Are you really a Christian?

Listen in as Ray Comfort shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Robert in Huntington Beach, CA.

So many people are confused as to what being a Christian really means, how it really works. Sometimes I will ask a person, "In your personal opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to get to Heaven/have eternal life?" Usually, based on what they answer, I can see what that person really believes about salvation. And since I'm just asking their opinion, then they shouldn't feel offended if I were to ask them that question.

Chasing The Wind

Nothing can be more uncongenial with the peace of God and tranquility of soul--than the busy, hurrying, self-seeking spirit of earthly excitements; such as the slavish toil of business, the ardent fever of covetousness, the madness of ambition, and the foolery of fashionable amusements, which has at length descended to the toys of buffoons. ~ James W. Alexander

Like crazy people, we immaturely run around until we are old, chasing after money, power, affection, and pleasure. And while these things are sometimes given as gifts from God's good hands, I've found that trying to chase them down and capture them (as prized game to hang on a shelf) is a silly thing to do. Many men learn this hard lesson on their deathbed, when money can no longer help them, and all their worldly accomplishments and accouterments no longer serve them. When death looms large, nothing else matters except what really matters-- LIFE. "He who dies with the most toys...dies" is a good bumper sticker. I'm asking God to give me wisdom to know how to spend my remaining days working hard, fighting sloth and indifference, building some things, burning others, and enjoying life...all for the greater cause of expanding His kingdom. I want to find a way to turn the "toys of buffoons" into "tools for the King." ~ Kirk Cameron

One Night With The King (2006 movie)

A sweeping epic about Hadassah, the young Jewish orphan who becomes the biblical Esther, Queen of Persia.

Shout To The Lord


Trials & Faith

1 Peter 1:6-7

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Some trials come to our life because God has brought them. He has brought certain problems to your life, not because he hates you but because he loves you and as His child He is trying you in order to purify you, make you better. Sometimes it's because He's trying to make you see something that you didn't see. There is a lot that can come through a trial in your life. My pastor explained it like this: when you have problems in your life it can make you sin more, certain things come up in your life and that is what happens when your faith is test like fire. The impurities come to the surface, but then God wipes it away. It is a great illustration for me and even though I already basically knew about trials and God bringing certain trials to our lives and that these things only last for a season; it was just the way that my pastor explained it like that it made me feel like more insight into it. I have personally been going through a lot of problems/trials in my life and sometimes I feel like "when's it going to end?" or "why me" or "did I do something wrong, am I making my life like this?" and I get really confused sometimes and don't know what to do or how to look at it. I just keep trying to lean on God and continue to trust in Him despite whatever's going on in my life. Since He is my #1 and because He is completely loving and trustworthy, then I know that I can trust that no matter what happens in my life God is in control and He is here with me, not letting me out of His sight. He hasn't forgotten about me. He's right here. And I've heard it more than once before that it's often when God is "being quiet or silent" with us that He is actually the closest to us.

Praying With Authority

By Charles F. Stanley
Bible Study: Strength Through Prayer
Sermon: Standing Tall And Strong Through Prayer

Think about all the scriptural promises God has given about answered prayer. How many do we claim on a daily basis? Too often, we choose instead to complain about our needs and problems. We tiptoe around the throne room of God, afraid to ask for what is really on our heart.

God doesn’t want us to go through life with fear and doubt, wondering if He’ll respond to our requests. He has given us a spirit of power, not one of timidity (2 Tim. 1:7). Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Because we belong to Christ, we can pray with authority and trust that the Father will answer our prayers. We will never accomplish what God wants us to do––such as live holy lives or spread the gospel––until we put our confidence in Him.

Our authority as children of God doesn’t give us license to make demands of Him. We must approach the throne of grace boldly, but with a deep sense of humility. A humble person knows that he or she cannot tell the Lord what to do. We can simply cry out for Him to intervene, knowing that He has given us the privilege to do so.

If we are to participate with God in accomplishing His purposes on earth, praying with authority is essential. There are five prerequisites for approaching the Lord in this manner:

1) Salvation. We must have a genuine personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus. Since our authority is based on our adoption into His family, we must be born again (John 3:5).

2) The mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:11-12). The Bible shows us divine thoughts expressed in human vocabulary. The more we saturate our minds with Scripture, the more God’s mind will become ours. In His Word, we can find basic principles for handling any circumstance we face.

As a result, it becomes easier for us to know His will and have confidence that He is on our side. If we are praying in agreement with God about something, we also know it is just a matter of time until He answers.

It’s also a good idea to look for a prayer recorded in Scripture that is appropriate for your particular situation. Notice how the Lord answered that prayer in the life of the one who prayed it. Now, put it in your own words, and remember that the same God who met needs in Bible times is able to meet your needs too.

3) Pure hearts. This means we must confess and repent of any known sin. God will not trust His power to anyone who isn’t submitted to His purpose. Sin will render our prayers ineffective.

Often, Satan will try to use sin against us when we pray. He wants us to feel guilty and unworthy. But it’s the righteousness of Christ that allows us access to the Father—a gift of God on the basis of faith (Phil. 3:9). So once sin has been properly dealt with, we should stop dwelling on it.

4) Pure motives. We must know in our hearts that we’re praying according to God’s will—not merely justifying our own selfish desires by an inappropriate use of Scripture.

However, not every personal request is selfish. The key is committing our lives to God before we start praying. When the Father knows we desire His will more than the object of our request, He can trust us with His power.

5) Persistent confidence. Many times we pray fervently for a while but then lose interest and say, “Well, I guess it wasn’t God’s will.” But if we’re called to petition the Father with authority, we must lay aside excuses and continue until we see victory.

Praying with confidence is a matter of claiming that which Jesus has already bought and paid for at Calvary. When we intercede with God-given authority, we will see our prayers become the powerful tools they were meant to be. Our lives and the lives of those around us will be changed. His authority has been promised. Now it’s up to us to take hold of what’s already been given. What will you do?

Adapted from “Handle with Prayer” (1992).


Reaching Your Full Potential

By Charles F. Stanley (www.intouch.org)
Bible Study: God's Purpose For Your Life
Sermon: Serving The Purpose Of God

The world may not recognize your potential, but the Lord does. He loves you unconditionally and wants you to discover His unique purpose for your life. God’s process of perfection has two facets:

1. Teaching and Guiding

“Tutoring” is one aspect of the Father’s perfecting process. In many ways, the Holy Spirit is your teacher, and the Bible is His textbook.

Before Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, the law was in effect. God designed it to instruct mankind—to provide a moral boundary and to serve as a “tutor to lead us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24).

Furthermore, we were all given an additional gift: the conscience. Romans 2:14-15 tells us that the Lord created the conscience to teach each person what’s right and wrong. In this way, even those without access to God’s commands would be “a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”

But after a person becomes a Christian and starts growing in faith and knowledge of the Word, God applies the law to his heart. The Holy Spirit will call to remembrance what the Bible says, or He will send people to teach or bring God’s commandments to mind. He also helps the believer understand scriptural principles and reveals the Father’s purpose and desires. You will never outgrow your need for the Spirit.

The law tells you that you must obey. And the Holy Spirit gives you the desire to do so. He works in your life continually to nudge you in the right direction. And like any good educator, He will test you to reveal areas of weakness and growth. The Spirit already knows your heart and how you will respond. The test is for your sake. God wants you to know yourself better.

