OBEDIENCE NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME

John Chau

On Nov. 15, 2018, John made first contact with the Sentinelese. Later that day, a Sentinelese boy shot an arrow at John that lodged in the Bible he was holding.

John retreated and prayed for wisdom. Should he keep going? Should he turn back?

“God, I don’t want to die,” John wrote in his journal that evening. “WHO WILL TAKE MY PLACE IF I DO? Forgive [the boy who shot me] and any of the people on this island who try to kill me, and especially forgive them if they succeed.”

On the morning of Nov. 17, the fishermen who had dropped John off saw tribesmen burying John’s body on the beach.

“I believe that the measure of success in the kingdom of God is obedience,” John Chau said shortly before his death. “I want my life to reflect obedience to Christ and to live in obedience to Him. I think that Jesus is worth it. He’s worth everything.”

John Chau was one of whom the world was not worthy of. I remember when the news of him got onto the media, people mocked his decision and said it was his fault that he died, sadly even some people who profess the faith condemned his actions. What a beautiful life he lived for the Lord. He reminds me of how Korea got the gospel through Missionary Thomas who got killed on the shore even before he got to preach the gospel just like John Chau, but through that death, a great revival was brought forth upon Korea. May the blood of John Chau bring great revival upon the Sentinelese people. Just like what God’s word says in John 12:24, “Truly, truly I say to you unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Truly humbled by what John Chau realized as he gave his life to serve the Sentinelese people. Thank you, VOM for this beautiful video!

WE MUST SHOW OUR CHRISTIAN COLOURS

Cooper Kupp’s team, the Los Angeles Rams, ended up winning the Super Bowl, and Kupp was named Most Valuable Player. But regardless of that, even if they’d lost and Kupp had not played well, he says it would have still been his best year in football ever. In fact, in the interview, Kupp says that because of his growth in his walk with Christ, even if his team hadn’t won a single game it still would have been his best year in football ever! (Here’s an article) about Cooper Kupp and his wife Anna Marie. She says, “We have prayed for a season to glorify our Savior Jesus Christ and you are doing just that my lovey.)

C. S. Lewis wrote, “We must show our Christian colours if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.

We cannot remain silent or concede everything away.” Even the Apostle Paul requested that the Ephesian believers “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19–20, NIV)

If Paul needed prayer for boldness, who doesn’t? When he was given the MVP award Kupp said, “I don’t feel deserving of this. God is just so good…”

In these last days may we be fearless in making the gospel of Christ known so that we may bring glory to God just as Cooper Kupp and his wife Anne Marie are doing.

STORY OF MUSLIM CONVERT

(Morning Star News) – Muslim relatives of a Christian evangelist, Malingumu Bruhan on Feb. 6th beat and tied him up to be burned to death after he returned home for a funeral in eastern Uganda, he said.

Despite the fact Uganda is a majority Christian country that affords its citizens religious freedom, there have been some cases in recent years that mirror Bruhan’s ordeal. Despite being 84% Christian, certain pockets of Uganda — particularly the eastern region — are Muslim-dominated.

Malingumu Bruhan, 34, returned to Kaliro District for his grandfather’s funeral in Muhira village, Nawaikoke, and then accepted his uncles’ request to stay and visit, as they said they had not seen him for a long time.

“Subsequently, my uncle accused me of embarrassing the family by holding Christian evangelistic, open-air meetings and debates with Muslims,” Bruhan told Morning Star News. “He accused me of being an infidel by converting to Christianity, and that Allah will reward them in Jannah [garden paradise] if they kill me.”

“He told me that now is the right time for me to receive punishment from Allah, whereby I was going to be burned alive and the birds of the air will enjoy me as their meat,” Bruhan said. “Some men beat me as others gathered firewood, while another was sent for petrol because they wanted to use it to burn me alive.”

”As his uncle was waiting for the fuel, another convert from Islam who had accompanied Bruhan to the funeral came looking for him but was told he was nowhere in the vicinity”, he said. The friend saw Bruhan’s shoe, which had come off as his uncle and others dragged him off.

Malingumu Bruhan was attacked near Nawaikoke, Kaliro District, Uganda on Feb. 6, 2022

“My friend made several phone calls to friends after finding my shoe, they arrived and started searching for me,” he said. “They found me behind the house, tied and with firewood around me. They called the police, which scared the attackers, and they fled.”

