Browse > Home / Archive by category 'News and Updates'

| Subscribe via RSS

Pray for Singer Natalie Grant

October 2nd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates
On September 21st, multiple Dove Award winner and Grammy nominee Natalie Grant announced with transparency that she has cancerous tumors on her thyroid. Watch her announcement here.

Natalie’s thyroid surgery is October 10th. Please pray for the doctors, for a quick recovery, and that her voice not be affected.

Jihadist Who Once Terrorized Christians and Muslims Has a MAJOR Conversion

April 4th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

Author: Stephanie Parker

Isaiah 59:1 says that the Lord’s hand not shortened, that it cannot save. Basically, it means that no person is too far lost that they can escape the power of God. The stories coming out of the Middle East have been nothing short of miraculous, with countless Muslims converting to Christianity after Jesus appeared to them in their dreams.

This story is one of the most incredible yet. A former member of Syrian’s al-Qaeda has surprised his friends, family and himself by claiming Jesus Christ as his savior instead of the Muslim God he has spent the majority of his life praising.

Bashir Mohammad said that he once identified himself as a jihadist due to his deep ties to Al-Nusra Front, the Sunni Islamist terrorists who were known as al-Qaeda Syria until 2016 when the extremists officially broke ties with al-Qaeda. In doing so, the Syrian terrorists became ISIS’s main rival in the war-torn middle eastern country of Syria.

But four years ago when the 25-year-old was an active member, his thoughts on Christianity were quite different than they are now and so were the extremists.

He told The New York Times that “Frankly I would have slaughtered anyone who suggested (Christianity)” because of his love for Islam and extremism ideologies.

At 15 Mohammad was introduced to a jihadist preacher. And a few years after that, in 2011, the year the Syrian crisis broke out, a time when everyone witnessed the ugliness of fighting, he became “re-energized” with Islam extremism ideology the preacher spoke about. So like other young men who felt called by the movement, he joined al-Nusra on the front lines. In doing so, he tormented prisoners and committed a long list of horrors all in the name of Nusra and their propaganda. According to Mohammad, it all made the “violence seem tolerable.”

You know “(al-Nusra) used to tell us these (prisoners) were the enemies of God… and so I looked on these executions positively.”

But the front lines of war took its toll and on a “break” he went to visit his family and his fiancé (now wife), Rashid. Both his parents and Rashid expressed concern over his growing anger and short fuse. Instead of him staying at home like the family had suggested, he left and went back to fight alongside fellow soldiers in the movement.

But unlike before, he started noticing different things like Syrian national forces using barbaric measures to kill prisoners, just like his side. To him, he looked at this as an awakening. Saying, It was “Muslims killing Muslims.”

It was then, “I realized there was something wrong.” It conflicted with the reason why he joined the Syrian al-Qaeda, saying, “I went to Nusra in search of my God.”

The harshness that came with this realization made him say good-by to al-Nusra for good. And just a few months after returning to his home in Northern Syria he fled with his wife to Turkey.

At first it seemed like their new life would be relatively easy considering everything the young couple had been through. But it wasn’t. His wife Rashid fell ill.

And on a whim, he decided to ask his cousin Ahmad for help. And as soon as he realized his cousin had such a strong love for Christ, he decided to step away and find help a different way. But that didn’t work and there was no where else to go. So he called back his cousin because his wife was very sick. And his cousin had his Canadian prayer group sing and pray for Rashid’s health.

In a matter of days, her health improved to his surprise and his wife. It also sparked their interest in Christianity. So his cousin again stepped in and put them in touch with a middle eastern evangelical group as well as a preacher in Istanbul.

In doing so, it opened up Mohammad’s eyes to something new. A religion that he says allowed him to feel a sense of calmness and peace. Explaining that when he opened his Bible, he personal felt calmer reading it than he had before. Also adding that, he felt very welcomed in the Church compared to the neighborhood mosques.

Another moment of peace fell on him, when he began reciting the Christian prayers. Noting that they were “more generous” than Muslim ones he had spend almost a quarter of his life reciting.

Then on top of that, was his dreams. Him and his wife felt like each one of their separate dreams “sealed their conversion.” Saying that, his wife Rashid dreamed of a biblical figure who had used heavenly powers to divide the waters of the sea and Mohammad himself had dreamed of Jesus giving him chickpeas. Most importantly both felt loved during each vision and after.

And now he realizes that, “There’s a big gap between the god I used to worship and the one I worship now.”

In the past “We used to worship in fear. Now everything has changed.”