2. Discipline

Another way God leads us to our full potential is through failures and struggles. In allowing free will, the Lord gave you the freedom to fall short of His purpose for your life—to fail, make mistakes, or sin. But through these shortcomings, the Holy Spirit can mold you into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Many people set unrealistic goals and, when they fall short, have a sense of worthlessness. Others decide on objectives but then never put them into a workable plan. When their goals aren’t met, they can feel frustration and self-doubt. God, however, has no responsibility to help people reach man-made targets. If you and I don’t allow Him to help us set goals, the Holy Spirit may rebuke us so that we choose to be guided by His will rather than our own.

Mistakes are innocent wrongdoings. In making a blunder, we have not willfully chosen to do wrong, although our actions may have terrible consequences. This does not diminish the pain mistakes cause. The Lord allows these types of errors as part of the teaching process. Ultimately, our goal should be total reliance upon the Holy Spirit for guidance in day-to-day decisions and activities.

Sin, on the other hand, is a willful act of disobedience against the Father, and it separates us from fellowship with Him. The Holy Spirit will prick our conscience with an ever-sharp needle until we acknowledge our rebellion. He will convict us repeatedly and with increasing fervor so that we might turn from wrongdoing and back to the Father.

Falling short of our potential means missing God’s unique destiny for our life. Perhaps we don’t recognize what the Lord has created us to be, or maybe we resist cooperating with His plan—through neglect, lack of effort, or outright rebellion. The Holy Spirit is never satisfied with some human preference for the status quo. He draws us to the full perfection of Jesus Christ and the hope of a bright tomorrow.

Your True Destiny

So, how do you reach your full potential? The answer is simple—it must begin with handing your life over to Christ. Through teaching and discipline, the Lord molds and perfects us for His purposes. The Holy Spirit works in our lives, changing us so that we will accept and follow God’s will.

When you truly grasp the Lord’s commitment to helping you fulfill your destiny, hope is inevitable. Rekindle your passion today by regaining sight of your God-given capacities as well as His promise to develop them. Our heavenly Father is in charge of fulfilling the potential He has given you—trust Him to do exactly that.

Adapted from “Discover Your Destiny” (1997).

Missing the forest for the trees

by John Paul Jackson, May 2010 article
April Article: What has God put in your heart to do?

Some followers of Christ can get so wrapped up in pursuing the details of His direction that they ignore the “road signs” He has put right in front of them. They don’t realize that in many cases, He has already prepared them for the journey, and all they need to do is move forward.

Take a look at some of the heroes of the faith. Gideon was told he would defeat the Midianites. He was told to kill the second calf, tear down the altars of Baal, send home anyone who was afraid — and 22,000 men left, which dwindled his army to a mere 10,000. Then, to prove a point, God separated out the remaining men and sent home 9,700 more. Gideon now had an army of 300, and apparently, the only instruction God gave him was to sneak down to the Midianite camp to be strengthened “if” he needed it. That was it; that was all the direction Gideon received. Yet he and his small group of soldiers attacked the eastern tribes who had come against Israel and killed 120,000 men.

Before Gideon, there was Abraham, who was told to go to a land promised him by God. But he was never told how to get there. Then there is the case of Elijah, who, during a harsh drought, was sent by God to a woman in Zarephath — a woman God had prepared to take care of him. But when Elijah got there, the woman had no clue what was going on. She had one meal of flour and oil left for her and her son; then they were going to die. God said He had prepared her, but she had no idea Elijah was coming. What kind of “preparation” is that?

My point is this: Too many times we expect God to tell us more than He plans to tell us. As the days and years pass, we often find ourselves wondering when He is going to give us clearer direction. I will do what You want me to do, God — I just need to know how. You have told me to take these steps, but I don’t know how to start. Could You give me specifics? Details would be great. I’ll go forward the moment You tell me what to do.

Frequently, it seems to me that God tells us what to do in the beginning (He gives us His vision), then He places within our hearts everything else we need for the choices we will have to make in the journey, even down to the way we sling our sword in the midst of the battle. Conversely, if we wait until we have all the answers before we take any action, we won’t get very far, and we’ll eventually find ourselves sitting down and doing nothing. There, in that place of spiritual paralysis, we quickly atrophy and wonder why the prophecy never came to pass. We are waiting on God, and all the while, God is waiting on us.

Can we move forward presumptuously? Yes — but only if we do more than God said or add to what He said. Admittedly it is a fine line, but those sensitive to God’s voice will not cross it. They will feel the check or nudge of the Spirit before they go too far.

God wants us to reach what we were meant to reach, to be the people He created us to be. Just as He gives a way out of temptation every time (1 Corinthians 10:13), so He will prepare us to do what He has for us to do, whatever that is, every time.

We live in a day and age when we must be sensitive to God’s immediate plan. If we wait to start the journey until we have all the answers, we may find that we are full of potential but never achieve that potential. It is sad to see a life wasted for lack of movement. I have seen that far too often.

What is the difference between a mediocre life and that of a champion? One significant difference is this: When they know God has spoken, leaders and champions go toward the sound of His voice. Not all of them know how to get there. For some, not even the next step is visible. But they know what has stirred their hearts — the draw of the Holy Spirit that directs them toward a goal — and they fully believe that what God has said, He will do.

Sometimes it is good to wait for God to give us details. But often, He is waiting for us to trust Him and make the next move.


Sri Lanka Flooding Called Worst Natural Disaster Since 2004 Asian Tsunami - Gospel for Asia

Sri Lanka Flooding Called Worst Natural Disaster Since 2004 Asian Tsunami - Gospel for Asia


Who or what determines cultural morality?

An Atheist on a Talk Show
from Answers In Genesis (www.aig.org)

This background is helpful in offering the context of a conversation I had with a caller on a radio talk show. The conversation went something like this:

Caller: “I’m an atheist, and I want to tell you Christians that if you believe Cain married his sister, then that’s immoral.”

AiG: “If you’re an atheist, then that means you don’t believe in any personal God, right?”

Caller: “Correct!”

AiG: “Then if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe there’s such a thing as an absolute authority. Therefore, you believe everyone has a right to their own opinions—to make their own rules about life if they can get away with it, correct?”

Caller: “Yes, you’re right.”

AiG: “Then, sir, you can’t call me immoral; after all, you’re an atheist, who doesn’t believe in any absolute authority.”

AiG: “Do you believe all humans evolved from apelike ancestors?”

Caller: “Yes, I certainly believe evolution is fact.”

AiG: “Then, sir, from your perspective on life, if man is just some sort of animal who evolved, and if there’s no absolute authority, then marriage is whatever you want to define it to be—if you can get away with it in the culture you live in.

“It could be two men, two women or one man and ten women; in fact, it doesn’t even have to be a man with another human—it could be a man with an animal.2

“I’m sorry, sir, that you think Christians have a problem. I think it’s you who has the problem. Without an absolute authority, marriage, or any other aspect of how to live in society, is determined on the basis of opinion and ultimately could be anything one decides—if the culture as a whole will allow you to get away with this. You have the problem, not me.”

It was a fascinating—and revealing—exchange.

So the questions, then, that could be posed to this caller and other skeptics are: “Who has the right to determine what is good or bad, or what is morally right or wrong in the culture? Who determines whether marriage as an institution should be adhered to, and if so, what the rules should be?”


VOM–USA Prayer Update for May 21, 2010

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
“Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin cursed earth have been men and women of prayer. You will find that prayer has been the mighty power that has moved not only God, but man.” D L Moody
praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18

MOROCCO — Christians Deported — VOM Contacts

2 Thessalonians 1:3–5
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

The Moroccan government has deported twenty-eight Christian workers so far in May, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. “The Moroccan government continues political pressures against us Moroccan believers and against the foreign workers, and if it stopped for a while before, it was only to restart again and strongly,” VOM contacts said. “Please continue to pray and also to act, because if this … continues, soon we’ll not be deported but [we will be] arrested or even killed.” Pray that God will encourage the deported believers and enable them to forgive their persecutors, and pray for God’s protection of all Christians in Morocco.

