all things,” Kristi stated in a South Dakota Public Broadcasting article. “As a result, the values I hold according to biblical principles impact my decisions: we are called to love, but we’re also instructed to stand for truth.”

Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, South Dakota enacted some of the nation’s strongest laws to prohibit abortions, saying doctors, not mothers, would be prosecuted.

“In South Dakota today, we’re just so grateful that every life is precious, and it’s being recognized in this country,” she told CBN. “This is the decision that so many people have prayed for, for so many years.”

Kristi loved ranching, chasing cattle on horseback, and sitting in tree stands hunting. The family loved God and attended church regularly.

“You read Scripture, you think, gosh, God loves farmers more than anybody else,” she waxes nostalgic. “He’s talking about sowing and reaping all the time and your barns are overflowing, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

When she went to college, her dad died in a freak farm accident, so Kristi came running home, eight months pregnant with her first daughter, to help run the family business.

At that time, the federal government offered no sympathy for her loss, instead slapping the heirs with a huge “death tax” bill that it took 10 years to pay.

“We were still reeling from the loss of the powerhouse in our family, and already, the government was reaching out its hand to take part of our American Dream,” she told Fox News in 2017. “We had a tough choice: sell off a portion of our family farm or face a decade in debt. We chose the latter. We spent a decade in debt and struggled to keep our heads above water.”

The inheritance tax law was one reason Kristi entered politics, first in the state legislature and then as a congresswoman in the House of Representatives, where she fought to overturn the devastating tax law.

In Congress, she also “got into some tough fights with the leadership of the House” to get the Farm Bill passed.

When she returned home to get elected governor of South Dakota, she riled atheists by celebrating her inauguration with an interfaith worship service. “You are Lord and King of South Dakota,” the pastor said at the festivities, according to Patheos. “We thank you Lord God that we have faith and that the Holy Spirit absolutely takes over every corner and every crevice of this Capitol and of this state.”

“South Dakota governor violates the Constitution on her… Read the rest: Gov. Kristi Noem Christian

A man of God, Torben Sondergaard, in jail for arms smuggling?

Friends are expressing dismay that a Danish man who works tirelessly spreading the gospel around the world has been arrested in America over charges of smuggling arms from Mexico into America.

“Today Torben (Søndergaard) is sitting in jail because somebody made a false accusation against him, something that is not true,” says Jón Bjarnastein on a Facebook post on The Last Reformation page. “It’s because he’s preaching the gospel. This is nothing new under the sun. The Bible says that everyone who wants to live a godly life will experience persecution.”

Torben Søndergaard fled Denmark in 2019 after repeated attacks by the government to discredit his street ministry, which riled secularists by casting out demons in public places. If you don’t believe in the supernatural, much less demons, then one might think Torben is a manipulative charlatan. He applied for asylum in America and now is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


“I was invited to a meeting with Homeland Security who wanted to talk about my asylum case – a case where I, in Denmark three years ago, was accused of doing many things I had not done, and where I ended up fleeing to America seeking asylum,” he wrote on Facebook. “But then, they suddenly said that the real reason I was there was because they had been notified that I was smuggling weapons from Mexico to America.

“I was in shock.”

The accusation of arms running is strange because the illegal flow of weapons is generally southward, from America to Mexico. America is a manufacturer of arms, not an importer. What America imports illegally from Mexico is drugs, not weapons. CBN says the Department of Homeland Security had no comment on the case.

Doing ministry in Denmark for 18 years, Søndergaard, 45, founded the Last Reformation street evangelism movement with the purpose of restoring Book of Acts-style ministry. His Jesus Center trained disciples from 30 nations to spread the gospel worldwide, CBN reports.

But authorities in secularist Denmark didn’t like him and, starting in 2016, launched investigations from six separate Danish ministries into everything from food safety to unpaid taxes. They found nothing wrong, CBN reports.

The persecution continued when Søndergaard decided to homeschool his daughter. Seeking an abatement from the persecution, Sondergaard re-enrolled her in public school. But the attacks continued… Read the rest: Torben Sondergaard Danish evangelist.

Shintoist finds God

Shinichi Tanaka believed vaguely that an all-powerful god who created the universe was out there somewhere. But it was not until a near death experience that he found his way to God.

From a young age, Shinichi had a great respect for nature and the “gods” of the Shinto religion. However, when visiting the shrines to pray, he felt that something was missing.

“I went there to feel a sense of purification, also to pray and give thanks,” Shinichi says on a Japan Kingdom Church video. “But it was like praying to a vague God, like the air.”

It was at 40 years old that Shinchi began to take on a different perspective on God. In a moment of introspection, he began to see God not as a group, but as an omnipotent Creator.

“I realized the existence of God, which had immeasurable power,” he continues. “Since then, I would close my eyes and meditate that the universe would send energy like bright and dazzling lights. That was my God.”

Shinichi did not know God yet. This would change when, at 49 years old, he experienced a heart attack that left him hospitalized.

“My life hung in a fifty-fifty balance,” Shinichi says. “But I kept a strong will to survive.”

At one point during his hospitalization, Shinichi underwent a near-death experience that led him closer to finding God.

“One night, while sleeping on the bed in the hospital, a beautiful world spread out before me, and I was drawn outside my body,” Shinichi recounts. “It was actually the entrance to death.”

“Then, suddenly, a voice shouted ‘No! Don’t go!’” Shinichi continues. “When I regained consciousness, I suffered from strong pain, and tried to get out of it.”

Shinichi believed that an invisible being saved him from entering death’s… Read the rest: Shintoist finds God.

Does money bring happiness?

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Hope for children of divorce

As a result of her parent’s divorce, Savannah Hernandez felt shame, had insecurities, depression, and had given up on believing in God.

“I hated God at this point of my life,” says Savannah on YouTube, “I just felt like, man, there is no way that God is real. I’m going through so much stuff. How is God real? How did he make this earth?”

Many fall away from God and don’t come back, but Savannah is proof that restoration of faith is possible.

Savannah’s parents got divorced when she was 11 years old. From there, she swirled downward emotionally.

“It was really hard on me just to face as a child and trying to figure out what was going on and just how to really just grow up to be a woman,” she says.

Savannah had a strong dad who never left her or made her feel alone, but she still felt an emptiness inside. She looked for masculine approval, which caused her to feel worse about herself and develop more insecurities.

“I did feel like I was alone at some point in my house, and I did run to guys and just love to try to find some type of love and temporary fix in those areas that I was hurting,” Savannah says. “It just caused me to hurt, and it caused me just shame and feeling like I wasn’t worthy and that was really hard for any girl to face.”

After she graduated, Savannah tried smoking and became stubborn and prideful.

“I was just doing all these things behind my dad’s back,” she recounts. “I’m not doing anything to pursue any of my goals, I’m not doing anything, I don’t believe in a God.

Then her sister got saved.

“I saw… Read the rest for free: Children of divorce have hope

Aerospace engineer finds the Creator of space

His vaunted career in aerospace engineering led him to being featured in National Geographic for his research with NASA.

But the PhD from a German university couldn’t save Dr. Dragos Bratasanu from personal heartbreak when his startup flopped, and he went back to his parents apartment depressed, in wretched pain and envying the dead in the local cemetery.

“The pain was so intense, I took my pillow and cried out to God from the bottom of my heart,” he recalls on a CBN video. “God, if you’re real, I need you.”

Growing up in Romania, Dragos was turned off by religion because it involved “bowing down to bones,” burning candles and the belief that you can only get to Heaven through your local priest.

Instead of seeking religious truth, he sought scientific truth. Excelling in his studies, he got the chance to study in Germany, where earned his PhD in space science. He worked with the Romanian Space Agency, got a chance to work with NASA and was commended in a National Geographic article.