Having sustained head injuries, Bruhan was taken to a clinic at Bulumba town, then later transferred to another area undisclosed for security reasons.

An evangelist well-known in Mbale, Iganga, Jinja and Kampala for his public debates with Muslims about Christianity and Islam, Bruhan has survived 11 murder attempts. “By God’s grace I overcame the Muslims’ planned attacks,” Bruhan said.

His Muslim relatives ostracized him in 2017 following his conversion, saying that as an apostate he had brought shame to the family.

“When I was chased, I went on foot, slept in the bush, and survived on wild fruits for two months,” Bruhan said. “I still trust God to heal me and for divine protection for my life. The church has been a comfort to me. Pray for me so that I recover from the head injuries and will be able to continue with the work of sharing Christ with the lost.”

The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

We need to pray for our ex-Muslim brothers and sisters that come under intense persecution, particularly evangelists like Bruhan. You can keep up to date by connecting to Morning Star News and Voice of the Martyrs.

DEALING WITH CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS LIKE ABORTION

Why Are You Pro Life? How to Defend the Unborn

Do you struggle with knowing what to say and how to say it when a controversial topic such as abortion comes up?

“Challenging Conversations”, hosted by author and Christian worldview expert Jason Jimenez ia a conversational podcast designed to help Christians overcome their fears and learn to respectfully engage people of a different view or belief system. You will gain insight as Jason and his guests get into deep conversations about the Christain faith and discuss how Christians ought to be defending the Gospel as they speak the truth in love to those around them.

Click on the link below to hear Jason on How to defend the unborn.

https://player.edifi.app/episodes/Why-Are-You-Pro-Life-How-to-Defend-the-Unborn/4391984

PRAYER AFTER WINNING NRL GRAND FINAL

Penrith Panthers Christian teammates including Brian To’o, Jerome Luai and Stephen Crichton – who caught a game-changing intercept – form a circle on the field, bowing their heads to give thanks to God for their exciting premiership win in the National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final.

As Eternity reported last week, the trio grew up playing together in the west of Sydney and sharing their Christian faith. Crichton’s father, Va’a Crichton, is the pastor of their church, Rooty Hill Assemblies of God.

“It’s so great to see not just boys from our area playing great footy, but those same boys setting a great example for young people. We are believing for the best on and off the field for the boys!” said Sam, a youth pastor in the local Penrith area.

Brian To’o and Moesha Crichton-Ropati

Moments after the final siren, To’o went over to his partner Moesha Crichton-Ropati in the crowd and proposed to her on one knee. The State of Origin star had another cause to celebrate when a surprised Moesha said yes.

“First of all, I want to give all the glory to God, what a year it’s been for not only myself but for my community as well,” To’o told the Nine Network.

“I want to thank my beautiful partner for saying yes and also for the boys for getting us the win. I’m just grateful to be here and so lucky.

“I’m really speechless, not only because of the year I’ve had with Origin but also now to finish the year with a ring.

“It’s a special moment to have with not only my partner but my family in lockdown as well. I’m really happy.”

To’o has always been open about his Christian faith with the media, even opening up about his practices of studying the Bible, prayer and fasting.

Last year, he told an AAP reporter that he fasts for seven hours at the start of every day – abstaining from all food and all drinks, except water – even when he has training.

It is important as more young people believe belief in God is foolish and Christian morality hateful that Christians courageously acknowledge God publicly as these men have done in front of millions.

SATAN’S POWER DEFEATED IN TENNESSEE

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Baker and Stone players lead in prayer on their knees.

Satan’s power was defeated in Tennessee, as the threat of legal action by administrators with Putnam County Schools to forbid prayer after the game was overwhelmed by player lead prayer supported by parents and fans in solidarity on Overall Field.

Last week, administrators told staffers they would be barred from leading students in prayer in the future, a decision that came as a result of a letter from the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, according to WZTV-TV.

After the school board in Tennessee told teachers and coaches they could no longer lead students in prayer, members of the football team and their parents took matters into their own hands.

School administrators were told by their attorney to make sure all policies and laws concerning prayer at school-sponsored activities are followed. They said, “case law not allowing prayer or proselytizing is clear. Courts have consistently ruled that prayer and proselytizing can not be sponsored by schools or school personnel.