CHINA — : Family Allowed to Visit Uyghur Church Leader — China Aid Association

Romans 8:34–36
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

On April 20, the family of Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang Yimiti was allowed to visit him for the first time since his arrest in January 2008, according to China Aid Association. Alimujiang’s wife, Gulinuer, and two sons, along with Alimujiang’s mother and sister, were allowed to talk with him for 15 minutes by phone through a glass barrier. The family reported that Alimujiang was noticeably thinner but in good spirits. Officials have now granted Gulinuer and other close family members permission to visit Alimujiang once a month. Alimujiang was sentenced to 15 years in prison in October 2009 for “providing state secrets to overseas organizations.” Praise God that Alimujiang’s family may now visit him. Pray that God will continue to encourage and protect Alimujiang in prison, and pray that he and his family will be powerful witnesses of God’s love and forgiveness to his captors.

SOMALIA — Another Christian Killed — Compass Direct News

Psalm 13:3–4
Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

On May 4, members of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab killed an underground church leader in Xarardheere, Mudug region, Somalia, according to Compass Direct News. The extremists, who were battling a rival rebel group for control of the area, were searching house to house for enemy fighters when they arrived at the home of 57-year-old Yusuf Ali Nur, a school teacher and underground church leader. They suspected that Yusuf was a Christian, so they shot him multiple times at close range, killing him. Yusuf is survived by his wife and three children, ages 7, 9 and 11. Al-Shabaab, which is linked with al-Qaeda, has reportedly vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity. In recent months, several Somali Christians have been killed by the group in execution-style murders, including one murder as recently as late March. Pray that Yusuf’s loved ones will trust in God’s unfailing love and that Yusuf’s legacy will embolden other believers to walk a path of steadfast faith, even amid great adversity. Pray that God will encourage and strengthen members of the Somali church.

Add the PrisonerAlert.com application on Facebook by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/prisoneralert/

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Maryam & Mazrieh Acquited & Free

PRESS RELEASE: Saturday, May 22, 2010

Maryam & Marzieh: Acquitted and free

Fourteen months after they were arrested for their Christian faith and activities, Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh have been acquitted of all charges by the Iranian judicial authorities. However, they were warned that any future Christian activity in Iran will be seriously dealt with.

Today, Saturday May 22, 2010, they left Iran and arrived safely in another country. Sam and Lin Yeghnazar, founders of Elam Ministries and spiritual parents to Maryam and Marzieh, met them at the airport. It was a tearful reunion. “It was very emotional when we first saw them,” said Lin Yeghnazar, “Now, we want to see them rest and recover.”

Maryam and Marzieh are eager to thank Christians who have been praying for them. “We are most grateful to everyone who prayed for us,” Marzieh said, “I have no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people.” Maryam added, “I believe our arrest, imprisonment and subsequent release were in the timing and plan of God, and it was all for His glory. But the prayers of people encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal.”

Both young women have shown exceptional courage, daring to tell an Islamic judge that they would never deny their faith in Christ. When Sam Yeghnazar told them their example had encouraged countless people around the world, they were quick to respond, “We are frail human beings with many weaknesses. The honour and glory go to God who has kept and used us, although we don’t know why He has chosen us. All the glory goes to Him.”

Maryam and Marzieh were arrested in March 2009 because of their Christian faith and were repeatedly placed under great pressure to recant and deny Jesus Christ. They faced repeated interrogations, weeks in solitary confinement, and unhealthy prison conditions. Both became seriously sick during their imprisonment and did not receive the treatment they needed which greatly increased their suffering. Senior judges and officials also intimidated them.

Despite this, they remained faithful to Jesus Christ and did not deny Him. After their conditional release from prison in November 2009, they have had a very trying six months waiting for their case to be heard in an Islamic court where they could have been sentenced to prison again.

“We have seen the Lord do miracles over and over again. He kept us and gave us favour in prison, and sustained us during a very difficult period of waiting for our final trial,” said Marzieh.

Maryam and Marzieh have lived through many experiences during the last fourteen months. The days ahead are not certain. However, they are determined to serve the Lord and the Iranian church. “We hope to eventually share some of what the Lord allowed us to go through to highlight the need and the opportunity for the church in Iran, but right now we will take time to pray and seek the Lord for His will,” said Maryam.

“On behalf of Maryam and Marzieh, and the entire Elam team, I would like to thank all the believers around the world who have interceded so faithfully for Maryam and Marzieh and the church in Iran,” says Sam Yeghnazar.

Please continue to pray for Maryam and Marzieh to fully recover and continue in fruitful ministry.

We look forward to providing continued updates on their situation.

In His Grace,

Pray for Iran


"For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
— Psalm 91:11-12

Faith Team (Update)

Well, tonight ended this semester of Faith Team. One of my team members wasn't there tonight, so we ended up going out with Brother Tim (our music minister/sunday school director). We visited four people.

The first was a teenage boy named Austin. I gave him the Faith Outline, afterwards he said that he had accepted Christ a few weeks ago on april 29th. So, we just encouraged him in that and told him about our youth group. He mentioned that his brother, who is 13, is sick. But, he didn't say from what. But, at the end we prayed.

Then, we went to see Amy who said that she got saved when she was 15 and was baptized. She wasn't really into church back then and stopped going for a long time, but has been going to church for the past five years now. She goes to a church in a different town and her dad is actually the pastor of the church she goes to.

Then, we visted Ashley who had made a profession of faith at our church's programme of "Heaven's Gate, Hell's Flames." So, we came and spoke to her about baptism. She said that she really wanted to get baptized. But, she hadn't been coming to church for a while, and she felt bad about that. We encouraged her to come and to get baptized.

The last visit we had was to Jose and he hadn't been in church for a while, so we encouraged him to come to church. He said that he would be there this sunday.

Overall, a good night with a lot of visits. What a way to end a semester of Faith Team.


Movie Preview: To Save A Life

To Save a Life Movie With NOTW from NOTW on Vimeo.

After a childhood friend's death, Jake Taylor, an all-star athlete must change his life - and sacrifice his dreams to save the lives of others.

Pentecost (New Testament)

The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in Acts 2:1-4:[4]

On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind. It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.

The apostles received the Holy Spirit and were miraculously enabled to go out into Jerusalem prophesying and speaking in languages that all the visitors to Jerusalem could understand as told further in Acts 2:5-6:[5]

Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem ... they were hearing everything in their own languages.

The noise and activity attracted a huge crowd and the Apostle Peter preached a sermon to the crowd with great effectiveness, as Acts 2:41[6] reports: "On that day about three thousand believed his message and were baptised."

Many Jews from throughout the world were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot (also called Pentecost or the Feast of First Fruits) as was the custom and commandment of God (as shown in the Old Testament). The event that is spoken of in the Book of Acts took place on Pentecost and was soon after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. At this point the Apostles, taking after Jesus, were now leading the church yet hadn't yet received the Holy Spirit of God. They were waiting. Then, they received it and it was like "great, mighty tongues of fire coming down on them." This gave them the power and insight from God to be able to do what they did that day. Many people came to faith in Jesus after that day. It is traditionally referred to as the birth of the Church and the day they received the Holy Spirit, as all of those who come to the faith receive.

Shavuot (Pentecost)

IFCJ: Celebrating Shavuot in the Holy Land
Dear Friend of Israel,

At sundown on Tuesday, May 18, Jews will celebrate the festival of Shavuot, a holiday with dual significance. The Bible states, "From the day after the Sabbath … count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:15-16). Thus, on Shavuot Jews commemorate the time in ancient days when the “first fruits” were harvested and brought to the holy Temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God.

