Church & Ministry

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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 2:32 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 9/12/17 at 8:58 AM | Marvin Thompson

When a Preacher’s Words and Actions Confuse the Message

An interesting moment came about during a panel discussion at the Religion News Association conference in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 9th, 2017.

Televangelist and pastor at New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, Paula White, tried to clarify what she meant by some controversial comments on the Jim Bakker show recently. On the show she said it was God who raised up Trump, and suggested that any resistance to the President is tantamount to fighting against God’s plan, and is therefore “fighting against the hand of God."

Her clarification came in response to Jack Jenkins of Think Progress who wanted to know if she “believed all leaders, including former President Barack Obama, were anointed by God,” because of her comments on Bakker’s show.

Her clarification proverbially raised more questions than it answered. She said, “I'm a preacher and I got a little fired up and I said some things invariably that I wish I wouldn't have said" and "I don't believe that just for President Trump. I would believe that for President Obama, I would believe that had Hillary been in." FULL POST

Posted 9/10/17 at 4:45 PM | João Mordomo

Timeless Tips on Evangelism from the Apostle Paul

You’ve met the type. You may BE the type. Gung-ho for missions! Ready to take the world for Christ! Willing to go “way over there” to the “ends of the earth” to proclaim the Good News! Excellent! I’ve met many who fit this bill. Unfortunately, many of them have neither the ability nor the desire to communicate the Gospel “right here,” in their own country with their own people using their own language. How then, will they effectively communicate Christ cross-culturally? Perhaps some timeless tips from the Apostle Paul are in order.

You’ve met the type. You may BE the type. Gung-ho for missions! Ready to take the world for Christ!


Throughout the second half of the book of Acts Paul sets forth his case for Christianity over and against any other religion or philosophy. He does so employing trans- or supra-cultural principles that work in any culture, with any people, in any language. Acts 17:16-34 provides a particularly enlightening account of Paul's evangelistic approach. What can we learn from Paul? FULL POST

Posted 9/5/17 at 1:53 PM | Mark Ellis

God miraculously healed him of Lyme disease

Dominic Sputo

By Mark Ellis

He was a young deadbeat dad with multiple DUIs and a mountain of credit card debt. But God saw fit to save him and ultimately perform a huge medical miracle after a significant course correction on his spiritual path.

“I had a really depraved background,” confesses Dominic Sputo, the founder of Mute No More. “I had never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I had never read the Bible.”

On his last day of college, he discovered he had a three-year-old daughter. He knew the child was his, but decided to flee from his fatherly responsibilities.

He landed a decent white-collar job after graduation. At the same time, however, he nurtured a drug and alcohol problem that got more severe with time.

“After five years of running away from her my life was a train wreck,” he admits. At 28-years-old, he had multiple DUIs and the installment payments on his credit card were more than his monthly paycheck. FULL POST

Posted 8/31/17 at 3:05 PM |

First Priority of America names new President and CEO

Dr. Rick Forbus has been selected to serve as the next President and CEO of First Priority of America, a Christian non-profit organization that presently resources over 40,000 middle and high school students in 849 clubs across America. Forbus and his team are preparing to be in 1000 schools by the fall of 2018.

For the past eleven years, Dr. Forbus was the CEO of Trove, Inc. an Atlanta-based executive coaching and professional training firm. He will remain a Senior Partner for Trove, Inc., but will direct his energy and skills to grow First Priority of America.

“First Priority of America (FPoA) exists to share the hope of Christ with every student in America,” says Forbus. “We believe that America’s youth culture is facing a major spiritual problem that requires a great spiritual movement. All statistics today indicate that teenagers are the number one influence on the lives of their peers. Our strategy is designed to unite the body of Christ by networking churches, parents, and business/community leaders to support, train and resource Christian teenagers to influence their school peers with the Gospel. FPoA believes that the good news of the Gospel of Christ is the solution to the hopelessness facing today’s teenagers.” FULL POST

Posted 8/15/17 at 12:02 PM | Dylan Moran

SAN ANTONIO AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS

Among the various general personal injury conditions handled by our attorneys are auto accidents that take place on the byways and highways of San Antonio. Every year thousands of people meet with an auto accident which can result in severe injury or even death. When this happens, the direct participants are far from the only ones who suffer. The family is likely to take a heavy financial hit, and depending on the type of injuries, this can become an ongoing burden that can destroy a family’s quality of life. The right legal representation can make the difference between a subpar settlement and one that gives you everything you can legally obtain.