At the top of his scientific career, he fell to the depths of inner despair. His business failing, he was humbled to the point of not being able to pay his bills and moved back with his parents. He cursed his fate.

When he considered embarking on a spiritual quest, Christianity was his last option. He studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other major religions. He even traveled to the Himalayas to study under the most renowned Buddhist monks. All seemed to offer good tenets, but didn’t resonate with his soul.

While he was on a sabbatical in Hawaii, a non-believing friend recommended he read Katheryn Kuhlman… Read the rest: Dr. Dragos Bratasanu Christian.

A Shamanistic pastor’s son?

Isaac Perez descended into the inner regions of the earth, down a spiral staircase, through the forest, over a bridge to the place he had been told he would meet his animal spirit guide. Finally, a hawk with a penetrating gaze faced him.

“What are you doing here?” the hawk asked him. “You don’t belong here. They are coming after you.”

It was a strange message for Isaac, who sought to become a full-fledged shaman through practices he learned online, which resonated with his Mayan heritage.

It was strange for Isaac, the son of a pastor from a charismatic church, to be seeking supernatural experiences in the occult.

“The Holy Spirit worked somehow to tell me I didn’t belong and what I thought was my spirit animal was very much definitely the Holy Spirit telling me this isn’t it, you need to get out, this is not the place,” Isaac says on a Doreen Virtue video.

Isaac’s testimony shows you can’t blend New Age teachings and shamanism with Christianity and that Jesus Christ is the only way.

Isaac’s parents were both charismatic pastors. Isaac became a youth pastor, but when he began to have unanswered questions about the supernatural, he turned to shamans online.

“I thought that I really understood this,” he says. “God created nature, so why can’t I serve God but also you know just enjoy this, his natural beauty and all the work that he’s done and created.”

Isaac began to explore shamanism and thought that with his Mayan ancestry he could blend Christianity with shamanism.

At first, he got involved with drumming circles in nature, then he began using crystals and other New Age practices. He didn’t go to his parents for answers out of shame and guilt.

“It killed me,” he said. “I kept thinking am I failing God being in this charismatic church, or am I failing God being in shamanism? So, I could really never figure that out.”

While he was involved in shamanism, there were works, like a sun dance, which was a dance including fire and self-mutilation in order to be forgiven for his sins and for God to hear what he was saying.

“I sacrificed myself physically either by physical pain through burning, or through cutting,” he said. “There was supposed to be some sort of release. There was supposed to be some sort of… Read the rest: Shamanism vs Christianity

M.I.A. is now Christian, says her new music will reflect her new worldview

M.I.A. – the UK rapper who was banned for a time from the United States because she was thought to have ties to terrorism – has become a born-again Christian after a supernatural encounter with the Messiah.

“I had a vision and I saw the vision of Jesus Christ,” she told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in an interview.

Born to a Sri Lankan Tamil family in the United Kingdom, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam reached overnight success with her multiple platinum song “Paper Planes,” which pokes fun at discrimination against immigrants from war-torn countries.

After being denied a visa into the U.S. in 2006, M.I.A. blamed “them thinking I might fly a plane into the World Trade Center.” Her hit was born.

M.I.A. is an outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan repression of Tamil peoples. She has also spoken up for Palestinians on Israel’s West Bank.

Turning to Christ, she says, has caused her worldview to shift – a makeover that jeopardizes her standing with her mostly progressive fanbase.

“Basically, all of my fans might turn against me because they are all progressives who hate people that believe in Jesus Christ in this country,” says the singer.

M.I.A. was born in London. When she was six months old, the family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, where her father founded the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, after a succession of pogroms against Tamils in the island nation off the coast of India.

For a time, M.I.A.’s family went into hiding, as the government hunted them down. Though born Hindu, M.I.A. studied at Catholic convent schools. The Sri Lankan army reputedly shot bullets randomly into the school on a regular basis to terrorize the locals. Along with all the other students, M.I.A. would dive under the desks and tables to avoid getting shot, a regular occurrence she described as “fun.”

At age 11, M.I.A. was brought as a refugee to England where she grew up in the “incredibly racist” Phipps Bridge Estate, a slum. There, she mastered English, and her mom worked as a seamstress for British royalty. Immersed in political activism, M.I.A.’s father was absent from the family, leaving a hole in her heart. Her mom became Christian.

M.I.A. loved art and pursued film but got sidetracked by hip hop and dancehall music, which she was introduced to by eavesdropping on the beats blaring from neighbor flats after her own radio was stolen. Her stage name came from the time she lived in Acton and was looking for her cousin who was “Missing in Acton.”

Once on vacation in the Bequia in the Caribbean, M.I.A. was dancing in the street at a “chicken shed with a sound system,” and some Christians… Read the rest: M.I.A. Christian

Spouses who support entreprenuers

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Scrape with death led rebel to God – Father Stu

Father Stu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Egg-sized brain tumors didn’t kill him

The parents of Jason Ong assumed he would wind up in jail or dead because he was such a poorly behaved boy, fighting and often getting into trouble. But God had other plans and purposes for his life.

Jason met the one true living God when his dad was dying. By his father’s bedside, Jason prayed to nearly all the gods he had ever heard of and nothing happened.

But when he invoked the powerful name of Jesus, Dad opened his eyes.

“Later on, there’ll be somebody in white.” he told his dad while his eyes were open. “He will stretch out his hand, so you can just take his hand and follow him, and you’ll be safe.”

Jason didn’t know what he was saying, but his dad closed his eyes and passed peacefully. Later Jason realized he had spoken prophetically, and the Good Shepherd, Jesus, had opened heaven’s door to his father.

“Jesus, You know that You saved my dad, so I owe You my life,” he said.

Jason went to church. That’s where he met Judith, a divorced mom with a special needs daughter, Joelle.

“We somehow knew that we are supposed to be together, so we prayed about it,” Jason says.

Two years into his marriage, he began experiencing dizziness and pain in his head, so he went to the doctor. The prognosis: an extremely rare brain tumor. It was so rare that there were no drugs and no protocols for treatment.

“Suddenly everything just went to darkness,” he says.

The surgeon removed 90% of it, leaving the optic nerves and main artery with a vestige of the tumor so he could still see, eat and not die from a broken artery. It was 2004.

The doctor told Jason he had six months to live.

The news was discouraging, but Jason and Judith decided to make the best of it. They decided to dedicate 100% of their efforts towards the Lord’s service. They launched a street food vendor business, working 12 hours a day, with profits destined for orphanages around Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. The proceeds from the business allowed them to contribute to the care of 600 kids.

After six months, Jason showed up to see the doctor. He was surprised to see Jason alive.

The title of Jason’s testimony video is “If Tomorrow Never Comes” on the Hope Singapore channel.

Jason outlived the six-month prognosis. In 2007, the cancer flared up again. His new doctor said it was absolutely necessary to remove all the affected areas, including the nerves to his mouth and eyes. He would be blind. He would feed through a tube. And devastatingly for Jason, he would not be able to speak.

Jason declined the surgery. He needed to speak because his life’s purpose was to preach in the orphanages to the children about the good news of Jesus. He would rather die than lose his ability to preach.

“So there wasn’t an option for me because I still have to continue in the ministry and I said, If I cannot speak, that means I cannot share the gospel, I cannot teach, I cannot preach. So what is the point?” he says.

The doctor was grim, telling him: You don’t need to come back. You’re going to die. The cancer will eventually cause your brain to explode.

He took pain medications and kept hawking food on the street. He kept visiting orphanages with his wife and preaching.

“My encouragement to all the Christians was, ‘Even though I’m going to die, I still choose to stand and say God is good. I still choose to say: Jesus is my Lord,’” he relates.