The second event commemorated on Shavuot is the giving of the Torah (the first five books of what Christians call the Old Testament) to Moses on Mount Sinai. God's law, as expressed in the Torah, is the source of the unique character, faith, and destiny of the Jewish people. It also forms the moral foundation of Western civilization and its institutions, which makes it of critical importance not just for Jews, but for Christians, and indeed the entire world.

As I discussed last week, Israel has just marked the 43rd anniversary of the liberation of the city of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War. Shavuot that year fell just six days after the Holy City was reclaimed, and on that holiday thousands of grateful Jewish pilgrims were able to see the holy sites to which they had so long been denied access. One Israeli magazine described the extraordinary scene on Shavuot, 1967:

"For the first time since the Dispersion in the year 70 C.E. a pilgrimage numbering two hundred thousand persons moved under the Flag of Israel through the streets of King David's City to the last surviving relic of the Second Temple. Every section of the population was represented, kibbutz members and soldiers in tallitot (prayer shawls) rubbing shoulders with ultra-orthodox rabbis. Mothers came with children in prams, and old men trudged steeply up Mount Zion, supported by youngsters on either side, to see the Wall of the Temple before the end of their days… Some wept, but most faces were wreathed in smiles."

Every year now on Shavuot people from all over Jerusalem stream to the Western Wall in early morning to pray at a sunrise service. It is a fitting way to observe this significant Jewish festival, to honor their biblical commitment, and to give thanks to God.

Today, I ask you to please say a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray that the Jewish people will always be able to celebrate the festival of Shavuot in Jerusalem, the holiest city of all Judaism, and the capital of the sovereign Jewish State. And let us all - Jews and Christians alike - give thanks to God for the precious gift of His word.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Yechiel Eckstein

Faith Team

Today is my last day for Faith Team at church. It is an evangelism group that we have twice a year for 3 months each. We go out on Tuesday nights and witness, minister and welcome new people to the community (welcome wagons). So far this season has been pretty good for me. I missed two weeks for being ill, but I got to share the Faith Outline several times (basically an outline of the Gospel message) and re-learnt the basics of the training. I liked the team I was on. We planted a lot of seed. It was a much better season for me than the last one I had I think because I shared the outline a lot more. I was picked a lot because I have a good memory and it was easy for me to remember the outline. The more experience I had, the easier it was for me and the less nervous I was in giving it. So far in the season we've had a lot of professions of faith, some baptisms and new people attend and join our church as a result of the efforts of Faith Team. But, of course, all the glory goes to God as the whole point of Faith Team is to bring glory to God, and to help people to know the Lord and connect with our churches.



Selected Bible Quotes On Wisdom

The difference between knowledge and wisdom: Knowledge is attaining or learning information. Wisdom is the ability to know how to use that knowledge, or the ability to make good choices.

Some Bible Quotes On Wisdom

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight,

Proverbs 8:1 Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?

Proverbs 9:1 Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 14:33 Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.

Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"--but this was beyond me.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

Ecclesiastes 8:1 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.

Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 10:1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.

Job 11:6 If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!

Job 28:28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

1 Kings 4:30 Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.

Daniel 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

Daniel 2:23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."

Luke 2:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.

Luke 11:49 This is what God in his wisdom said about you: 'I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.'

Luke 21:15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

Acts 6:10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

Acts 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

1 Corinthians 1:21-22 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:27 No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

1 Corinthians 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

1 Corinthians 2:5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness";

1 Corinthians 12:8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.

Ephesians 1:8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 3:10 God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places

Colossians 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

2 Peter 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"

Revelation 7:12 saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

Revelation 13:18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

Revelation 17:9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits,

the list goes on and on


Robot Weds Tokyo Couple

Watch CBS News Videos Online
Japan has hosted the world's first wedding to be conducted by a robot.

The automated creature, known as the I-Fairy, oversaw the wedding of Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue in the capital, Tokyo.

The couple decided to use the robot as they are both connected with Japan's thriving robotics industry.

Since robots had brought them together in the first place, they said, having one officiate at their wedding was a natural choice.

During the ceremony, I-Fairy - which has flashing eyes and plastic pigtails - instructed the groom to lift the bride's veil for the kiss.

The wedding took part in a rooftop restaurant in the Japanese capital.

news sources: CBS News (video), BBC News (article)
"Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." ~Abraham Lincoln

Michael Jr. - TBN Interview

Once in a generation, a comedian comes along who speaks to everyone. Today, that comedian is known simply as Michael Jr.

Imagine a line from Bugs Bunny to Bill Cosby and you’ll have an idea of Michael’s influences. Watch him onstage and you’ll see a man at ease…with himself, his audience, and his message. Listen to his voice and you’ll detect a comfortable, conversational style that hides a sly sense of mischief. Hear his words and you’ll laugh at the universal themes that connect us all.

Michael’s entry into comedy was almost preordained. Years ago in a crowded Grand Rapids, Michigan movie theater, the projector malfunctioned. The film snapped, the house lights came on, and acting on a dare, young Michael jumped in front of the restless crowd and took center stage. When the theater manager tried to usher him out, the audience demanded he stay…and Michael Jr. discovered his gift.

Comedian George Wallace offered Michael his first break when he took him to the legendary Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, home of Jay Leno and “The Tonight Show” staff. The club’s owner slipped Michael onstage…and a week later Michael was performing at the “Just for Laughs” comedy festival in Montreal, where he became the first comedian to ever appear live via satellite on “The Tonight Show.”

That performance catapulted Michael’s career and has resulted in additional appearances on “The Tonight Show,” Comedy Central, “The Late, Late Show, ” BET, “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” SiTV, “The Byron Allen Show,” and any more. You’ll also find him at the most prestigious comedy clubs across he nation, including The Improv, The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, The Punchline, The Comic Strip, and Zany’s. If that weren’t enough, Michael’s versatility takes him from major universities such as Notre Dame, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Alabama, to church events ranging from the 60,000 member Willow Creek Church in Chicago to the 17,000 member West Angeles Church in L.A. And now, you can see him in “Thou Shalt Laugh,” a comedy DVD released by Warner Bros.

How can one man be equally at home in the heartland and the inner city; churches and prisons; corporate events and youth rallies? Michael calls it comedy accountability.

“If I’m in a club, my material has to be clean enough to work in a church. If I’m in a pulpit, it has to be funny enough to work in a club.”

On the home front, Michael is happily married. He and his wife are the proud parents of four beautiful children.

What would it take?

I once saw a Christian short-film and I don't remember the name of it (like it if I could), and it was about a young man that is an atheist. No matter what God does to show Himself to him, that there is solid evidence/proof of God, the young man won't believe it. Throughout the film, you see different instances when you would think that finally the young man will believe, but everytime the guy just keeps denying it. It doesn't make sense. Eventually, after getting lost and terribly dehydrated out in a desert the young man passes out, becomes unconscious and during this He actually sees God with his own two eyes. He realizes this is real and not a dream or hallucination. He asks God why He never showed Himself like this to him before otherwise he would have believed in Him a long time ago. He decides that when he wakes up he's going to tell people that he's seen God that he now believes. But, when the young man becomes conscience and is asked what happened to him, the young man simply says, "nothing." He actually goes on continuing to deny the existence of God just as he always had.
I think the overall point of the film is to show that unless you are willing to believe in your heart, then no matter what God does to reveal Himself, you will still not believe. Some people think, if God did this then I would believe or if this happened then I would believe. But, the reality is that there is already evidence, proof of His existence everywhere. But, if you are unwilling, if you won't open your eyes and heart then no matter what happens you never will believe. It's not the lack of evidence that's the problem, it's your lack of a willingness to see and believe for yourself. It is through faith that you will truly see God.



