2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Ambassadors are considered a “top-ranking official” representing their country of origin to those in the foreign land. Paul reminded his followers in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven.”
We are –right here and now — sojourners on this earth, a foreign land that yearns for heaven’s touch to be released through us. Jesus indwells us, and we are in Christ. Our feet and hands represent His feet and hands. We are Jesus’ and the Father’s top-ranking officials in sharing His love, presence, and good news of Christ “reconciling the world to Himself.” (2 Cor. 5:19)
Recommending: Heart of the King Ministries — Gene & Robin Willis ministering in Honduras.
Gene had a vision that God was directing HKM to find and minister to “the lost man” in Honduras. There are many active Christian children’s and family ministries in Honduras, and they are making a significant impact on the people they reach. But the Lord gave a specific image to Gene, which he and Robin continue to actively pursue. To learn more and consider blessing this country with your prayers and support, visit Heart of the King Ministries. They will be returning to the States at different times, and if you would like them to share at your church or Bible study, leave them a message at the link listed above. (Gene & Robin, center)
April 3, 2020: Christians Gather Around Their Local Hospitals and Pray
According to christianpost.com, around the United States Christians were “gathered outside hospitals this week to pray for medical staff and their patients during the novel coronavirus pandemic.” One event organizer is quoted as explaining, “This is an opportunity for us. We can all do this…the people that are patients or providers in a hospital, they get tired and they’re missing their family…”
March 30, 2020: Franklin Graham — “We Run Into the Fire, Not Away From It”
There are multiple “tent units” being set up to support New York’s COVID-19 surge, but it is the words of Dr. Franklin Graham that should bring courage and hope. Dr. Graham is quoted by faithwire.com as stating, “Just give Samaritan’s Purse those who have no hope…we pray. If someone passes away, they won’t be dying alone. Our doctors and nurses are going to be praying with them, holding their hands, and loving them to the last breath. But we hope that everyone that comes into our hospital, that they will walk out. That’s our goal.”
March 27, 2020: Kirk Cameron Kicks Off “30 Days Faith Strong” Prayer
According to christianpost.com, Kirk Cameron has “launched a prayer initiative called ’30 Days Faith Strong’ to help believers refocus their thoughts on God while the nation is in quarantine.” He is also quoted as encouraging people to have “faith in a God who loves us, faith in a God who will guide and direct us, and faith in a God who will restore us.”
March 23, 2020: As Brazil Quarantines, Christians Share Worship from Windows
I love this. This is amazing. One thing that struck me was the fact that there was one song known by a significant number of Christians that they could all sing together. It made me think about what “our song” might be, were a local neighborhood to try a similar feat. According to godtv.com, “Due to a viral moment inviting believers to worship together through their windows, the powerful moment happened.” Videos of the occurrence recorded from three different locations is heart-stirring.
In February, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro unexpectedly attended THE SEND BRAZIL 12-hour event was described by godtv.com as “more than 140,000 attendees held at three different stadiums.” At the hosting stadium Brasilia, President Bolsanaro proclaimed, “Brazil belongs to God.”
March 23, 2020: Wycliffe Associates Releases Symbolic Universal Notation for Deaf and Blind
This is quite amazing to me. According to christianheadlines.com, “The translation is a notation called SUN (Symbolic Universal Notation), which symbolizes the words found in Scripture, ‘to provide a pathway for Christ for millions of deaf and blind people who have no other way of effectively communicating with the world.”
The article described that Emily Wang, former volunteer with the translation,”was inspired by Mandarin symbols to develop a universal symbolic language that could be read visually and through touch.” With the source text being the Unlocked Literal Bible, Wycliffe reported that an online team of 400 people “worked to create symbols to represent the rules and guidelines found in Scripture.” To read the SUN New Testament, 100 core symbols and their interrelationship of concepts must first be learned.
March 16, 2020: Churches Using Flexibility to Meet Needs While Facing COVID19
It makes me sad to think of people-gatherings being restricted as COVID19 preparations totally upend what is considered a “normal life.” However, with pressure there is response, and my prayer is that churches across America will be inspired with His creativity in “doing church differently” while still reaching out to, and embracing the local community. As frc.org founder Tony Perkins points out, however, “A lot of pastors are seizing the moment to let their lights shine…while people are frantic and looking for answers, the church is in the unique position of providing them.” Perkins points out several hands-on strategies, in this article, along with the encouragement, “Above all, we need to be a source of strength and encouragement.”