In the young man’s new life in Istanbul, he has created a new community with his wife. And every Sunday afternoon, he holds a Christian service in his Istanbul living room where himself, his wife and twenty-two other Christian refugees recite scriptures and celebrate God.

Good news story: Trio of runners help a fatigued woman cross the finish line of a half-marathon

April 4th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

I love what Gilles Et Claudette wrote of Facebook about this video: “This is a life lesson, as Christians, it’s our job and call to support the weak or those who tumbles as they walk or run in our Christian journey on earth. Not to judge or criticize. Our life is filled with such instances, at the end, it’s to get to the end, with a little help of friends and the Grace of God.”

 

Why This Muslim-Focused Pastor Is Urging a 1 Corinthians 13 Approach to Nice Attacks

August 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

People gather to leave flowers in tribute to victims the day after a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more on the Promenade des Anglais who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, France. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

 

On France’s Bastille Day of proclaiming “Freedom! Equality! Brotherhood!” it takes just one Islamic Radical to reveal their hatred of all we stand for.

At least 85 are dead already, 50 more severely injured, including many children. It often takes a moment like Orlando or Nice in France to wake us up to the realities of Radical Islam, but this is a moment to “face the facts, but not fuel the fear.”

There are thousands of Muslims today across France and Europe who are shaken by the senseless murders of Radical Islam. Believe me, most of them are longing for someone to reach out to them and befriend them, rather than alienating them, and seeing them as “the enemy.”

Ali Husnain, was one of those young Muslims, who could well have been radicalized, but at the age of 16, he visited his aunt in Oxford, England, where a simple act of friendship changed his life. There he met some friendly Christians and was invited to a church meeting. He was amazed at the end of the service, when an invitation was given to anyone who would like to have an encounter with Jesus. Why would anyone not want to meet Jesus? He went forward, but found himself all alone at the front of the meeting where he fell under the power of the Holy Spirit, and immediately had an open vision of Jesus!

That experience totally changed Ali’s life. He had been born into a very wealthy family in Pakistan, and was raised as a devout Shia Muslim. He was a direct descendant of Mohammed, and Christianity couldn’t have been further from his mind. Now after this encounter, and a subsequent dream, he had come to faith in Jesus.

Unfortunately, Ali was unaware that he was about to face the evils of Radical Islam. On his return to school in his town in Pakistan, he casually mentioned that he didn’t need any other sacrifice at Eid, as he already had Jesus as his sacrifice.

Word quickly got round about his conversion, and after school he was dragged out and ritually held down while a member of a terrorist group stabbed him through the heart. They left him to die, but they didn’t bargain on Jesus appearing to him, stretching out his hand towards the knife lodged in his chest. He was rushed to hospital, where Jesus again appeared in a vision and totally healed him. He was chased all round Pakistan, and they even killed one of his aunts who sheltered him. Miraculously, we heard about this in Oxford, and a local British doctor was able to rescue him and fly him back to the U.K.

The persecution didn’t stop there. Along with others, I had been discipling him for three years, when one day I was in his house as a phone call came through from the terrorist group in Pakistan. I listened in amazement as they said that they had finally located him in the U.K., and would send someone to kill him the next day if he didn’t recant and come back to Islam.

This was in safe old mother England—not Pakistan! It was a rude wake up call to the realities of international terrorism. We quickly found a secure location for Ali to live for a few months while the storm blew over. He had already been refused asylum twice by the British government, who couldn’t believe that his life was in danger back in Pakistan. So now, armed with a recording of the threat from this terrorist group, we were finally able to persuade the authorities to grant him asylum. Remarkably, Ali is now living and working openly back in Oxford, and a friend has written his story: The Cost: My Life on a Terrorist Hit List.”

What is more amazing however, is that Ali not only refuses to run and hide, but now wishes to travel back to the town where he was stabbed in Pakistan in order to purchase land to build a healthcare facility for those living in poverty, regardless of faith. He wants to show the love of Christ to those who tried to kill him, through starting ” The Gulshan Trust” which will help him raise the funds to build and run this facility.

In 2-3 years time, following this act of love and forgiveness, Ali intends to return to Pakistan, so that he can then slowly breakdown the intense hatred and misunderstanding of the local people towards Christians and the Christian faith. Ali had an open vision that he was preaching on a platform to a huge crowd of people back in his home town, and in that vision, some of the people who stabbed him were there listening intently in the front row. Radical Islam cannot win! We need to learn with Ali, that “love never fails.”

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God’s presence 3) Hear God’s voice clearly! Go deeper!

Has God called you to be a leader? Ministry Today magazine is the source that Christian leaders who want to serve with passion and purpose turn to. Subscribe now and receive a free leadership book.