By 2013, Jason sensed he was going to die. For his “last” birthday, he asked his wife to visit the orphanage once last time.

By 2014, he was bedridden and partially paralyzed. “Jesus, I’m coming home,” he declared.

But one night, Jesus spoke to him in a dream: I’m moved by the tears of your wife. I’m going to heal you.

Days later, he called the doctor to reorder morphine for the pain, and the doctor, a Christian and a medical professor, told him to come in. He got new scans and proposed another surgery. He would save the eye nerve, the voice nerve and the artery. He believed God would help him.

“It’s so amazing that you are still able to talk and sitting in front of me because looking at the scan, it has now grown to the size of two eggs,” the doctor told him. “One in the brain and one outside the cranium. Technically, it is supposed to have pushed your brain out of the brain cavity already. Or you should just get a coma or stroke and die. The fact that you are still alive and talking to me is a miracle.”

When Jason woke up from the surgery, he felt intense pain, couldn’t see or breathe.

“After 10 years of fighting cancer, that was my lowest point,” he says. “I just felt so tired.”

“I think I’m not gonna make it,” he told Judith. “Release me. I wanna go home.” Read the rest: Healed from brain tumors.

Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett brings faith to science

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.

Hip replacement? Nah. God healed him.

As he lay on the floor from a sudden and unexplainable fall, John Hawkins shuddered, pondering the implications. There had been no obstacle to trip on. He had simply collapsed.

“it scared me to death because I didn’t trip on anything,’ the retired carpenter-turned-pastor says on a 700 Club video. “My hip just gave out. I didn’t understand why.”

John was 60. An orthopedic specialist said a tendon in his hip was gone and bone was grinding against bone, generating extreme pain. He would need surgery. But he didn’t like what he read about alloy hip replacement recalls. (Surgeons now use plastic.)

“I’m too young to be acting like I’m 89,” the retired carpenter-turned-pastor says on a 700 Club video. “I couldn’t move, and I didn’t like it.

John started using a cane and needed help from his wife, Rose, to put on his shoes and get in and out of the tub. The pain was so bad that most of the time he just wanted to stay home, feeling miserable.

“I’ve always been active, and I liked to work. I worked with my hands,” he says. “My mom was a good example of work and a lot of good work ethic in my family. Everybody worked all their life, always worked for what you want.”

Eventually, he realized he needed to pray for a healing.

“It felt so bad, I didn’t want to move. I was angry real quick,” John says. Read the rest: Instead of a hip replacement, God outright healed him.

Legendary missionary Bruce Olson went native, wore flea collar to reach Motilones

After venturing into the isolated Andes mountains of Colombia to reach the unreached Motilone tribe for Jesus, 19-year-old Bruce Olson was ambushed and shot in the leg with an arrow in 1961. His Yukpa guide fled as six warriors moved in and captured him, forcing him to stand and walk six miles to their tribal hut.

The Motilone indigenous peoples (they call themselves Bari) were feared by all outsiders because they killed anyone and everyone who made contact with them. Bruce says that such hostility stemmed from their fear that outsiders were cannibals, according his interview on the Strang Report podcast.

Bruce was allowed to recover, guarded in the hut. Three days after his capture, his first meal was a palm tree maggot, which he didn’t know how to eat. He was famished and when he cracked the exoskeleton with his teeth, the contents burst over his face and tasted like liquefied bacon and eggs.

When he spotted bananas hanging in the upper supports of the communal hut, his eyes pleaded with his captors to be able to eat one, which they granted. He quickly learned the word for banana and would ask often for the tasty treat. On the third occasion that he asked for a banana, they brought him an ax instead, and that’s how he discovered their language is tonal.

“I felt as a young Christian convert in Minneapolis that my place would be among the unevangelized tribal people of South America,” he says. “I felt uniquely drawn to Colombia because I liked the literature of Colombia. I bought a one-way ticket to Colombia. After one year of learning Spanish, I ventured into the jungle to make contact with the Bari people.”

Eventually, the Motilone realized that Bruce was not a hostile threat but a human being just like them. He learned their language and learned to fish and live among these primitives. He was accepted by everyone except a certain fearsome warrior who could not reconcile with the idea of a friendly outsider and threatened to kill Bruce.

On one night, the mighty warrior came to take his life. But Bruce had fallen gravely ill with jaundiced eyes, and so the warrior desisted. Tribal superstitions forbade killing sickly persons.

Bruce — or Bruchko, as they called him — was essentially “civilization’s” first contact with the tribe that killed all previous Colombian emissaries, prospectors and oil explorers. He would travel into cities to buy medicines and supplies. On one such trip, he discovered a newly-invented flea collar for pets. He bought one — for himself — and wore it around his neck.

Success for his efforts came with the winning of a convert, who was just about to be initiated into manhood. The ritual included a contest of chanting lengthy poems among the men. It sounded eerily demonic to Bruce, who was uninitiated as yet to the custom, but as he listened intently, he heard his young convert tell about Jesus as all the others perked up to his tale. Read the rest: Bruce Olson, Bruchko

Burned by gossip, a Hindu asked God for help

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.

“She apologized.” Read the rest: Deepa Srinivas found Jesus after serving Hinduism.

Annie Lobert’s Hookers 4 Jesus

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.

Founder of Lexit found by 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.’”

But, he added, “I don’t even think I could be forgiven.” Read the rest: Jesse Holguin, founder of Lexit, Christian.

Jesus is ‘taking over’ the Undertaker

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

Moriah Peters’ first kiss on wedding day

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.

Joel Smallbone, on the other hand, felt thunderstruck. Cupid’s arrow pierced his heart. Read the rest: Moriah Peters first kiss at wedding.

How a New York City pastor came out of drugs with a vision in space of the cross

As a child, Kalel Pratico yearned to know God but found little guidance at home.

“My parents, you know, wanted me to find my own path,” he says on a CBN video. “I always wanted a connection with God. I was asking about angels, and so I was always hungry for God. I didn’t think that he was a personal God at all. I would pray for him to get me out of trouble. I would pray for, you know, a girl to like me. I would ask him for selfish things.”

Without any guidance he found liquor before the Lord.

“The first time i tried alcohol, I was in about sixth grade,” he says. “I remember the feeling that alcohol gave me and it was this peace that i was looking for.”

In high school, he discovered marijuana.

“I tried other drugs as well,” he says. “It hurt my parents that I was abusing substances. I would drive drunk. I was trying to numb this void I had in my life, this lack of connection that I was looking for.”

One night when he mixed up drugs in a hotel room, he felt he was dying.

“Everything else zoned out and all I was aware of was the presence of God,” Kalel says. “Every breath that I was breathing was given to me from God. I was aware that at any moment he could just stop what he was doing and I would have died.”

After surviving his brush with death, he vowed to never abuse again. Of course, he couldn’t keep that vow.

“I lived a very inconsistent life after high school,” he says. “I went to art college and was dating a girl at the time and she got me a Bible. Eventually I decided to go to church. I would sit in the pew and the message would completely go over my head.” Read the rest: kalel pratico was freed from drugs.

George W. Bush struggled with alcoholism

George W. Bush will be remembered as the president who declared war on terror after the Twin Towers were blown up by Osama bin Laden’s airline-hijacking henchmen.

But a new PBS documentary reveals the early years in which the future 43rd president drank excessively and could only conquer alcoholism by turning to God, according to People magazine.

“He transitioned from a church-goer to a Christ-follower,” Bush’s childhood friend Charlie Younger says in American Experience. “He wanted to emulate the tenets and teachings of Jesus Christ, and he made a definite transformation there.”

It may seem difficult to believe that before ascending to the presidency, his life before age 40 was rocky.

After six years in the Texas Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Bush leveraged his family’s influence and finances to launch Arbusto Energy in 1977, an oil and gas exploration firm.