If you or your loved one ever meets with an accident, they should get in touch with our San Antonio Personal auto accident lawyers. With their help you can file suit to claim compensation for your medical bills, physical and emotional suffering and lost wages. FULL POST

Posted 8/2/17 at 4:22 PM | Mark Ellis

Myanmar: Pastor casts demons out of chief’s son, Buddhist village comes to Christ

Myanmar village

By Mark Ellis

Dano was raised in a Christian home by parents who formerly practiced animism. After his father died, Dano turned to God and accepted Jesus as his Savior.

As a young man, Dano enlisted in the military and had combat experience on the frontlines fighting Chinese rebels. “Our enemies ambushed us, they shot us and landmines exploded.” Dano reported in a story by Open Doors.

He narrowly escaped the ambush. “I was positioned on the frontline, there was one experienced soldier before me and another behind me. The soldiers in front of me and behind me were killed by the explosion of the landmines. I found out that 120 soldiers died.”

Dano believes his life was spared for a reason. “I believe God preserved my life from death on the battlefield for a purpose—because it is written in the Bible that God protects those whom He has chosen. I believe God has chosen me to do his work and serve his people,” he told Open Doors.

After eight years of service, Dano left the military and obtained a license to operate a timber business and began to earn his livelihood exporting timber to Thailand.

One day he had a surprising vision. “I was shown a vine full of grapes, fully ripe and waiting to be plucked. A heavenly angel asked me to pluck the grapes and eat them. If I didn’t pluck he would send someone else.” FULL POST

Posted 7/31/17 at 2:17 PM | Mark Ellis

Finland: Hundreds of Muslim refugees converting to Christianity

By Mark Ellis

Muslim asylum seekers from the Middle East are converting to Christianity by the hundreds, according to Evangelical Lutheran church leaders.

A church in eastern Finland is conducting classes for the new believers from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, according to a report by the Finnish news organization Uutiset.

Conservative estimates of the number of exiles who have renounced Islam for Christianity is several hundred in the last few years, Marja-Liisa Laihia, an administrator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church, told Uutiset.

About 20 young Afghani men are currently involved in pre-confirmation teaching at a church in Imatra, Eastern Finland. They have been provided copies of the New Testament in the Dari language, their heart language. They are instructed in English, with a Dari interpreter helping via Skype.

Training for the new converts began a year ago, following the establishment of a reception center for the refugees in Imatra.

“Asylum seekers began attending our services so we reacted by starting up the lessons,” pastor Vesa Julin told Uutiset.

One of the first questions by many of the new converts is about baptism. “I haven’t been baptized yet, but I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure I will be a good Christian,” Aliraza Hussaini said. FULL POST

Posted 7/31/17 at 2:07 PM | Mark Ellis

God used fighting between two villages to bring salvation

By Mark Ellis

Imie and Amy Mark consider themselves “expendable for the King” in their service as missionaries in Papua New Guinea with Ethnos360.

Amy, and their two youngest children, had the opportunity to spend part of their spring break in North Wahgi visiting another of the missionary families affiliated with Ethnos360 ministering among the people there.

During their visit, they learned about recent fighting that had broken out between two neighboring villages. Sadly, hostilities began over a refusal to lend less than $2 and escalated into an all-out battle between the villages, Imie recounts on their blog.

To escape the fighting, some people in one of the villages came to stay with the missionary family Amy was visiting. While they were there, they were invited to hear the Foundational Bible Teaching (where they teach through Creation to Christ to present the gospel in the full context of the whole of Scripture).

The power of the Word and the Spirit touched several who were there. “Two of these men believed and became new brothers in Christ!” Imie reports.

“They went back to their village and told their families and others that they needed to hear this teaching because it is unlike anything they had ever heard.” FULL POST

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