Read This Account of Tim Tebow Praying During an In-Flight Medical Emergency

July 5th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates
Tim Tebow is in the news again—and not for anything related to the NFL.He was on a Delta flight Sunday traveling to Phoenix from Atlanta when a passenger suffered a medical emergency and passengers from all over the plane jumped in to help, including Tim Tebow who helped the best way he knew how: by praying with the people on the plane and comforting the passenger’s wife.One of the passengers, Richard V. Gotti, posted on Delta’s official Facebook page to share the story. So far, the post has been liked more than 25,000 times and shared more than 10,000 times.

Tim Tebow

I have to share this story! I was traveling on Delta Airlines Flight Number 1772 from Atlanta, Georgia to Phoenix, Arizona when there was a medical emergency on board. An older gentleman began having what appeared to be heart problems, and he went unconscious. I watched strangers from all over the world and every ethnicity come to the help of this man for over an hour! Whether it was chest compressions, starting an IV, helping breathe life into this man, or praying everyone helped! I listened to shock after shock from the AED machine and still no pulse. No one gave up. I observed people praying and lifting this man up to the Lord in a way that I’ve never seen before. The crew of Delta Airlines were amazing. They acted in a fast and professional manner! Then all of a sudden, I observed a guy walking down the aisle. That guy was Tim Tebow. He met with the family as they cried on his shoulder! I watched Tim pray with the entire section of the plane for this man. He made a stand for God in a difficult situation. The plane landed in Phoenix and that was the first time they got a pulse back! Please share this with your friends! Pray for this man and his family, and also thank God that we still have people of faith who in times of difficulty look to the Lord!

Netflix introduces televangelist shows

March 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates
The sermons are also on Netflix Canada!

netflixAlongside programs like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” Netflix now offers users another type of content: Christian sermons. The online video streaming service added lectures by four popular Christian pastors in early December.

“I believe if Jesus were on planet Earth today in the flesh he’d be on Netflix,” said Ed Young, one of the pastors, in a phone interview.

Young spearheaded the effort to get Christian talks onto Netflix. He said he believes, like Jesus, he should find ways to appeal to the masses. It’s that attitude that makes the partnership with Netflix an unsurprising, if unprecedented, convergence of evangelical faith and popular media.

“It fits with patterns that are long-established,” said Stewart M. Hoover, director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Hoover pointed out that evangelical churches have been quick to adapt to radio, then television and other technologies as they have developed.

Young’s Dallas area-based Fellowship Church is no exception. Young has penned more than a dozen books; he has had television programs on the E! network and other cable channels; he hosts iTunes podcasts and offers video content on YouTube and Roku. He has also gained attention for media stunts such as his 2012 “bed-in,” when he and his wife spent a day in a bed on the roof of their church to generate discussion around sexuality in Christianity.

“Jesus said that we should become fishers of men. If I’m going to catch the most fish, I’ve got to put a lot of hooks in the water,” Young said of his many media projects. “But I’m most excited about Netflix right now.”

Young’s “Fifty Shades of THEY” Netflix series includes five episodes. The pastor paces a colorfully lit stage, offering jocular interpretations of Christian teachings to an audience of hundreds. The three other series have similar formats.

In “#DeathToSelfie,” young, T-shirt-clad pastor Steven Furtick talks identity. Georgia pastor Andy Stanley addresses working through challenges in “Starting Over.” And in “Winning Life’s Battles,” evangelical icon Joyce Meyer preaches to a massive auditorium.

Like Young, the other three pastors have media teams, YouTube videos, active social media accounts and personal websites to connect visitors to more content.

Young said he and his team started dreaming of Netflix about a year ago. Netflix was receptive to the idea, he said, and it was not hard to bring other Christian pastors on board with the plan either.

Paul Huse, executive director of marketing for Joyce Meyer Ministries, said Meyer’s team was pleased to take part.

“More and more people are cutting the cord,” Huse said. “Even though we’re on six or seven cable networks, more people are moving away from that and we want to be where they can still access us.”

Netflix did not provide many guidelines in terms of content for the episodes but did ask that the programs avoid product promotion or invitations for viewers to make donations, Huse said.

The move to Netflix made sense for the pastors, but for Netflix it’s a logical fit too, said Tom Nunan, lecturer at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and longtime Hollywood producer.

“Most people perceive Netflix as a competitor to HBO or Showtime,” Nunan said, pointing to the original edgy, adult content that has earned the platform industrywide recognition. But in many ways, Netflix is the opposite of traditional networks, which target specific niche audiences, Nunan said. “Netflix is trying to be all things to all people.”

