God Reports

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Posted 10/17/17 at 6:35 PM | Mark Ellis

Kansas teen,15, escapes ISIS after five years in captivity

Kansas girl, 15, held by ISIS

By Mark Ellis

A Kansas girl taken by her father against her will to join ISIS in Syria has been freed after five years, and longs to rejoin her mother in the United States.

“I’m from Kansas and I’ve been in Syria for five years,” the young woman told CBS, which is withholding her identity because she is a minor.

Her father essentially kidnapped her. “My father didn’t tell us we were coming to Syria. When it was time to get out of the car and cross the border he was like, ‘You’re going to Syria.’

“It was a really big shock!” she told CBS.

Her father was later killed in the fighting, so she had to learn to survive on her own. She says she is a Muslim, but detests ISIS.

“We were prisoners. We were quiet. They said to shut up, stay in your house and have nothing to say. Be glad your head isn’t chopped off.” FULL POST

Posted 10/17/17 at 6:29 PM | Mark Ellis

Has the Bible really been changed?

Josh and Sean McDowell

By Mark Ellis

Popular culture is awash in theories about alleged changes to the Bible that have corrupted its message and undermined its validity.

“That is one of the big objections that have grown in the past decade or two due to the work of Bart Ehrman, who is one of the leading critics today,” says Sean McDowell, co-author with his father, Josh McDowell, of the new edition of Evidence that Demands a Verdict.

The apologetics classic, Evidence, has been updated three times since 1972, but the last effort was 1999 — nearly two decades ago. The recent updating project involved several dozen grad students, at least 12 leading scholars from around the world, and a team from Thomas Nelson publishers.

“This book has been impactful and we wanted to get it right,” Sean notes.

Some new issues tackled in the book include the claim that Christianity derived from pagan mystery religions, disputes about the historicity of the exodus, an examination of the martyrdom of the apostles, and the textual criticism raised by Bart Ehrman. FULL POST

Posted 10/16/17 at 8:00 PM | Mark Ellis

Little Richard: His ‘Tutti Frutti’ journey back to Jesus

Little Richard

By Mark Ellis

He was one of the most gifted and flamboyant pop stars of his era. But now the wild wigs, pancake makeup, and crazy costumes are gone. Little Richard has turned his back on rock and roll to pursue holiness in Christ during his final years.

“I believe that Jesus is coming soon,” he told Danny Shelton and Yvonne Lewis with Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) in a September interview.

Despite achieving the greatest fame the music world can offer, the 84-year-old legend has one regret. “If I had my life to do over again, I would be ‘Little Richard the Preacher,’ standing out on street corners,” declaring God’s Word.

In the course of a nearly two-hour interview, he could barely contain his zeal to preach, spontaneously breaking into sermonettes with the cadence of the best African American preachers of his generation.

Little Richard, born Richard Wayne Penniman, grew up poor in Macon, Georgia, the third of 12 children born to Leva Mae and Bud Penniman. FULL POST

Posted 10/3/17 at 4:03 PM | Mark Ellis

Elon Musk’s salvation plan for humanity

SpaceX
Elon Musk at Astronautical Conference

By Mark Ellis

SpaceX founder and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is not pinning his hopes on God’s plan for a new Heaven and a new Earth.

He is offering an astonishing and remarkably detailed Plan B: to escape the confines of Earth before the apocalypse arrives, colonize Mars, and eventually move out to other planets and stellar bodies in the far reaches of our solar system.

Musk sees two paths diverging in the years ahead. “History is going to bifurcate along two directions: One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event — I don’t have an immediate doomsday prophecy — but eventually…there will be some doomsday event,” he declared.

“The alternative is to become a space-faring civilization and a multi-planet species, which I hope you agree that is the right way to go.”

He delivered these remarks in a 63-minute talk, “Making Humans a Multi-planetary Species” before the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on September 27th. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/17 at 4:14 PM | Mark Ellis

Playboy founder had “The Purpose Driven Life” in his bedroom

Hugh Hefner

By Mark Ellis

He dressed up porn and attempted to make it respectable, flaunted a hedonistic, licentious lifestyle, exploited and objectified women, and ensnared many men in sexual addiction.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passed to his eternal reward September 27th. He was 91.

Hefner was at the leading edge of the sexual revolution that swept through America and the world in the Sixties and Seventies, which upended Christian values and skewered societal norms.

Some Christians will be quick to say they know Hefner’s eternal destiny. If the immortal Dante’s depiction of hell is correct, Hefner may be in the infamous “second ring” of the Inferno – reserved for those overcome by lust.

Dante envisioned a place where the “bright, voluptuous sin” displayed in Hefner’s magazines and personified by his playboy lifestyle transmutes into “a howling darkness of helpless discomfort.”