God is peace – 1 Thessalonians 5:23

God sent His son, Jesus to be the Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6

When we become followers of Jesus, we can have His peace – John 16:33

Staying connected to God gives us peace – John 15

The Spirit of God produces peace in our lives – Galatians 5:22

The deep, abiding peace from God is almost unexplainable – Philippians 4:7

One day, we will live in peace forever – Isaiah 57:2

Why Is God’s Character Important?

by Steve Ham, AiG-U.S.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)

In God We Trust takes a deeper look at living a truly God-focused life. You’ll learn not only to defend your faith according to the authority of God’s Word, but also to live it out in every part of life.

Today’s big question: why is God’s character important?

When Moses was told by God to go to Pharaoh and ask him to release the people of Israel from bondage, he went to deliver a message that he knew would not be well received. Moses anticipated the logical question that the Egyptians would ask of him, so he asked it of God: “who shall I say has sent me?” Whether it’s a big claim, request, or even command, the strength is found only in its source of origin. Moses was told to go to Pharaoh and tell him that this command came from the “I Am.” This very statement of who God is was to point to God’s limitless and flawless character. The omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God, the I Am was sending His message to Pharaoh through His mouthpiece, Moses.

Claims of Scripture are similar to this. In today’s verse from 2 Peter, we read one of the big claims of the Bible. This is that none of it came from human will or interpretation but from the very inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who is God.

In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read that the Bible was actually “breathed out” (the Greek word theopneustos, often translated “inspired”) from God. This means that anyone reading the Bible is truly reading the Word of God. The reliability, credibility, and authority of this Word is ultimately dependent upon the character of its source. If we were to read this book and find inconsistency in the character of God, how then could we take the Bible’s claims of ultimate and pure truth as being credible? If there were “flaws” in God’s power (which there are not), how could we ultimately accept His authority?

Moses had none of his own authority to command Pharaoh, but the authority of the command to “let my people go” came from the sovereign Author of all things. Pharaoh doubted God’s kingship, but he experienced the consistency of God’s character through plagues, losing his own son, and in the drowning of his army. We too must not simply read that God has a flawless character but see this consistency in the pages of His Word.

Today’s big idea: the Bible’s claims are as strong as the God who makes them.

What to pray: ask God to show His awesome character to you through the pages of the Bible that you might submit to the authority of His Word.

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (Jesus), so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

"In Him (Jesus), we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:7

"For it by grace that you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Can Creationists Be “Real” Scientists?

by Answers In Genesis www.answersingenesis.orghttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Some evolutionists have stated that creationists cannot be real scientists. Several years ago, the National Academy of Sciences published a guidebook entitled Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science. This guidebook states that biological evolution is “the most important concept in modern biology, a concept essential to understanding key aspects of living things.” Famous geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky stated that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” But is a belief in particles-to-people evolution really necessary to understand biology and other sciences? Is it even helpful? Have any technological advances been made because of a belief in evolution?

Continue reading this article on the website:


iVote Billboards | A Project of the American Family Assoication

iVote Billboards | A Project of the American Family Assoication
Here is your chance to openly display your dissatisfaction with Congress and let others know that you will "Remember in November" and are no longer going to sit by and do nothing.

In November, we will have the opportunity to let Washington experience firsthand the will of the American electorate. Thirty-six seats will be determined in the U.S. Senate in the November election. Representatives only serve two-year terms, so all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs.

Americans are outraged by the abuse of power in Washington. We must keep the momentum going by letting others know there is something they can do about the mess in Washington. In strong solidarity, we will remind elected officials that their power is derived from the governed! That's us. WE THE PEOPLE!


The 'Love and Respect' Principle (Spouses)

by Focus on the Family

Maybe you've heard that a woman needs to be loved by her husband and a man needs to be respected by his wife. However, if you're like the average man or woman, you're thinking, "Sure, that all sounds great, but what does it mean?"

Men often define love differently than their wives, while women often don't know how to define respect. If both you and your spouse have these needs, but don't know what they are, how can you satisfy each other? Without a definition, it's like trying to throw a dart at a board but you don't know where to aim.

That's why we're here to help. Once you and your spouse understand what it means to love and respect, relational landmines can be avoided. The result can be greater love, deeper intimacy and movement toward the kind of marriage that God desires for you.

Basics of Love and Respect
Women need to feel loved, and men need to feel respected.

by Focus on the Family

Kelly wondered if her husband, Steve, would remember their 10th anniversary. Some years he had forgotten. But, this year, he remembered. He had found just the right card, and he was sure it would be a great anniversary. When he handed her the card, she beamed from ear to ear. But when she read it, her countenance turned sour and dark.

"It's not bad . . . for a birthday card," she scowled.

Steve stiffened at her anger. He meant well. What was written on the outside was great, but he had failed to read the inside. "Hey, an honest mistake. Give me a break."

"An honest mistake? You just don't care. You are so unloving!"

Now he was miffed. "Hey, give me a break."

"You buy me a birthday card on our 10th anniversary, and you expect me not to be upset? I'd rather you hadn't bought me any card at all!"

Feeling disrespected, he coldly said, "Fine. I'm going to the office."
Love and respect

This conflict isn't unique. Kelly felt unloved, and Steve felt disrespected, even contemptible in his wife's eyes. When Decision Analysts, Inc., did a national survey on male-female relationships, one question for men read:

"Even the best relationships sometimes have conflicts on day-to-day issues. In the middle of a conflict with my wife, I am more likely to be feeling:

A. That my wife doesn't respect me right now.
B. That my wife doesn't love me right now.

Not surprisingly, 81.5 percent of men chose "A."

The survey only substantiated what I had already discovered in my years of working with married couples: Women need to feel loved, and men need to feel respected. This may explain why Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:33 that a husband must love his wife and a wife must respect her husband. Both commands are unconditional. The hard part is that respect comes more easily to men, and love comes easier to women.

You're Stepping on My Air Hose!
When the husband sees the spirit of his wife deflate, he should realize he’s stepping on her air hose and get off it.

by Focus on the Family


Colossians 3:19 commands a husband to agape-love his wife (love unconditionally). Obviously, she needs to feel loved.

Imagine that the wife has an air hose that goes to a love tank. She needs love like she needs air to breathe. When her husband stands on her air hose — buying a birthday card for their anniversary — she'll react negatively!

When the husband sees the spirit of his wife deflate, he should realize he's stepping on her air hose and get off it. Though she may react in a disrespectful way, she is crying out, "I feel unloved by you right now. I can't believe you're doing this to me." If, in response, the husband heads to the "office," she'll feel even more unloved.

Likewise, the husband needs respect, just as he needs air to breathe (1 Peter 3: 1-2). He, too, has an air hose to a tank labeled "respect," and as long as the air (respect) is coming through, he is just fine. But he deflates when his wife steps on his air hose by saying things like, "You don't care! You are so unloving!" If she shows disrespect in an attempt to motivate him to be more loving, it hinders the relationship. A destructive cycle of feeling unloved and disrespected easily starts.

Husbands and wives must learn how to recognize when they are stepping on each other's hoses and respond appropriately. (See Love and Respect for practical tips.) When a wife is careful to show respect — in obedience to God — her husband will stay connected and teachable. When a husband shows his wife love, her spirit will be reaffirmed. Then both will have the air they need to breathe.

The Crazy Cycle
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs describes the crazy cycle and how it affects marriages.

by Focus on the Family

What is the Crazy Cycle?