But he felt immense pressure to make “a big strike” and began to stagger under repeated failures, which stood in contrast to his father, who became vice-president of the United States under Ronald Reagan in 1981.

“I’m all name and no money,” Bush said at the time, according to the New York Times. Hit by a fall in oil prices, Bush sold his energy exploration company to Harken Energy in 1986.

“I think his friends and family, when he was nearly 40 years old, were worried about what he was going to do with his life,” Michael Gerson, Bush’s former chief speechwriter, said. “He drank too much and he had very little direction.”

On his 40th birthday, the crisis came to a head.

“He woke up hung-over. He had overdone it the night before and he didn’t feel good. I think Laura (his wife) told him that he could’ve behaved better,” Younger says. “He just said, ‘I don’t need this in my life. It’s robbing me of my energy. It’s taking too much of my time.’”

At the suggestions of friends, Bush began to attend a community Bible study, a weekly session similar to a “scriptural boot camp.” He’d reportedly met with preacher Billy Graham during the previous year, who encouraged him to deepen his relationship with God. Read the rest: George W. Bush saved from alcohol.

Zabbai just used God until he felt His warm love

73523542_2456959294358186_3860788287543181312_oZabbai says he “pimped out” God.

In the modern usage of the word, “to pimp” means more than just running a prostitution operation. It means to use something only for your personal benefit.

Whatever linguistic evolution has done to water down the word “pimp,” its usage by Christian rapper Zabbai is still a startling self criticism of his life as a pastor’s kid.

I lived life as a phony Christian
Livin’ in sin knowing I could ask forgiveness
Sick how I manipulated your heart
Pimpin’ you out, treatin’ you just like a broad.

artist_781974-1548001580At 17, Bradsley Rumble came to terms with the Jesus he avoided in his youth while he was smoking marijuana and “flexing” to get girls.

“It was then (I) realized that truth is not a thing but a person,” he says.

Born of Jamaican culture into a Christian family in Connecticut, Bradsley, who now goes by a stage name, struggled with fitting in with his peers instead of standing out as a church goody-goody.

Beginning in the 9th grade, he practiced hip hop. When he came to Jesus, he ditched the sin and donned the rap. He adopted the name Zabbai from the Old Testament, which he says means “wanderer, pure, flowing.” Read the rest: Zabbai Christian rap artist

He always won until his he lost his wife

zGkHc3DQ_400x400Chicago Bears star Tommie Harris was the best at everything, but he’d never been tested — until his wife died unexpectedly 41 days into their marriage.

“I was #1 getting drafted, #1 going to Oklahoma University, so I never was tested,” Harris recounts on a Grace For Purpose video. “I knew God in a good place. I didn’t know Him in a place when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go.”

The Texas native was playing for the San Diego Chargers at the time. On a visit from his fiancé, Tommie decided to move the wedding date forward and go to the courthouse right then and there on New Year’s. They already had two kids together.

tommie harris and wifeThe church ceremony would come a few months later, and to fit the white dress better, Ashley wanted a breast reduction. It was a simple procedure, but she never woke up. A brain aneurysm tragically snuffed her life out on the operating table in 2012.

“I had something like $25 million in the bank when I lost Ashley, and not one dollar had been able to help her,” Tommie laments. “If it could have, I would have given every last cent to save my wife.” Read the rest of Tommie Harris’ loss.

Tua Tagovailoa honors Jesus with eye black

tua crimson tide christianWhen the collegiate national championship game is played Monday, the two quarterbacks competing against each other on the gridiron will both be Christians.

Trevor Lawrence at Clemson and Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama are outspoken believers who put their faith before football.

tua points to godLawrence boasts a 67% passing accuracy this season, while Tua enjoyed 70% pinpoint precision.

Tua, whose full Somoan name is Tuanigamanuolepola, made Hawaiian waves (he’s from Hawaii, so of course…) when he posted a picture of himself with eye black painted in the form of the cross under his eyes against Tennessee University.

“Jesus pride!!! Go Tua…and all others who stand for Christ,” one person commented on Facebook. “I appreciate the fact that he isn’t at all shy about his faith. Way to go Tua!”

tua tagovailoaTua selected the Crimson Tide of Alabama University despite intense competition for the quarterback position because Christianity is a big part of the locker room. The previous year, Jalen Hurts won the SEC offensive player of the year as the Crimson QB.

“A lot of people are rooted in the Word over here just like back home,” Tagovailoa noted on BamaInsider. “The Southern hospitality is almost the same as the love and the kindness that they show back at home.

with his parents diana and galu“You have to go places to compete, so why not come to the best place?” he added. “You want to play with the best, I guess. That’s kind of my thing. Anywhere you go, you’re going to have to compete.”

Tua was given a chance to play during some blowout games during his freshman season. But in the championship game when Hurts was losing at the first half, Tua was given the nod to lead his team to a comeback 26-23 victory against Georgia last season. Read the rest of the story of Tua Christian

Bizzle sizzles in controversy for Jesus

Bizzle (1)When he finally turned his back on the gold chains, the flashy rims and the swanky garb; when he finally turned his back on trafficking and pimping to make money to produce a rap album; when he chose Jesus, God came through for Bizzle in a big way.

With no resources other than the Bible in his hand and Jesus in his heart, Bizzle was given engineers, studio time and producers free of charge to whip out his first album — a Christian mixtape.

“You feel like you have to play by Satan’s rules in order to get where you want,” says Bizzle, whose real name is Mark Julian Felder. “All the stuff I felt that we had to go and cut corners and scheme to get money to pay for, the Lord brought these things without me having to spend a dime. He just sent them my way.”

bizzle same loveToday, Bizzle, 35, has 12 Christian albums and mixtapes and his own recording label, which is called — what else? — God Over Money. His current Light Work EP cracked iTunes top 10. His material is both a compliment and counterpoint to Christian hip-hop legend Lecrae.

Bizzle was raised in Cudahy, a small neighborhood of Los Angeles, by his mother and grandmother, who dragged him to church. He never felt poor because Mom managed their Section 8 with wisdom. His dad lived in nearby Compton, a famous exporter of rap artists.

Bizzle had verses in his veins from early childhood. His idol was Tupac, and he became enamored with the vaunted thug life of pistols, revenge and crime. When he graduated from high school, he hawked mixtapes with worldly themes, bragging about gangster living he never did.

51407e9dd2b66bff47fec4055390aa1923905c90Then under the rap moniker “Lavyss,” he started to catch the eye of rap power brokers and opened shows for Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana and Lil Boosie, but he was sleeping at friends’ places or in his car. He borrowed finery and gold chains to look the part on stage. He got friends to drive him up in their ritzy “whips” when he arrived at concerts. He produced some mixtapes that showed promise.

But he wasn’t making money. So he decided he needed to turn to practicing what he preached (crime) to speed up the money-making. He began selling marijuana and pills. A prostitute who liked his music offered to help and started passing him earnings. That’s how he became a pimp.

“It’s like you go to the beach and you get out in the water and you don’t notice how far you’re getting way out there in the deep,” Bizzle says on his testimony video. “It wasn’t until I looked at Christ and saw how righteous He was that I realized how filthy I was.

“I never in a million years” would pimp, Bizzle says now. “Especially since I was raised by my mother and my grandmother, I always had respect for women. But since that was funding my dream at the moment, I gave it a pass. That was the furthest I got from God and it caused me to get the closest to God.”

Bizzle and a friend went to Las Vegas to hustle money with the prostitute. Bizzle had the habit of stowing her profits in his Bible. But he also read the Bible, and it intrigued him. One day his buddy came out of the shower and caught him reading his Bible.