Photo courtesy of Netflix.Nunan added that the entertainment industry has profited from religious content since the days of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments.”

“Spirituality, generally speaking, is very good business,” Nunan said.

David Clark, executive media director for Ed Young’s Fellowship Church, says it has a two-year contract in which Netflix pays the churches for the shows. He declined to specify the amount, except to say that it was “nothing astronomical.” Still, he added that it was a much more preferable arrangement than the traditional cable TV model, which usually required large costs on the churches’ part.

Representatives from Netflix declined to give an interview for this story but issued a statement saying, “Titles are continuously being added to the service to meet the diverse tastes of our more than 75 million members around the world.”

Young hopes access to those users might attract new followers to Christ.

“We’re always working to try to market to the people who normally would not go to church,” Young said.

But Hoover predicts the new sermon series are more likely to attract Christian customers to Netflix than they are to convert Netflix users to Christianity.

Photo courtesy of Netflix.“Evangelicals tend to think that because they are in the public media they’re going to cross over to more mainstream audiences, but evidence shows that they’re mostly just preaching to the choir, and I think that will be the case here,” Hoover said.

But for Young, the goal is clear: He plans to continue bringing Christianity to popular media in whatever forms technology provides.

“Jesus was the most creative communicator in history,” Young said. “If we’re taking a page from his playbook, the church should be the most creative entity in the universe.”

(Katherine Davis-Young is a contributor to RNS)

Source: religionnews.com

Personal Goals for 2016 from CHRI Staff

January 1st, 2016 | 3 Comments | Posted in News and Updates
Writing your goals down has been proven time and time again as an effected way to help achieve them. A few of the CHRI staff put pen to paper or more literally, fingers to keyboard, since it is now 2016 and wrote down a personal goal for the new year. Do you write down your goals?

care_150Care Baldwin

In 2016 I want to put more effort in to getting ahead on things. As someone who likes working with “To Do” lists, I think I subconsciously have a habit of keeping things on my list until the time they’re actually due. Are you like that too?

Things like projects around the house, planning for upcoming Sunday worship services, meal prep, or writing ‘thank you’ and birthday cards. Rather than waiting until they need to get done, I can be doing things as time allows – Of course, the secret is not saying ‘yes’ to more than I can handle! Are the things I’m putting on my list going to get me to where I want to be? Do they fit in with my passions, purpose and goals?

I hope 2016 will be a year of “Now” and that I can clear things off my lists sooner than they need to be!

ashlyn_150Ashlyn Berkhout

There are a few things I plan to focus on in the year of 2016. One of them is broadening my choices for healthy meal options. This would include meal prepping and putting a lot of mileage on my slow cooker so I have time to focus on the other things I enjoy in life; things like spending more time outdoors, doing crafts, and in The Word. Another small thing I want to do this New Year is celebrate my graduation of post-secondary! It is my goal to finish on a high note. I also want to grow a new aloe plant because mine died (R.I.P. Cecelia).

trudy_150Trudy Connelly

In 2016 I really want to establish a more consistent prayer & Scripture reading time each morning.  Currently I am finding that I only occasionally spend the time I want in the morning and far too often rush through a short devotional and a prayer or two before tackling the other things that need to be done before heading out the door in the morning.  I want to solidify the habit of spending a minimum of 20 minutes each morning reading and meditating on Scripture and listening to God’s voice.  The goal is to start each day off on the right track by getting closer to God and listening for HIs voice speaking into my life.   I have been able to develop the habit of a regular exercise workout most mornings so why not put in the place the time for what is even more important – spending time with God!

ashley_150Ashley House

In 2016 my goal is to compliment more with a special focus on strangers. When I receive good customer service, why not find the manager and tell them so. Or eat at a nice restaurant write them a great Google review. I hope to build and encourage others more in 2016.

brock_150Brock Tozer

This year, I’d like to be more intentional about strengthening individual relationships, esp. with my co-workers, my wife, & my two sons.

dianne_150Dianne Van Der Putten

I feel God is building in me a greater desire for prayer and after seeing the movie ‘War Room’ I’ve rearranged my living room and have brought back my prayer chair.  This is where I now sit to read my bible, wait on the Lord, pray and petition His throne of grace, and yes, I’ve now started to journal.  This is one area that I’ve struggled with and I’m not sure why.  I’ve started writing my thoughts and struggles, asking God to help me process them to bring clarity and focus for what He would be calling me to pray / do.  I’ve also started writing down my dreams and visions, asking God to give me understanding into them.  I’m amazed at what God is teaching me as I intentionally give this area of my life focus believing He is willing to teach all those who seek Him.