January 30, 2020: Los Angeles Angels’ Manager is “Aiming to Expand Outreach to Homeless in Southern California”
My first response to that goal was a resounding, “Well THAT’S sure taking on a huge problem”…but this is a very interesting and encouraging example of how God plants a powerful vision in the heart of a single individual, and as it grows over the years, its fruit provides support and encouragement for thousands of people. According to christianpost.com, Joe Maddon started providing a “Thanksmas” meal to the homeless in 2006 in the state of Florida, when he became the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. He and his wife created Respect90 in 2015, and he has expanded the Thanksmas dinner to include hundreds of people throughout dozens of homeless shelters in several states.
One prominent outlet into Southern California came from Village of Hope/Orange County Rescue Mission, whose President Jim Palmer contacted Respect90 and received a very quick, positive response to scheduling an area Thanksmas. With 260 beds, Village of Hope “provides individuals and families with a months-long restorative program, medical clinics, counseling, playgrounds, and other needs.” It is described as “unique,” giving assistance to both single mothers and single fathers.
Joe Maddon is quoted as saying, “I think a lot of times we may think we are just one person. ‘What difference do we make?’ That’s the whole point. If enough folks get beyond that thought process and just jump into the fray, you can make a difference.”
January 30, 2020: Brazilian Church Focuses on Creating Housing for the Poor
This is a really wonderful account of a small church making huge impact. According to godtv.com, “The Assemblies of God Church in Lagoingha in Ararhuama, Rio de Janeiro…has been stretching their hands to help the poor by providing them one of humanity’s basic needs — a home.” With church members/associates providing the labor and guidance, and the church providing a portion of its tithe money for construction materials, dozens of houses have been built and are now occupied. Article author Rhoda Gayle summarizes, “It may seem impossible, but this church is making a dent in the homeless population.”
January 27, 2020: NFL Quarterback Makes Strong Faith Statement
According to christianheadlines.com, football Quarterback Kirk Cousins recently made this statement during an after-game interview, “My faith is important to me, it’s the foundation for my life. Ultimately there’s where I gain my peace and strength. Win or lose today, God’s still on the throne and I take comfort on that. He also announced that he had had just spent two years reading through the entire Bible, and recommended it to others. Cousins, the son of a pastor, has been open about his faith throughout his public career, including a well-reported stand in 2017 in which he turned down a long-term contract with the Washington Redskins, saying that he “wants to follow God’s plans for him.”
December 28, 2019: New Year’s Day Sunrise Prayer Relay 2020
Sunriseprayerrelay.org, based in Unanderra, Australia, is again inviting world-wide participation in a January 1, 2020, Sunrise Prayer Relay. According to its website this year’s focus is “praying for nations to turn to Jesus,” as they are sensing in the Spirit that “we are coming into a time now when whole nations will be saved.” The website also points out that “these prayer gatherings at sunrise around the world generate a synchronized 24-hour global prayer relay.” The first Prayer relay began in 2016, prior to major elections in both Australia and the United States.
December 4, 2019: Survey Cites People of “No Faith” Have Highest Global Climate Change Fears; “Practicing Christians” Maintain Strongest Conscience Towards the Downtrodden
The survey I reference is one published by barna.com and gathered 18-to-35-year olds’ perceptions regarding Christians and “justice,” also rating “the church” on its concern for the world’s downtrodden. As q uick sidenote, I found it fascinating that in listing “the top five global problems,” among persons listing themselves as “no faith,” 46% rated Global Climate Change as a top global problem, whereas “practicing Christians” did not appear to have climate change worries of any significance.
Now, to the actual topic, and why I find it encouraging, while providing a tool we can all use from time to time in the election year ahead: The report states that “Christian young adults around the world say their beliefs inspire them toward action. More than half (56%) say they are concerned about the welfare of others because of their beliefs. Similarly, Christian young adults are more likely than those of no faith to report that their beliefs compel them to give of their own resources (46% to 26%) and stand up against corruption (47% to 37%).”
If you are thinking that those results are pretty much a no-brainer, I encourage you to “think again.” Think about the influence of politics and the active re-definitions of “America” and the foundations of America’s founding that are taking place.