“So what you gonna be a gospel rapper now?” his buddy mocked.

bizzle wife

Now his wife

“You know what? I might,” Bizzle responded. “One day the Lord just had to put that conviction on my heart.”

After four years of rapping dirty lyrics and doing dirty deeds, Bizzle decided to switch to the Lord’s side in 2008. He surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and was born-again!

He had no funds but he was determined to serve the Lord instead of Satan. He took two years off, got married to his love in Houston and worked at Wal-Mart. Then he staged his return to rap, now for CHH.

It would be fair to say that Bizzle exploded onto the Christian hip hop scene with his 2010 song “You Got Some Explaining To Do” in which he called out Jay-Z and Beyoncé for their anti-Christian themes and lifestyles. Jay-Z and similar rappers were his childhood idols that led him down the wrong path. Now he was calling them to account.

Being brutally honest and criticizing a rival is regular fare for the hip hop genre, so not even Bizzle — still pretty much an unknown in rap world — could have imagined the controversy he generated. He had demanded Jay-Z explain what he was doing, but Bizzle found himself compelled to explain his diss.

It wasn’t necessarily a publicity stunt, but it worked well. Suddenly industry engineers came out of the woodwork and offered their services for free. Boi 1da (Matthew Jehu Samuels) — who produced Drake, Rihanna, Eminem, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar — called him and, saying he was a Christian, offered to produce him for free.

“When I decided to do rap for the Lord, I had no resources. I didn’t have any money for studio time. I didn’t have anybody to mix the records,” he says. Then “people started coming out of the blue.” Read the rest about Bizzle controversial Christian hip hop artist.

He threw a bottle at his rival’s head. His rival responded with gunfire.

chris bassett Jesus saved from gangsChris Bassett’s first interaction with God started when he attended a Christian karate class at age 8 or 9 years old at the Harbor Church in Lomita, California.

The class started with 20 minutes of Bible study and a call for salvation before the free karate lessons. One day, Chris felt like the pastor was talking directly to him, so he raised his hand at the altar call to receive Jesus.

“I felt the Spirit of God come down and descend on me like electricity through my body,” he recalls. “I remember walking away from that experience feeling cleansed, brand new. It was so tangible to me.”

He wished this was the end of his testimony and that his path to Christ was that simple, but it was not.

In later years, Chris entered junior high school and began feeling “super cool.” He slowly forgot God.

He got involved in a gang lifestyle, which was easy since a lot of friends and family were in the gang.

“It looked glamorous. The glamour was a lure,” Chris says. “These men I looked up to had a way of carrying themselves that was attractive. They had the nicest cars, the prettiest women, money, power, respect. If you grew up in the hood, you knew who was running the block. It was something exclusive. You had to prove yourself through violence. Once you were in, you were accepted, loved in a way. I knew my boys had my back. If I had any trouble, with just one phone call, I knew I had a carload of goons kicking down the door for me.

But as he participated in the gangster life, he became aware of the downsides.

“The reality of (gangs) is a nightmare. At the heart of gang-banging, I truly believe, (there) is a murderous demonic force, full of death and destruction,” Chris says. “I’ve been to many funerals. I’ve lost a lot of friends and family to that lifestyle, shot dead in the streets. I shot my first man when I was 15. I can still hear my ears ringing from the gunshot. I can still hear him screaming and praying to God. I can still see the blood pouring out of his head like a waterfall, so much blood that I could taste it in the air.”

Incredibly, his victim survived, and Chris fought a reduced attempted murder charge.

“That was just the beginning of my crimes in my gang-banging career,” he says grimly.

Chris not only shot but got shot at on numerous occasions. He’s been stabbed. He’s spent time in jail. He lost friends. Worse, he realized he was losing yourself.

There wasn’t one single moment that brought him to God, but progressively, Chris feels, God was “opening his eyes.”

One of those “opening eyes” moments was when he chased down an enemy and threw his Corona beer bottle at his head. The enemy responded by aiming the barrel of a gun straight at him in a red light on Western Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

“I almost got my head blown off,” he says. “I could say now that by God’s grace I survived that because if you could’ve seen the car, everywhere where my head was, the car was blown out. It was a big gun, one with thunder. It was probably five or six seconds. But time slows down through those things. I remember ducking and telling my friend to go, and I remember seeing glass flying.

“I had just kissed my son goodbye because he was going to his mother’s house. I remember coming out of that situation.”

But that incident alone was not enough to wake him up.

He began reflecting soberly about the possibility of dying and leaving his kids fatherless. In the streets he was a monster, but with his kids Chris played the part of a good father. His family was sacred. He pondered the discrepancy between the way he wanted to raise his kids and the way he was living in the streets.

“I remember thinking about my daughters,” he says. “I remember thinking how can I tell them not to smoke weed and I come smelling like Christmas trees?”

What scared him most was not the scrapes with death, but the frightening numbness towards the horrors of his own evil heart. Now, he thinks he was becoming like Pharaoh, whose heart got progressively harder until he was crushed under the Red Sea

But he still didn’t return to the Savior of his childhood because he liked smoking weed and sleeping around with girls. It took him a year.

At a funeral, he had another powerful reflection. Everybody was saying nice things about his fellow gang member.

“I remember thinking, ‘None of these things were true. He was a monster,'” Chris says. “I remember thinking, ‘What about my funeral? What will they say about me?’ I didn’t want my life to be a lie. I wrestled with that. I started negotiating with God.” Getting saved out of gangs.

God helped Ben King overcome purging

Ben King Europe cycling.pngIn the quest for victory in competitive cycling, Ben King submitted himself to grueling training sessions that very nearly made he drop off the edge of healthy choices and even sanity.

“Cycling is one of the most demanding sports in the world. You don’t get to determine the pace; the pace is set. It’s like getting pulled along on a choke collar,” Ben says on White Chair films.

“And then you have the climbs and you get dropped. It’s a very explosive, intense knock out punch. The training, over-reaching, over-compensating, ups and downs burn 6,000 calories. You come back and have to have self-control. The things that you are trying to control end up controlling you. That really starts to wear you down and break you.”

ben king us national road race championshipIn his first competition in Europe at age 16, he was staggered by daunting competition.

“We just got hammered. We got thrashed,” he says. “I’ve never suffered like that just to finish races.”

Ben decided he needed to buckle down and get serious about training. He read about pro-training and diet. He looked at he pros.

“They just looked like skeletons,” he remembers. “I started to believe that the lighter I got, the faster I would get.”

Trying to kick it in high gear, Ben would ride in the morning, lift weights in the middle of the day, go to track practice, go home and cram in his homework — along with swim practice.

ben kind and his wife“I would just die in my bed every night.”

Then he started purging. One night on his way back from swim practice, he decided he had eaten too much, and thinking this would weigh him down on the road race, he pulled over on the side of the road, opened the door and induced vomiting.

“In this twisted way, it gave me this sense of control,” he says. “It became a habitual thing. I began to wear down emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Then blood showed up in the toilet.

“I was totally beating my body into submission. The thing I was trying to control was beginning to control me.”

At 17, Ben was ravaging his body in an abusive self-competition — all in the search of getting faster and faster.

ben king road racerHe was training three to four times a day and was purging every time he felt he had eaten too much.

He arrived home one night and just clumped up the stairs and said goodnight to his mother but she called him back down to wash some dishes.

He was tired and temperamental and went into the kitchen and started to wash the dishes roughly.

Ben broke one of his mom’s favorite bowls and her temper flared.

He began seeing red and ran out the door, into the woods and kept on running. In the dark woods, he remembers staring at the very weird and odd movements of the branches.

“I just felt like I was surrounded by this evil presence,” Ben says. “It may just have been the evil I had allowed into my life.” Read the rest of Ben King Christian cyclist.