In this circle, Dante found Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Paris, Achilles, Tristan, and others overwhelmed by sexual love. Did Hugh Hefner join their ranks yesterday? FULL POST

Posted 9/27/17 at 2:54 PM | Mark Ellis

Head of World Jewish Congress still hoping for two-state solution

Ronald Lauder

By Mark Ellis

With ominous clouds surrounding Israel that seem like they may portend a storm, at least one prominent Jewish leader continues to promote a peace deal with the Palestinians that would elevate them to statehood.

“I believe deep in my bones that a two-state solution is still within reach,” Ronald Lauder, the head of the World Jewish Congress told the Jewish Voice.

Lauder is the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria and the youngest son of Estee Lauder. He is also known for his philanthropy in the Jewish world.

He feels a sense of urgency about such a deal, which imagines an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River. “It remains a vital national interest, not just for Israel, but for the Jewish people more broadly. Given current demographic trends, inaction is simply not an option,” he said. FULL POST

Posted 9/27/17 at 2:48 PM | Mark Ellis

Police broke all his fingers for sharing Christ

By Mark Ellis

Jatya, a pastor in southern India, is able to document eight times he was persecuted for his faith, all memorialized in old newspaper clippings he keeps in a faded envelope.

In 1992, police ordered Jatya to stop sharing Christ with others in his village. After he refused to stop, police broke all his fingers. Three years later, he was beaten and jailed for a week. Another time, a Hindu neighbor beat Jatya with a bicycle chain, according to a report by Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

Each time Jatya was persecuted for his faith, his response was the same: he went back to the streets with his Bible sharing the Gospel of Christ. With a boldness derived from the filling of the Spirit, he feels an urgency to declare the Good News!

More recently, Jatya shared the Gospel with a young man in his village. An angry mob of radical Hindus surrounded Jatya and beat him until he lost consciousness, according to VOM.

Jatya downplayed the severity of the beating when recounting the story to VOM. He said the most important part is the young man became a follower of Jesus!

Jatya hopes that someday soon he will be able to meet the men who beat him and share Christ with them. FULL POST

Posted 9/27/17 at 2:42 PM | Mark Ellis

The value of a life born out of rape

Ethel Waters

By Mark Ellis

Can you name the woman nominated for an Emmy and an Academy Award whose birth resulted from a teen mom raped at knifepoint?

To many, the “byproduct” of such a crime would only be worthy of abortion. But Ethel Waters was born long before abortion became legal, and her life stands as a testimony to the value God places on children born out-of-wedlock – even those conceived by rape.

Her mother, Louise Anderson, was only 13 when a family acquaintance held a knife to her throat and raped her.

Sadly, Ethel’s mother was ill prepared for motherhood and neglected her daughter. So Ethel went to live with her grandmother, who worked as a housemaid.

She attended church with family members and believed in Jesus as a teen, but a searing incident caused her to drift from the Lord.

One day a rival girl attacked her savagely and clawed at her face. Ethel fought back and did not “turn the other cheek.” As she reflected later on the vicious fight, she thought she should have run from the girl. She carried a burden of guilt for many years, concluding that a Christian would not have done such a thing. FULL POST

Posted 9/27/17 at 2:32 PM | Mark Ellis

Woman narrowly missed Tennessee church shooting

Grieving congregants outside Tennessee church

By Mark Ellis

Gloria Riches, 85, never misses a Sunday at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. But on the morning when a Sudanese immigrant shot seven people and killed one woman, Gloria was uncharacteristically absent.

“I haven’t missed a Sunday in six months,” Gloria says. “But I did not feel well.”

The pew where Gloria sits would have placed her in the path of the shooter. “God took care of me yesterday,” she says. “I would have been right there.”

She got an urgent phone call at 11:15 Sunday morning from a close friend who had just witnessed the first woman shot outside the church. “She was hysterical; as she was getting in her car, she saw someone fall in front.”

Gloria knows the alleged shooter, identified as Emanuel Samson, 25. Samson is a legal U.S. resident who came from Sudan in 1996. “He hadn’t been to church in about 3 years,” she notes. FULL POST

Posted 9/11/17 at 6:38 PM | Mark Ellis

When Dudamel’s Mozart became a bold witness for Christ

Dudamel conducting Mozart's Requiem August 24, 2017 at the Hollywood Bowl, with words translated

By Mark Ellis

On a balmy August evening at the Hollywood Bowl – a storied venue filled to the brim with people of many faiths and no faith – Conductor Gustavo Dudamel became an evangelist of sorts as Mozart’s Requiem turned into a megaphone for God’s truth.

It was a rare family excursion to the Bowl for my family on August 24th and our first encounter with Venezuela-born Dudamel, 36, described by L.A. Times Music Critic Mark Swed as “the most accomplished musician of his generation.”

We arrived early, bought picnic dinners, and happened to sit at a table with two Jewish couples that were bright and engaging, steeped in L.A. culture. One of the couples emigrated from Iran during the revolution.

As we sat talking before the performance began, I wondered to myself how it might be possible to plant a seed of truth in their hearts. Little did I know the answer would come soon in an unexpected way. FULL POST

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