We who know Jesus tend to “take for granted” these distinctions, acknowledging them as a natural result of His Life in us; however, they are being increasingly separated from the faith-realm and publicly re-taught as being instigated and existing along politically-defined ideological lines…ignoring them as motivations of faith, not acknowledging them as activations from a personal connection with God. It is a deception that goes “far and wide,” and it is increasing in its intended scope.
The results of this survey, then, strike me as extremey beneficial to remember and share with others as we progress through the 2020 election cycle. This report is not filled with “new things,” but is a solid reminder of those faith-realities we know to be true. They are conversation-starters and door openers that can bridge political narrative and draw folks into a new perspective of thought.
October 30, 2019: Kanye West — “Now That I’m in Service to Christ”
I love radical conversions, especially among those the world calls “unlikely people.” Among those of fame and wealth, who are able to be “a letter,” known “and read by all men.” (2 Cor. 3:2) According to an online article from godtv.com, Kanye West recently stated in an interview, “Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me. I’ve spread a lot of things. There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me. Also, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me. And in that, I’m no longer a slave, a son now, a son of God. I’m free.” Amid critical “analysis” of West’s sincerity (or perceived insincerity) of faith, blogger Brie Gowen writes for faithit.com, “How many of us are raising an eyebrow as Kanye talks about Christ, yet we don’t mention the Lord in public at all? How many of us are focused on watching to see if Kanye will fall, but we ourselves are slipping…you want to know what Christians are really missing concerning Kanye West? They are missing the harvest…”
August 14, 2019: Call for Prayer Over Hong Kong
Breakingchristiannews.com shares Cindy Jacobs’ call for prayer over the continued rioting in Hong Kong. After arriving at the Hong Kong airport Aug. 12, Jacobs’ heart was broken and she felt God sharing several scriptures and points of insight for prayer over this city. She reportedly shared, “We need to pray for the Hong Kong government to exercise wisdom, we need to pray for those young protesters to feel that they have been heard. There needs to be God’s solution, not a human solution…” She felt impressed that one of the pivotal scriptures the Lord was sharing was Malachi 4:6, as she said, “‘I had a vision while praying in the spirit, of angels rising up from the ashes through concerted prayers, Malachi 4:6, ‘The hearts of the fathers must turn towards the sons and daughters in order for the land to be healed…'”
August 9, 2019: Richland County, South Carolina, Institutes “Prayer Zone” Signs Around Schools
According to christianheadlines.com, “As students and parents prepare for a new school year in Richland County…they will be greeted by a sign different than usual: one inviting them to pray.” The brainchild of Christ Teens founder Vanessa Frazier, the sign shows stick figures of a boy and a girl in different postures associated with prayer. Diamond-shaped signs are erected on the private property of nearby churches. Frazier is quoted as hoping the signs “will create a wall of prayer around the schools.”
July 2, 2019: Church in Michigan Partners With Nonprofit, Eliminate Medical Debt for Nearly 1900 Families
As reported by theblaze.com, “Nearly 2,000 in Michigan have no idea that within a week, all their medical debts will be paid off thanks to Grand Rapids First Church in Wyoming, Michigan…the church partnered with an organization called RIP Medical Debt…” According to the Grand Rapids First Church Pastor, Sam Rijfkogel, the choice of recipients was purely random. “We don’t know who these people are,” he explained. What an awesome testimony to build within a community!
May 6, 2019: Abby Johnson of Pro-life Organization States One-to-Two Abortion Workers Leaving Industry Daily
With the release of the movie “Unplanned” and events such as Focus on the Family’s “Alive in New York,” peoples’ eyes are being opened regarding the truth and fiction regarding abortion. The nonprofit And Then There Were None – Prolife Outreach is reported by faithwire.com as “needing prayer” as hundreds of abortion industry workers are turning to ATTWN for the “financial, emotional, spiritual and legal support to anyone wishing to leave the abortion industry.” Johnson is quoted as saying, “There is a lot of burnout in the abortion industry because promoting death is exhausting.”