He didn’t believe in love, until he saw his pastor’s marriage

Christianity ArgentinaAt all times, his home was filled with fighting.

“I was an angry person that destroyed everything in my life,” says Juan Pablo Cardo of Buenos Aires. “I never saw a pattern of people loving each other. My dad and my mom stayed together fighting a lot with each other. So I didn’t want to be at home.”

Juan Pablo found an outlet for his rage when he enrolled in a military academy at age 13.

Then he visited a church. For the first time in his life, he saw in the pastor, missionary Kim Pensinger, a model for Christian love. Kim and his wife, Josie, visibly demonstrated their love for one another. It seemed so foreign to him, so other-worldly, that he doubted what he was seeing.

Fellowship churches in Argentina“Their love is not real. This is a fake kind of thing. Maybe they kill each other at home,” he thought at the time.

But then he started to see that they really loved each other. And the people in church take care of each other. “I never saw that before. That started to break my thinking process. I wanted that.”

Juan Pablo quit his well-paid job to work at McDonald’s, just because he would have more opportunity to share the Gospel.

“I started witnessing to everybody. I met Silvina,” he says.. “She was my boss — and still today.” (Because they are now married.)

Silvina was smitten — not with Cupid’s arrows, but with the pulsating love of Christ she saw in young Juan Pablo. Read the rest of love and marriage in Argentina

When his dad died, it wasn’t funny

Tim Allen the BuilderFunny man Tim Allen had a very unfunny start to his life that made him doubt God’s existence. When he was 11, his father was killed by a drunk driver.

“I wanted answers that minute from God,” he said in 2012. “‘Do you think this is funny? Do you think this is necessary?’ And I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my Creator ever since.”

He used drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism and then was arrested and convicted of felony possession of 650 grams of cocaine in 1978.

“Don’t ever sell drugs to policemen. They don’t like it, they tend to tell judges, people get you, and then you eat very bad food for a long time,” he wisecracked in an interview with ABC.

allen drug chargeAfter completing his two-year prison sentence, Allen was released and decided to get into comedy, which he says, “saved his life.” Shortly after that, he got a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg of the Walt Disney Studios saying they wanted him to become a part of the Disney family, which he found very ironic considering his felony.

He went on to star in various T.V. shows and films such as The Last Man Standing, The Santa Clause trilogy, Wild Dogs and the Toy Story trilogy (he was the voice of Buzz Lightyear). He was succeeding in the world, but he hadn’t dealt with his demons.

“For years, I just did not like this idea of God, church,” he said. “(I was) still a churchgoer, but constantly a cynic.”

As much as he wrestled with doubts, he couldn’t deny the incredible creation in which he lived. It begged for a logical conclusion.

tim allen lost his father and his faith“Whoever built me, this is too much, too weird that it happened by accident,” Allen said. “It didn’t happen by accident.”

Slowly, Allen began to open his heart to God as he saw His guiding hand throughout his struggles. He reached a point when he dedicated his life to Jesus Christ.

Sometimes Allen refers to God as “the Builder.”

“I always ask… ‘God what did you want me to do?’ But you got to be prepared for the answer,” he said.

Allen has received criticism due to his unflinching stand for faith.

In an episode from Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing (in which he stars as Mike Baxter), Allen found an opportunity to incorporate Jesus Christ. Read the rest of the story about Tim Allen Christianity.

The meaning of meaninglessness

imagesActually, snorting condoms makes perfect sense. As does chewing Tide pods. Along with cutting.

After all, if there is no meaning to life, then why not engage in something meaningless? If an attempt to find value shows your stupidity, then all we have left is getting attention through stupid means.

Atheists will bristle at my mockery, but their insistence that morality is an evolved feature — along humanity’s unusual drive for significance — is absurd. There is no evolutionary sense of morality or man’s quest for importance. Deprive man of God, and you get teens snorting condoms.

images-1And please, my dear atheist friends, don’t tell the gunman plowing down schoolchildren that he is inherently or obviously wrong. What is obvious is that there are no morals, no values, nothing. That is all atheism has to offer: nothing. There is no noble sense to humanity, no purpose, no beauty, no humanity. We are just an evolved species, and the evolutionary economy makes no judgements on killing another animal: it is the way of the alpha male.

You have kicked God out of schools, so kids are turning to insanity to imbue their lives with some semblance of the significance you robbed out of life. Enjoy the fruits of your labors. You have been working for decades through the media you dominate, through Hollywood and through government to cast doubt on God, the Bible, absolute moral codes, eternity and significance. It is working.

downloadBut the end of atheism is not humanism — the betterment of humanity through human effort. The product of atheism is selfishness.

Are there any hospitals around the world founded by atheists? No. But there are countless ones founded by Christians.

This is not to say that atheists are good at nothing. In addition to specializing in selfishness, they are good at sniping at people of faith. It is their delight to wield logical arguments that ridicule the obvious, that all of creation has a Creator. I have seen friends fall from faith under their onslaught. I am not a perfect Christian, nor do I arrogantly pretend to have all the answers. But I know there is a God. And I know He forgives me of my sins and offers me eternal life. I’m not letting go of that. To do so would be surrender to meaninglessness.

Is that you, Messi?

santa-monica-christian-school-soccerThe singular sensation of watching Erhan Meric, who led Lighthouse Christian Academy to a 6-3 victory over Pilgrim Lutheran yesterday, is that one is witnessing the sublime soccer of a type of Messi.

He has Messi’s slight frame, his shyness and unselfishness. Erhan’s never boisterous, not given to braggadocio.

But when the ball falls to his feet, expect to hear an exquisite symphony.

Erhan, a senior at Lighthouse, is unobtrusive on the field. He lurks in open spaces and projects the image of the most unthreatening player.

But when he carried the ball up the right and single-handedly threaded his way through three defenders to slot on goal in the early minutes of the game, he put on notification the other team — indeed, the whole league — that he is not a man to be underestimated.

Erhan scored three and set up one. His header off a Beckham-perfect free kick brought the fourth goal in the second half in the Glendale Sports Complex.

And the good thing about this years Saints varsity team is that Erhan is not the only star. Actually a lot of technically skilled players combined yesterday to overwhelm Pilgrim Lutheran.

“We had good passing and good pressure,” said Coach Jack Mefford. “It was an exciting start to a promising season. We have a lot of new additions who know how to play soccer from the Bowens who grew up in Africa playing soccer to Shun (Fukushige) and Aki (Akihiro Oku) who played in Japan.”

Marcus Scribner, a sophomore, proved a bunker buster on offense, putting his football physique to good use against defenders. He scored two goals.

“Marcus’s two goals show how much he has matured because he struggled to finish last year,” Mefford said.

Aki, a junior, scored one, and Shun launched the goal-scoring free kick – a work of art – that connected with Meric’s head and past the hapless goalie. Read the rest: Saints soccer Santa Monica.

Prevailing strategies for evangelism turned on their head – Lynn Cory and the Neighborhood Initiative

Lynn-Cory-Neighborhood-InitiativeDespite leading a 500-student college group, Pastor Lynn Cory felt something was very wrong with his ministry at a San Fernando Valley mega church. It was too “churchy.”

So after 10 years of thriving ministry, he quit a paid ministerial position and worked for an advertising firm where he could rub elbows with the unsaved and share his faith.

Today, Lynn has an aversion for what other pastors crave: big crowds, fancy buildings and better programs. God has led him to a different approach, bringing individuals to Christ one at a time through “neighboring.”

Neighboring to save souls outreach

He offers some drastic advice: Throw your megaphone in the trash. Ditch the building programs; rid yourself of growth strategies from corporate America; stuff the showmanship of Hollywood. And, above all, dispose of the mantra that bigger size equates with success.