Craziness is when we keep doing the same thing — again and again — with the same ill effect. Marital craziness is when we do the same thing — over and over — with the same negative results. I call it the Crazy Cycle. When hurt and frustrated, we continue reacting in negative ways to motivate our spouse to be positive. Can you believe it? That's like flipping broken light switches for 30 minutes.

All who are married go through this cycle. The topics change, and the intensity varies, but the crazy cycle continues. One day the argument may be about a diet book, the next day the argument may be about child-rearing methods. Next month, it's about a marriage book and then about the lack of money.

This happens among good willed people. Sadly, some think they have a horrible marriage because of this craziness. Truth is, they are inches away from making an adjustment that can set them in a whole new and positive course.

Stopping the Crazy Cycle

The key is to see underneath this "craziness," to the heart of a spouse.

Based on Ephesians 5:33, I discovered why a husband and wife react the way they do. We read, "each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (NIV).

Because a wife needs love, a husband would be wise to assume his wife's negative reaction is rooted in her feeling unloved. On the other hand, because a husband needs respect, a wife would be prudent to assume her husband's negative reaction is rooted in his feeling disrespected.

Is it time for you to apply God’s truth? It takes work, but it works. It may not be fair, but God’s truth is revealed to people in unfair situations. A respectful or loving demeanor prevents a wife or husband from repeatedly flipping broken light switches.

Decision Time
Are you ready to transform your marriage by putting the principles of love and respect into practice?

by Focus on the Family

As any married couple eventually discovers, romantic feelings don't exist everyday. It takes effort to keep a marriage strong, to keep minor disagreements from becoming major ones, to favor sweet words and tender glances over harsh comments and contemptuous glares.

"In Ephesians 5:33," Eggerichs says "God invites every married couple to make a conscious decision about how they appear to the other. A wife can feel unloved, but appear disrespectful; a husband can feel disrespected but appear unloving. This is why things get crazy! Our negative appearances work against us. God's Word protects us from that mistake."

He continues, "Really, all you have to do is learn this crazy cycle, and when you see the spirit of your spouse deflate, trust . . . that you've said something that appears unloving or disrespectful. Then go back and say, 'Did I come across as unloving/disrespectful? I'm sorry, will you forgive me?' That works almost every time."

Eggerichs has seen firsthand how marriages are transformed when husbands and wives put this fundamental concept into practice. To that end, he and his wife started the Love and Respect Marriage Conference, and the testimonials from those who have attended have been very encouraging.

At the conference, they illustrate in detail how to spell "love" to a wife and "respect" to a husband.

The conferences promote the same message as the Eggerichs' book: When unconditional respect and love are demonstrated through tone, facial expression and word choice, the spirit of our spouse re-opens.

"We're going to have conflicts over bedtime-type issues. We're going to get upset," Eggerichs says. "By dealing with marital conflict God's way, we can stop the crazy cycle before it starts. If things get out of control, we can halt the craziness. God's Word works."

Lost Boy: The Greg Laurie Story (Trailer)

Greg Laurie had everything going against him in life. Born out of wedlock, Greg spent his childhood living with his aunts, grandparents and two stints in military school when not living with his seven-time divorced alcoholic mother. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Greg immersed himself in partying and later drug experimentation all which only added to his meaningless existence. At the age of 17, unexpectedly, Greg Laurie became a Christian. In his autobiography Lost Boy, Greg Laurie speaks candidly about his struggles, challenges and how his life was radically transformed, how he is now dedicated to reaching others like him, who are searching for meaning and purpose in life. In the early 70's, Greg Laurie started one of the largest churches in America today, Harvest Christian Fellowship. He travels the world, having spoken to over 4 million people in his large scale events, Harvest Crusades. Greg Laurie's legacy has been seasoned with trials and questions, but if God can take a confused, lost boy from a severely dysfunctional family and raise him to be one of the nation's leading evangelists and pastors, what can God do with you?


Starting Over, God's Way

By Charles F. Stanley
Bible Study: A New Beginning
Sermon: When Plans Turn To Ashes

Have you ever looked at your circumstances and thought, I would love to have a chance to do that again? Or If I could just change that, I would. I need a fresh start. That is what grace is all about.

John chapter 8 tells the story of a woman caught in adultery. The Jewish law declared that marital unfaithfulness was punishable by stoning. Religious leaders brought the woman to Jesus to see if He would follow the law of Moses and condemn her to death. But to their surprise, Jesus did not accuse her. After writing on the ground, Christ said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). The group slowly dispersed, the oldest ones leaving first.

After everybody left, Jesus looked at the woman lying at His feet. She knew He was a man of God. How exposed and embarrassed she must have felt—that is, until Jesus revealed His word of forgiveness and hope to her heart: “I do not condemn you . . . Go. From now on sin no more” (v. 11). He forgave the woman and set her free.

Perhaps there’s something you would like to erase from the past. Just the thought of it brings feelings of condemnation and sorrow. Jesus gave the woman caught in adultery a second chance, and that’s what He will give you. If there is sin in your distant or recent history, know that when you ask God for forgiveness, it is done. He will never bring the matter up again.

In fact, the only cure for sin of any kind is God’s grace applied to our lives. This changes the stumbling sinner into a person living victoriously for Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was sufficient payment for all your sins. Only almighty God can love you so much.
Second chances encourage us not to give up, even when the whispers of the world suggest the opposite. I don’t mean we get another chance after death to receive the Lord Jesus as Savior. But in this lifetime, He lavishes His forgiving love upon us after we have thoroughly blown it. We are never outside of God’s grace.

For instance, many people hear the gospel several times before they receive the Lord. He doesn’t give up wooing them to Himself. He is the God of the second chance—and often a thousand chances. Sometimes a person rejects the gospel for years, until one day, because the Father bestowed grace on the individual, he or she finally becomes His child.

If we received what we deserve for our sin, we’d all be condemned. There would be no second chances. We should want what we don’t deserve, and that is grace.

The Bible teaches that salvation is not based upon our works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” In other words, salvation is a gift we receive by faith.

Even the ability to believe comes from God. So salvation is grace from start to finish—not something that we work up or work on. Good deeds don’t merit being saved. Otherwise, we could boast, “I did this” or “I did that.” Only the heavenly Father can rightfully boast, “I did this: I provided all that these sinners need through My Son.”

God loved you before you knew Christ. He cared so much that He sent His Son to earth to give you new life: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were God’s supreme brush stroke of grace across the canvas of creation. Christ is the embodiment of all hope. If you have received Him as your Savior, His life is within you, and His grace is sufficient to remove every hint of sin’s stain. Let Him give you a second chance.

Adapted from Charles F. Stanley’s “Handbook for Christian Living” (1996) and “Enter His Gates” (1998).


A Survey I Took About Prayer (In Touch Ministries)

Thank you for taking the time to complete this simple ten-question survey. Your responses will help In Touch understand how to minister to you and others more effectively in the future.

1. Do you believe God answers prayers? Why or Why not?
Yes, because it has happened to me, and because the Bible talks about prayer; that it's something good that we should do, even Jesus prayed to the Father. It is communication with God and it is part of our relationship with Him.

2. What motivates you to pray?
Because I know that it's important. The Bible says we should do so and because I know that it works. It's part of our relationship with God, communicating with Him. I know that sometimes all I can do is pray if I can't do much else. God is the #1 that I turn to.

3. What keeps you from praying?
Getting caught up in other things, feeling busy or tired.

4. When do you pray?
Different times throughout the day, short prayers. I pray the most when I'm alone by myself, could be any time of the day, but it's usually at night before I go to bed.