May 5, 2019: Recollection of Woman Present at “Alive from New York” Pro-Life Rally Sponsored by Focus on the Family
OK, I looked for it…by chance, did you? I searched for post-rally information on the Focus on the Family’s live ultrasound photos on billboards in New York City….and I found virtually nothing! I found articles on how billboard companies would not allow FOF to rent billboards…articles on whether or not FOF would even be allowed to set up their own billboards…and NOTHING on whether or not the event actually took place. This experience is echoed by a participant named “Caralyn,” who reports that just following the ultrasound photo, “Times Square was Silent.” Of note: breakingchristiannews.com shared an article on the 10,000-plus attendee event on May 6.
February 26, 2019: Counterfeit: Claims from ‘Christian Witches’ Will Confuse Many
This entry goes under a unique and peculiar heading — these representatives are un-ambassadors for Christ. According to christianheadlines.com, “Reverend Valerie Love is preparing to host the first ‘Christian witches’ convention in Salem, Massachusetts, this April.” In one of the 15 books written by Love, her 2013 release quotes her as stating, “I love my cross and my wand. I consult my Tarot deck and my Bible. I adore and am devoted to Christ and my Goddess.” Uh-oh — for starters, anyone ever hear Jesus say, “No one can serve two masters”? (Matt. 6:24) Raised under Jehovah’s Witness teachings, her claim of being “sent here by God for God’s good purpose” is inextricably interwoven with the practice of casting spells and other practices linked to witchcraft.
February 16, 2019: Franklin Graham and Will Graham Share the Gospel on Two Continents
This is really fun to think about…Rev. Franklin Graham is currently finishing up a multi-city tour in Australia mirroring the same cities visited and preached in by his father, Billy Graham, 60 years ago. Grandson Will Graham just completed a three-day outreach in Manila, Philippines.
February 13, 2019: Live 4-D Ultrasounds Planned to Light Up New York City’s Times Square on May 4, 2019
Well this is certainly a creative and ambitious endeavor! According to cbnnews.com, “Focus on the Family is gearing up to blast live ultrasounds on monitors and screens across Times Square” on May 4. Focus on the Family president Jim Daly is quoted as stating, ‘We’ll have great speakers. We’re going to have music, but we’re also going to do a live ultrasound of a third-trimester baby.” Daly also is quoted as saying, ‘This isn’t adversarial. Let’s just take a position. Let’s see what an ultrasound looks like.'” Sounds to me like a worthy event to be supporting in prayer!
January 8, 2019: “Amazing Love Festival” Already Forging New Unity Among Bangkok Churches
According to breakingchristiannews.com, Amazing Festival Director Derek Forbes shared that “God’s bringing unity to this city for the churches to work together like never before…the churches were so concerned about working with each other. They’re realizing they can trust the Lord. It’s a beautiful thing.” The Amazing Love Festival is scheduled for January 19-20, with Rev. Franklin Graham sharing. Dr. Graham has been in Thailand multiple times with Samaritan’s Purse, as humanitarian aid was shared in Thailand. He preached in the country for the first time in 2013, and his grandson Will Graham taught in the island of Phuket at the end of 2018, where 600 reportedly decided to follow Jesus.
December 21, 2018: Brazil Elects First Christian President, Pastors Fly to Brasilia to Pray
According to godtv.com, Jair Bolsonaro was confirmed as president-elect the end of October, and earlier this month, “Mario Bramnick, president of the Latino Coalition for Israel led a team of evangelical leaders to meet with the President Elect as well as Brazilian political and religious leaders in Brasilia…” for the purpose of prayer and encouragement. Bramnick is later quoted as saying, “we strongly believe the hand of God is upon president Bolsonaro and that God has a tremendous purpose for the future of Brazil.”
November 29, 2018: Extraordinary Events in Ohio Lead Back to Pastoral Leadership
This is an exciting article! breakingchristiannews.com reports “The Bible is coming to life beyond belief in the heartland of the Buckeye state. Clergymen from Richland County, Ohio, are reclaiming the nexus between church and state and proving they are the juggernaut that can bring social change to their region.” This report of “pastors working in tandem” through prayer, action and unity provides insight seldom reported.