Go and be a neighbor, he advises. Make friends with the people next door. Bake them a pie or invite them to dinner. Shred your packed agenda and share the love of Christ slow-cooker style, by gaining their confidence through months and years.

Lynn calls this approach to evangelism “Neighborhood Initiative,” and has expounded the virtues to turning church paradigms upside down in two books, Neighborhood Initiative and the Love God and The Incarnational Church. This latter book coins the term from what Jesus did: being the face-to-face reference point bringing God to those who don’t know Him.

Lynn sees a movement forming, from Chico, California to Illinois. Even mega church pastors are signing up. They are moving away from the big splash, substituting the unglamorous grind of returning to what the Book of Acts calls “house to house” ministry.

Lynn’s argument is compelling. He cites data from George Barna that found 80% of church growth was membership transfer. Churches are not converting people; they are stealing from churches with fewer resources.

Plus, not every church has the resources to mount a Greg Laurie-style outreach. Because they can’t, many churches have excused themselves entirely. Anyone can visit his neighbor with a pie and show concern for his well-being.

“God moves at the speed of relationship,” one chapter says. Read the rest of Neighborhood Initiative.

Christianity exploding in Iran despite efforts of government to stamp it out

Christians-mark-2014-at-Sarkis-Church-in-Tehran-4-HRChaffing under repressive Islam, young Iranians are secretly turning to Christ in record numbers, and Iranian-born Shahrokh Afshar wanted to be part of the revival. So he filmed 13 programs for young people and offered them to SAT7, which broadcasts Christian programming into Iran via satellite.

“Iran is 25% 14 years or younger. Iran has the largest number of drug addicts per capita in the world. Alcoholism, prostitution. The economy sucks; it’s like 15% unemployment,” Afshar said. “Life is very very hard for the average young Iranian. There wasn’t much being done as far as programs are concerned to reach out to these kids.”

christians-in-underground-church-in-iranIran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world (estimated at 19.6% by Operation World in 2015), despite an atrocious human rights record against people who abandon Islam, according to Christian Today. In fact, the explosive growth has overloaded the religious police.

A network of underground home churches thrives, and at least six satellite stations broadcast Christian programs continually into Iran. Afshar personally knows of 400 house churches with 5000 members. The number of Muslim converts to Christianity was “a handful” before 1971. Now, it is perhaps 1 million.

Afshar’s program, “Clear Like Glass,” cost him $3,000 per episode. Each program includes a funny skit and a frank interview and discussion of taboos in Islam. What people usually hide, Afshar brings to light. He conducted research about his target audience and found they didn’t want just preaching.

Christians in Iran“Clear Like Glass” is being shown over and over again, at least twice a day, Shah said. He is preparing to film another 13 programs.

After the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Afshar joined three Egyptian pastors and one American to drive from Turkey to Baghdad and find pastors whom they could help. The fact-finding mission was fruitful. He connected with pastors from Iran and even gave them training in Turkey.

“My contacts tell me that they walk into a party and tell people they are Christian, and boom, they have an instant audience. People want to hear more about Christ. It’s very very easy for them to share,” Afshar said. “Of course, it’s dangerous. They can end up in prison very easily. But people are read the rest of Revival in Iran.

Conduct science in Grand Canyon? Not if you’re a creationist, Park Service says but gets forced to reverse itself.

Grand Canyon controversyDr. Andrew Snelling, a geologist with a PhD from Sydney University, wanted to extract and examine some 60 fist-sized rocks from the Grand Canyon to research the possibility they were formed through a world-wide flood, not through millions of years of sediment layering, as evolutionists say.

His 2013 formal request to conduct scientific research was summarily denied by the Park Service last year. Dr. Peter Huntoon of the University of Wyoming said Snelling’s proposal was “inappropriate,” describing it as “dead end creationist material,” the Christian News Network reported.

grand canyon evolution or creationWhat are the Park Service administrators afraid he might discover? The arbitrary obstruction of a scientist because of his worldview seemed discriminatory.

Snelling sued in May and won a reversal this month, thanks in part to President Trump’s executive order expanding religious freedom.

“It’s one thing to debate the science, but to deny access to the data not based on the quality of a proposal or the nature of the inquiry, but on what you might do with it is an abuse of government power,” said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian legal defense group that represented Dr. Snelling, according to the New York Times.

grand canyon christian scientist tours

Snelling is an Australian who received his geology doctorate in 1982 from Sydney University in his native city. Initially, he worked with Koongarra uranium deposit in Australia’s Northern Territory and contracted for mining industries that allowed him time to travel and study different geological strata.

In 1998, Snelling joined the Creation Science Foundation. Since 2007, he has worked for Kentucky-based Answers in Genesis, a group of scientists who adhere to the literal biblical account of creation instead of the evolutionary model, according to Science, the publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Snelling is the current director of research for Answers in Genesis.

Snelling has led people on more than 30 river trips in the Grand Canyon and was known to park personnel for undermining their narrative of the geological formation of the park. For years, geologists stated the Grand Canyon was 20 million years old, only to recently revise its age to 5 million. Snelling and other young earth scientists believe Earth’s age to be around 20,000 years, and the Grand Canyon, around 10,000 years.

Dr Gilles Brocard, a fellow Sydney University geologist argues that nuclear analysis dates some rocks from the Grand Canyon to 2 billion years old. He said the Earth is shown by studies to date at 4.5 billion, according to the Guardian.

Snelling is sticking to his guns. Read more about discrimination against Christians in science.

Soft tissue found in dinosaur bones undercuts evolutionary timetable

soft-tissue-dinosaurWhen Mary Schweitzer found soft tissue in dinosaur bone in 2005, her boss got mad.

“Dammit, Mary, the creationists are going to love you,” Jack Horner snapped, according to what she wrote for Biologos.

Indeed, Schweitzer discovery threatened to upset the evolutionary biologists’ timeline for the world because soft tissue decays relatively quickly. If she found soft tissue in bones from a Tyrannosaurus rex perhaps it wasn’t 58 million years old, as the geologists argued. Maybe it was just a few thousand years old – trapped by sediment in a catastrophic worldwide flood and fossilized.

jack horner mary schweitzer

Mary Schweitzer with Jack Horner at a dig site

Smithsonian called her discovery a “shocker;” LiveScience, “contorversial;” and Discovery magazine, “dangerous.” News show 60 Minutes said it “posed a radical challenge to the existing rules of science.”

Young earth creationists, who argue that earth’s history reaches about 10,000 years, cackled with satisfaction.

“I invite the reader to step back and contemplate the obvious,” wrote Carl Wieland on the Answers in Genesis website. “This discovery gives immensely powerful support to the proposition that dinosaur fossils are not millions of years old at all, but were mostly fossilized under catastrophic conditions a few thousand years ago at most.”

soft-tissue-header

What are blood cells doing in dino bones?

For its part, Creation praised Schweitzer’s research as “powerful testimony against the whole idea of dinosaurs living millions of years ago. It speaks volumes for the Bible’s account of a recent creation.

Since her initial discovery, Schweitzer, a molecular paleontologist at North Carolina State University, has found red blood cells, blood vessels, bone cells and even hemoglobin and collagen. A supposedly 80-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur bone has also yielded soft tissue.

CRS-iDino-digging-5The Christian Science Monitor reported this January that scientists found collagen, a protein basic to animal tissue, in an allegedly 195-million-year-old fossil of a Lufengosaurus dinosaur in China.

Proteins are complex molecules which break down quickly and can’t survive for a millennia.
.
But Schweitzer, a conservative evangelical Christian who adheres to evolutionary theory, floated the theory in 2013 that iron may have preserved the soft tissue much like formaldehyde. If shown to be true, her theory would take wind out of the sails of the young earth Christians.