5. Do you think prayer influences God?
Yes. I believe that God is going to end up doing whatever He wants to do and that everything is according to His will, but I believe there are times when He allows us to influence what He wants to do. I think it's part of the relationship factor.

6. Do you ever pray with others?
Yes, sometimes. The Bible says that "where two or three are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them" and that "if two of you on earth should agree on anything it will be given to you by my Father in Heaven." So, although I believe that prayer on your own is powerful enough, it always helps and is encouraging to have more than one, as the Bible also says "two are better than one."

7. What do you pray about the most?
I pray the most about blessings, protection, help, forgiveness of sins and salvation for those who aren't saved.

8. How has God answered a particular prayer?
I usually receive what I ask for. But, sometimes God answers me through a sort of sign, could be anything, but it's just His way of letting me know or confirming something.

9. Can anyone pray?
Yes, of course.

10. Why pray?
Kind of goes back to the first question. I pray because it's communicating with God, it's part of having a real relationship with Him. It never fails to comfort me and it makes me feel better when I do. I pray because the Bible says we should and because it's good. Even Jesus prayed to the Father, and Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and our best example of how to live our lives and worship God. And because prayer works. It also encourages people and can be used as a testimony for others. There are many good reasons to pray.

11. Gender

12. Age

13. Geographic Location

14. How did you hear about this survey?

Thank you again for your participation in this survey and your partnership in leading people worldwide into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have anything further to share with us, please feel free to send an e-mail to askdrstanley@intouch.org or contactcenter@intouch.org.

Survey URL: http://msg2svc.net/Jsp/Sv1.jsp?p=intouch&s=1&i=120&u=0&v=n
"the best thing you can do when you get embarrassed is to just laugh at yourself, it will get you through some really tough times" ~Joey on "Full House"

"People have their lists of what they want in their partner, and three-quarters of them are superficial. If life doesn't give you what you want, it'll present you with what you need and you don't realize it. That need is far greater and more profound than the little list thing." ~Sandra Bullock

Hollywood Prayer Network Newsletter (May)

Dear HPN members!

It’s May! April showers bring May flowers, but in Hollywood it also brings Upfronts, announcing the new Fall TV series, the Cannes Film Festival and a list of new summer films. It also brings broken hearts and hurting people who need prayer. So, let’s take a walk in the beautiful weather and pray for the people in Hollywood!


The National Day of Prayer Hollywood event held at Bel Air Presbyterian Church was AWESOME!
• Let’s continue to pray for Sandra Bullock as she finalizes her divorce and her adoption of baby Louis
• Keep praying for recent and continuing industry professionals who can’t get work
• HPN is still in need of intercessors to join our “I to I” prayer team and pray for industry professionals
• Pray for the release of the 2010 summer blockbusters that began last week with “Iron Man 2”
• All of the network and cable “Upfronts” are happening May 17 – 20th
• The annual Cannes Film Festival (Festival De Cannes) opened on May 12th and goes through May 23rd
• Pray for the writers and producers who are creating the content of films, TV shows, songs & video games
• Pray for the wet, hurting and homeless now in Nashville after the terrible flooding and storms
• Pray for Elton John, the world-renowned music icon who has lived a life of fame, riches, addiction, & pain
• Pray for Geert Heetebrij, ('93 LAFSC grad) who needs God’s provision for a grad screenwriting program
• Pray for HPN’s Thai LCD, Manop Moonsri and his upcoming "You Are Not Alone Concert 2010"
• Pray about taking a life-changing short-term missions trip to Kenya with other industry professionals
• Don’t forget about the weekly prayer events and other upcoming gatherings in our community
• Let us know if you have a prayer group that is open for others in Hollywood to join


• The National Day of Prayer Hollywood event held at Bel Air Presbyterian Church was AWESOME! After 18 years of gathering industry professionals to pray on the NDOP in various sound stages, and churches, this year at Bel Air Pres. was the largest (over 500 people attended) and so exciting. We spent the evening with industry ministries and local churches, with prayer leaders, pastors and entertainment professionals, all praising God, worshiping and praying together in an evening that eternally impacted our industry, our city, our state and our nation. Next year, you must come and join this incredible celebration of God through prayer and praise! And thanks to the whole planning team and Bel Air Pres. Leadership for making it happen.


• Let’s continue to pray for Sandra Bullock as she finalizes her divorce to Jesse James and finalizes her adoption of her new 4-month-old baby boy named Louis Bardo Bullock. Sandra, who adopted Louis with Jesse back in January, has decided to keep Louis and raise him as a single parent. Let’s pray that the Lord honors her decision by supplying all she needs to raise Louis as a young man who comes to know Jesus. And we have to keep praying for Sandra’s own heart and journey with God, during this time of huge transition. “I'm sad and I'm scared," Bullock says of the divorce.

• Let’s continue to pray for the people who are trying to break in to the entertainment industry and those professionals who haven’t been able to work. The most needed prayers are those asking the Lord to give each person a confirmation of whether they should continue to persevere or whether He has plans for them elsewhere. It’s such a hard thing to know God’s direction when we’re passionate about our dreams and yet not able to make a living. A common question amongst artists and creative professionals is – am I doing the right thing? Please join all of us in this difficult and heart felt prayer.

• HPN is still in need of intercessors to join our “I to I” prayer team so that you can be blessed as you uphold a professional in need of prayer. We have media professionals waiting for a prayer partner. Might that person be you? Or do you know a prayer group who would be willing to pray for their own “media missionary?” Please let us know. Just email Caren@hpnemail.org


• The release of the 2010 summer blockbusters began last week with “Iron Man 2.” Remember to pray for the films’ stars, writers, directors, producers, distributors and studios as you enthusiastically support the summer box office. Don’t just enjoy the films, but pray for the filmmakers!

• All of the network and cable UPFRONTS are happening May 17 - 20 as the networks announce and present their new and returning shows for the 2010-2011 TV season “upfront” to advertisers and agencies. The major networks presenting shows are ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW, TNT, BS, MTV & ESPN. Let’s pray that the advertisers will respond with wisdom and moral integrity as they look at the choice of shows to invest in for this season.

• The annual Cannes Film Festival (Festival De Cannes) opened on May 12th and goes through May 23rd. It is the largest international film festival in the world, premiering and screening major feature films of the upcoming year to the film buyers, distributors and filmmakers. Pray that the Christians there will be shining lights and sources of hope to the many buyers, sellers, presenters and audience, that God's hand will lovingly touch each person there, and that miracles will happen at this most powerful gathering of global filmmakers. For more info on the Festival, click on: http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en/about.html

• Please pray for the writers and producers who are creating the content of films, TV shows, songs and video games, to feel a moral responsibility for their work. Whether they know God personally or not, let’s lift them up and ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to truth, to guide their ideas, and to help them tap in to the Lord’s creative juices.

• Pray for the wet, hurting and homeless in Nashville after the terrible flooding and storms. Our extended family in the music community in Nashville has asked for our prayers as they drain water out of their damaged homes and help one another find new furniture or places to live. If anyone wants to take a short term mission trip to Nashille, our dear friends at Artists in Christian Testimony, Intl., are doing everything they can to help the local artists. Click here to find out the needs and even how you can help: http://www.actinternational.org/

• Let’s pray for Elton John, the world-renown music icon who has lived a life of fame, riches, addiction, bulimia, gay relationships, bankruptcy and heartbreak. He needs to find the Lord in these later years of his life in order to find peace, and our prayers can make a difference. We often forget that wonderful performers who recorded songs that defined great eras in our lives, and gave us joyful memories, are hurting, broken and lost. Let’s give something back to Elton by praying for God’s miraculous touch on his heart and life.