November 12, 2018: “Blessing Friday” Offered as Alternative to Black Friday
I love this concept, and they way it has been organized among so many different fellowships located in different states. “Blessing Friday,” defined on christiannewswire.com, opens many church doors to volunteers who want to “fill and wrap Christmas shoeboxes,” which will then be distributed to diverse groups of recipients. Other activities such as serving food, continuing to assist Hurricane Harvey victims, in Texas, and offering help to local homeless shelters are among additional activities planned. Founder Chuck Fox is quoted as saying, “Starting your Christmas celebration with service changes how you experience the holidays.”
October 24, 2018: Prayers Prevented the Working of Evil
I chanced upon this reprinted article in faithwire.com and found it quite interesting. Former satanist priest John Ramirez described his encounters with non-praying/praying Christians as he went about disruptive activities: “I was able to go in there…and take a stand and a position in the spirit realm against the Christians that were not praying…but when Christians did pray, I found it created some sort of spiritual block, preventing me from engaging in evil activities…” Read the whole article!
October 1, 2018: Faith-based groups Step Up in Carolinas Tragedy
cnsnews.com reports that the Salvation Army, as of Sept. 26, had “provided over 244,000 meals, 188,000 drinks, 128,000 snacks, and 290 cleanup kits.” Also on the scene providing prayer, support, practical help, and supplies: Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, Convoy of Hope, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and United Methodist Committee on Relief.
September 22, 2018: “Regardless of the Hostility, I Plan to Preach the Word of God in Blackpool”
Statements like this are truly inspiring, reflecting a sentiment of heart shared by those who share the Gospel, from small-town park encounters, to that phrase spoken by Dr. Franklin Graham prior to addressing many thousands in Blackpool, England. Asking for prayer that “Many will turn to Jesus Christ and find the hope and peace that only He can give,” Graham visited the 1982 site where his father, Billy Graham, addressed a Blackpool crowd.
September 8, 2018: Abandoned Chinese Baby Girl Now Sings About God’s Love
This is a really great testimony. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” This once-abandoned Chinese baby girl has become an Ambassador of God’s love and goodwill on a nationwide scale. God’s rescue and provision for this child will make you smile and ponder His question, “Is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jer. 32:27)
September 4, 2018: Christian Cheerleaders Encourage Players With Bible Verses, Win Court Case
When I first read about this idea for on-field encouragement, I thought it was great! The Freedom From Religion Foundation found enough fault with it, however, that it filed a lawsuit in 2012 to try and prevent its implementation. This is really interesting — and good for these cheerleaders and schools for following through on the process. What a truly creative and positive! According to christianheadlines.com, “The dispute began in 2012, when middle school and high school cheerleaders at public schools in Kountze, Texas, began writing Bible verses on run-through banners as a way to inspire the athletes.” You will enjoy this brief article.
May 18, 2018: World’s Largest Pillow Fight and Proclaiming the Name of Jesus
I wish I had been there — wow! According to religionnews.com, “More than 45,000 gathered in the U.S Bank Stadium to worship at PULSE Twin Cities” on Friday, May 18. Reportedly, over 8,800 people “responded to the Gospel.” Over 750 churches partnered to assist in this free-to-the-public event. PULSE founder Mike Hall is quoted as stating, “We’re filling stadiums and declaring the name of Jesus because He alone is worthy, and can use anyone willing to say yes.” Mike Lindell, founder and CEO of My Pillow, donated over 70,000 pillows through the course of the evening, resulting in this particular pillow fight receiving the Guinness World Record for the largest pillow fight ever recorded. Next PULSE event: Oct. 20-21 at Texas Motor Speedway, and will be called Together 2018.
May 9, 2018: Jockey on Justify Gives Thanks to God After Kentucky Derby Win
Well, this is fun! Jockey Mike Smith won the 144th Kentucky Derby and is immediately quoted by faithwire.com as saying, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this blessing on this afternoon and blessing us with this amazing horse.” I think what I like about Smith’s comments and his testimony to the world is that, yes, Smith has persevered through hard times; yes, the horse Justify is described as “exceptional” — but in spite of these two seen-in-the-natural truths, there is an acknowledgement of blessing, destiny, and the active hand of God at work in peoples’ lives.
May 3, 2018: Video Testimony of Recent Healings
I love the healing touch of the Holy Spirit. Che Ahn of HRock Church shares three recent healing miracles, two shared by healing recipients. An encouraging reminder that all of us, as His ambassadors, serve a generous God who asks us to reach out to others and let Him do what He does best — the miraculous.