Schweitzer got her start in paleontology after studying molecular biology. She audited a course with famed paleontologist Jack Horner, the scientist who is trying to create dinosaurs in modern times from chicken DNA. Horner consulted for the movie Jurassic Park.

Schweitzer was thrilled with the course, worked her way through her doctoral degree and began lab work under Horner.

Through three summers of digging , Horner unearthed a T. Rex skeleton from an escarpment in northeastern Montana known as Hell’s Creek. Because of the remoteness and rugged terrain, the bones had to be helicoptered out but were too heavy, so the team reluctantly broke one of the leg bones into two pieces.

Horner handed some of the resulting fragments to Schweitzer to analyze. The first thing she realized was the dinosaur had been a pregnant mother because of the presence of medullary bone, which is a calcium overproduction to supply the eggs. (Originally, the fossil had been nicknamed “Bob.”)

But the real astonishment came when Schweitzer’s team dissolved some fragments in weak acid, a practice that was never done before because it dissolves bone matter. The lab assistant had only tried to eliminate the outer crust on the bone but wound up disintegrating all the hardened minerals.

When Schweitzer looked at the only remaining chunk under the microscope, she couldn’t believe its elasticity. It took her quite some time to realize that it was soft tissue, which had never before been seen by a scientist. Read the rest of the story about soft tissue dinosaur bones.

Converted rapper Ja Rule, tripped up at Fyre Festival, seems to have gone prodigal

ja-ruleWhat has happened to Ja Rule?

The early 2000s hip-hop sensation famously became saved after a stint in prison for tax evasion and illegal possession of a firearm. Specifically, he accepted Christ at New York’s Hillsong church after filming the Christian movie, I’m in Love with a Christian Girl.

But now Ja Rule has become embroiled in the Fyre Festival fiasco. After promoting a bacchanal hedondom to well-heeled millennials, he’s being sued for failing to deliver the lavish hotel, food, rock stars and hotties. Partiers found themselves stranded in refugee camp tents with cheese sandwiches on the Bahamas Island. The stunning models were noticeably absent.

Has the New York rapper become a prodigal?

Famous for “Always on Time” and “Mesmerize,” Ja Rule — born Jeffrey Atkins – had songs ranked in the Top 20 from 1999 to 2005. He received Grammy nominations, notoriety and tons of money, but police busted him for tax evasion. Released from prison in 2013, he picked up a role in the movie I’m In Love with a Church Girl. As he promoted the movie in churches, God began to draw his heart.

Luxury accommodations at Fyre Festival?

His prior involvement in Jehovah’s Witnesses marred his understanding of God. His mother left the group in his pre-teens, and the rest of the family completely ostracized her.

“The family wasn’t speaking to my mother, and I saw how much it hurt her, I didn’t want to have anything to do with the religion,” he said.

But his aversion towards God changed due to his involvement in the movie.

“I kind of reconnected with God by doing the movie,” Ja Rule told a radio station. “I reconnected with God in a different way. I was going to all these different churches, and they were great, but I didn’t feel like they were talking to me until I went to Hillsong right here in the city.”

Hillsong projected a non-traditional image that he found appealing.

“You walk into this church and it’s dark in there and the disco ball is still in there and you see the lights and you’re like, well this is different, and then you get in there and you start to look at everybody around you, and they look just like you,” he said. “It really gave me the feeling that when they say come as you are, they mean the skater kids in the back with the skateboards, like they just came off the street coming to church. It was a different type of crowd.”

In response to one of the sermons, he and his wife, Aisha, were both saved.

His first steps in the Lord were tentative, but he didn’t shy away from discussing them.

“I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. I don’t want people to misconstrue what I’m doing here,” Ja Rule said. “I’m taking baby steps, and I want to get closer to God. I feel it’s something you should do in life.”

But then he was quiet about his faith for a number of years.

Earlier this year, Ja Rule joined brash entrepreneur Billy McFarland in hyping an elitist rock competition on beautiful beaches that was supposed to rival or surpass Coachella.

Ja Rule promised purchasers of $1,200 event ticket they would be “living like movie stars, partying like rock stars, and f—–g like porn stars.”

Hmmm. That doesn’t sound very Christian. Read the rest of Ja Rule Christian.

Mike Pence, a solid Christian influence in the White House

pence trumpWhile 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.

karen and mike pencePence, 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.

Christian-vice-president“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.

A missionary with Muscular Dystrophy

IMG_4500As the #2 executive at the biggest waste hauler west of the Mississippi, Chris Banducci was the envy of his friends. He lounged in a nice house, drove a hot sports car and wallowed in money. “Work hard,” his neighbors told their kids, “and you’ll be a success like him.”

Then, at 29 years old, Chris was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and his world fell apart.

“I was angry. I was lonely. I was miserable and full of self-hatred. I just wanted to die. My drinking got worse; I drank myself to sleep every night,” Chris recalled. “I couldn’t imagine that any woman could love this ‘cripple.’”

taiwan-missionary-in-wheelchairToday, Chris Banducci, 61, is a Christian missionary in Taiwan. With God’s help, he overcame many obstacles and took on increasing challenges as his body began to fail him.

Looking back at his early years, it would be hard to imagine Chris answering a call to the mission field. After he graduated from high school, he drove a trash truck.

“This was the best job I ever had,” he said. “I learned how to operate every bit of equipment at that place, to prepare for a supervisory role. Then I began to learn from my leaders how to manage people and make good business decisions.”

He felt some early physical symptoms of his disease, but shrugged it off.

As a supervisor, he was hated and feared.

cfm-pics-chris-banducci“I mistreated people,” he said. “I stepped on people, lied, cheated and eliminated competition. I was not an easy person to be around. My reputation with women was such that they avoided me.”

Through raw ambition, Chris worked his way up to the director of recycling and resource recovery, second only to the owner and CEO. He reached the pinnacle of success.

“My neighbors would tell their teenage and college-age sons, ‘Look at him. If you work hard and apply yourself, you can be like that!’”

It was heady stuff. But while he relished the admiration, Chris knew on the inside he was a mess. His family lived up north, so he was lonely. He was good at intimidating people but not at making friends. He was drinking heavily.

Then he walked into the doctor’s office one day and received the jolting news. Read the rest of Muscular Dystrophy Missionary.

Geeking on a wave at a Santa Monica private school

surfing-elective-santa-monica-high-schoolBy Kayla Armstrong, LCA sophomore –

Can you imagine getting up at 6:00 am in the cold dark morning?! Especially if you have trouble waking up and feeling like a mummy walking around and putting on swimwear to get in the cold ocean! Well, at the Lighthouse Christian Academy, Pastor Josh Scribner teaches a surfing elective us Christian high school students! It’s nice to have a school right next to the beach of Santa Monica.

His surfing class is a very fun experience for me.

You won’t like the fact of getting up in the morning, but when you get to the beach and just looking at the gigantic waves you get very geeked and excited and it’s lots of fun.

surfing-class-lighthouse-christian-academy

Some heart-beating moments is when you are getting ready to catch the wave and sometimes the wave is so big that when your laying down riding on the wave you can see the sand that is at the bottom of the water and it’s a heart beating moment cause you are so high up that it feels like you are going to fall right into the sand and it the floor but you don’t because as soon as you stand up your weight pushes the surfboard down a little bit to where you are able to ride it and you feel accomplished.

Some funny moments is when looking at one of your classmates, and they don’t see a big wave coming and they get wiped out (the wave knocks them down) and it is very funny because you can’t do anything about it but watch the wave wipe them out. Some people don’t like getting wiped out because sometimes if the wave is really big or another one comes after it you constantly are underwater but as long as you are not scared and know you are going to come back up then you are fine! Because you are able to stand back up.

Surfing class is not for everyone Read the rest of surfing elective at a Santa Monica private school.