• Let’s pray for Geert Heetebrij, who was a '93 graduate of the LAFSC. He was just accepted into the MFA Screenwriting program at Pepperdine, starting this Fall, and has asked the Hollywood Prayer Network to please pray for God's financial provision so that he can attend Pepperdine's grad program. Will you pray for Geert and the many other Christian film students who have great opportunities for a fine education in film and television, but are struggling to pay the tuition needed to complete their schooling.


• Manop Moonsri, our Thailand LCD, has asked that we pray with him for his work with the "You Are Not Alone Concert 2010" on June 6th at the Khonhkan Hall Central Plaza in Khonkhan. May the Lord use Manop’s love for the Lord to touch the lives of all the participants and attendees at this concert.


• Would you like to go to Africa? Our own HPN Board member and friend, Doug Millham, has a unique ministry of combining his service to the Hollywood artistic community with running an orphanage for children with AIDS in Kenya. Doug has invited any industry professional to join his Discover the World Short-Term Mission trip to Kenya. It is our prayer that members of our community would experience another side of the world, in order to bring back a deeper wisdom, a richer relationship with the Lord and a new perspective on life through spending time in Africa. Would you pray about being a part of their exciting Vacation Bible School and Work Project trip from July 31 – August 13th? With more than 500 children now being helped in 6 projects across Kenya, the need to love and care for them is greater than ever. For more information click on: www.discovertheworld.org or email Dougdtw@aol.com.

• Don’t forget about the weekly prayer events in our community where we would LOVE to have any of you just show up to pray and to get prayed for:
Wednesdays at noon in the Wiley Chapel of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Email Serdman@fpch.org for more info.
Every 2nd & 4th Thursday nights at 7:00pm at the Wiley Chapel of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Email Caren@hpnemail.org for more info.

• For all the other on-going and one time events, conferences, gatherings, Bible Studies and screenings, please click on http://www.hollywoodconnect.com/connection-central and http://www.hollywoodconnect.com/view/OngoingEvents.

• If you have any industry prayer groups that are open for others to join, PLEASE let us know and we’ll post them for our whole Christian entertainment community to be aware of. We would love to have every Christian in Hollywood connected to a prayer group. Just email me at Karen@hpnemail.org.

Thank you so much for your prayers this month. You are a part of something so much bigger than what any of us can do on our own. So, be encouraged and know that we are so grateful for you!

Karen and Caren

Real artists can get some real answers to tough spiritual questions on Joel Pelsue’s video blog: http://www.a-e-m.org/html/real_answers_for_real_artists.html

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enz Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film." -Frank Capra

“So I ask you to make full use of the gift that God gave you when I placed my hands on you.” II Timothy 1:6


Praise Report

I have a praise report that I wanted to say. My brother has had a lot of work that needed to be done on his teeth, for a long time. He gets a lot of pain from it, about every six months. Well, he doesn't have insurance and he couldn't afford to get the work done at the dentist (it would cost over $10,000). He went there about a year ago, took x-rays and was given a prescription for the pain and infection. About six months later the pain came back. He was able to get more pain pills then it went away again. Then six months after that it came back yet again. He tried to get more pain pills, but they wouldn't give it him because it had been over a year since he last had his teeth checked. So, he had to make another appointment for the dentist. I think the dentist's office got to the point where they realized that my brother, our family does not have the money to get those teeth worked on. It's just too much. So they took more x-rays, for free this time, and referred him to a ministry in the city that does dental work for free on fridays. It was like a miracle that there is such a ministry as this. So, my brother had to wait another week to be able to do it. It's all first come, first serve. He had to get there early, it opens at 7:30AM. He got there at around 7AM and there was already 6 people ahead of him. Thankfully, he was able to get in. They took more x-rays I think and they pulled one of his teeth that was the big one that was causing a lot of pain. My brother told me that everyone there was super nice and great to him. They said that my brother was a good patient. He has to go back in a couple of weeks. He still has a lot more work to be done. But, I just wanted to give a shout out to this ministry, that there is such a thing as this that does real good work for people that are in dire need of it, who are poor or just don't have a way to get the dental work done. But, I don't think this ministry only does dental work. My Dad told me that there was other stuff there like a place for someone to come in and do their laundry. So, this is obviously a ministry that is trying to provide real tangible help to the needy. I praise God for this ministry and for those of us who really try to help out. The ministry is called Timon's Ministry.



I had a dream and thought about vanity and this video afterwards...

I had a dream last night and I think it was about vanity. I don't know if it was a God-given dream or what, and I don't take dreams too seriously, but I definitely felt like there was something good that I got out of it.
I don't remember every detail or even the order of the scenes, but I'll try to remember the best I can. The dream starts off in a sort of restaurant, diner type of place. I am talking to a couple of women, one of them older and the other younger. The older woman talks about a certain cream that you can put on your face that wipes away the vanity. I think that's definitely different. I decide to try some of that. I take the bottle and think to myself that it will make me look better. It is a dark colored cream, a sort of brownish color. I put it on and it feels like putting lotion on, but after a while it feels like it's stretching my face, a tightness I guess. Then, I start to see the effects of it on my face. My heart begins to sink as I see what it's done to my face. Some of my skin has disappeared off of my face to make it look closer to the skeleton, tho not completely. It's still mostly skin and flesh. Where I would have spots (breakouts) is the worse and also my nose looks like the skeleton version with just a thin layer of skin. I immediately try to cover this up with make-up. It feels like I spend about an hour doing this. Finally, the younger woman comes into the restroom and starts talking to me. Eventually, we are outside and she tells me that I'm not beautiful and a couple of other things (this scene might have happened first, but I don't remember). I feel really bad about what she said. Then, I turn around and think to myself, "God calls me beautiful" and I told her that I don't believe what she said, and that I am beautiful. I wasn't necessarily thinking about looks when I said that, but the acceptance of myself as being beautiful as God calls me beautiful. Then, later on I am in a dining hall with the young woman. There are round tables that have white table clothes. There is a group of young people in there. We are all eating dinner. Even though I feel stuffed, I still have a couple pieces of bread from the pasta meal. Most everyone is done eating and they just start to leave. I decide to finish eating those last pieces. I feel like a blob doing that, but oh well. Then, after almost everyone is gone and I'm finished eating, we are given an entirely new dish by one of the servers and it's looks like a sort of healthy casserole of some type. It looks green. Now realizing that we have this new meal that is better than the first, the young woman says something about how we all should have waited and then we would have all had this, but most everyone missed out. She said "tisk tisk." So, I felt like I had done something good by staying there for so long afterwards. That's pretty much all that I remember from the dream.
When I woke up from the dream, I felt like maybe the dream is about vanity. Physical looks are vain because they don't last. Outward beauty doesn't last. Youth doesn't last. The only thing that can last is our character, what's in our heart. Instead of focusing so much on our outward looks, we should focus more on our characteristics. I think the turning point in the dream for me is when I realized how vain my face is and that it's my characteristics that truly make me who I am: my strength, positivity, friendliness, faith, frugality and patience. It's not really my outward beauty that makes me beautiful, but my inward beauty, the very fact that God calls me beautiful is the only true reason that I'm beautiful. It doesn't matter what I say or anyone else says, but what God says. He's the one that really counts in all of this. And I'm also thinking of a few Bible quotes (1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:30 & Isaiah 53:2): "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" & "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised" & (a prophecy referring to how most people would look at Jesus when He was on earth) "There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him" (and this is Jesus we're talking about, the King of Kings, the most perfect beautiful human being ever; but apparently on the outside he wasn't so impressive to most people of the time).