The district, for its part, acknowledged “the importance of prayer in the lives of our students, faculty, and staff members,” saying in a statement to the press that administrators “support the right of students to participate in and lead spontaneous prayers.”

“That right is and will continue to be protected,” the district added. “We also understand that faculty and staff members cannot lead or participate in the spontaneous student-led prayers.”

God bless the Baxter and Stone players for their faith and courage. Pray that we will see more Christians standing up for their faith in public places as a witness to the truth of God’s Word.

BEING LIGHTS IN THE WORLD

More tough Scriptures. It is amazing how you look at things very differently when you realise the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity lives within you and that you can grieve Him and quench His work in your life. Moreover, you come to realise that things in your life work out so much better when you get in step with Him.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world... ” Philippians 2:14-15

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5

The reality is you now have a different vision: a way to see things that are unseen. To see this world through our Heavenly Father’s eyes. It means finding hope in the hopeless, blessings in the brokenness and even good in the bad.

What a way to live, living eternally now, knowing God and His Word and knowing how the story ends: life with all three persons of the Trinity on a new earth and heaven.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1, 3-4

Just to keep things in perspective, Scripture clearly tells us that the Millennial reign of Jesus on this earth with the glorified saints precedes the White Throne judgement and the new heaven and new earth. Sadly, for those that survive the coming wrath of God and those born to the survivors, pain, suffering and death is still a reality but with Jesus and the saints present on earth and Satan bound (1000 years) their effects certainly the first two, will be less intense.

GREAT TESTIMONIES FROM THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Fiji Rugby Sevens thank God with prayer and a hymn after winning Olympic Gold.

Fiji’s rugby sevens team wrote another chapter in one of the great Olympic stories at the Tokyo Stadium, when they won the country’s second gold medal by beating New Zealand 27-12 in the final.
They gathered in a circle and filled the empty Tokyo Stadium with a beautiful rendition of their team hymn. “We always start with our prayers and songs, and we always end with our prayers and songs,” Tuwai said, “and that song says that our God is a loving God, and that while we always tend to go stray from what he expects from us, he still loves us, and gives us good things.”
 

Fiji’s players pray and celebrate after their win against New Zealand at the Tokyo Stadium. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Sydney McLaughlin ‘giving the glory to God’ after earning Olympic gold, another world record

“All the glory to God,” McLaughlin told NBC following the victory. “Honestly, this season just working with my new coach and my new support system, it’s truly just faith and trusting the process. I couldn’t ask for anything more and truly it is all a gift from God.”

“I think the biggest difference this year is my faith, trusting God and trusting that process, and knowing that He’s in control of everything. As long as I put the hard work in, He’s going to carry me through. And I really cannot do anything more but give the glory to Him at this point.”2

McLaughlin often uses social media as tool by which she expresses her faith and shares the Gospel with fans. As depicted by an Instagram post from February, McLaughlin has actively chosen to hand her future over to God.

“We can laugh at whatever lies ahead because we know HE has already won,” McLaughlin wrote. “We can sleep easier at night knowing HE has a plan for whatever may normally trouble us. We can laugh at anything that doesn’t fit the purpose for our lives, because we know God’s plan is greater.”

Through social media, she has revealed that her relationship with God is more than just a matter of believing in God, it is a friendship with Him.

“The peace of knowing I will always have a friend, always have His support, and always have His LOVE; makes even the loneliest of moments feel full,” McLaughlin wrote in May. “My soul finds rest in knowing He is not like us. He doesn’t change, and He will never leave me. Giving the ability to be completely content, no matter the situation. Simply because, I don’t have to face it alone. That. Is. Love.”

Circled on Nicolla’s wrist: “Jesus Makes All things New” and  her book to record and improve her jumps along with encouraging scriptures. 

These three testimonies were stand outs but I have been impressed by the number of Christian athletes that have recognised the importance of acknowledging God when they have achieved victory or even a personal best. There have been many that have given a verbal witness like Thomas Green joint winner of the K2 1000m Canoe Sprint. When asked if he would like to thank anyone, he immediately responded by saying, “I am a man of faith and above all I would like to thank my Lord for all that I have achieved and then went on to thank his parents, coach and support team. Many have gone to their knees in prayer immediately at the conclusion of their race or shown some other physical manifestation such as looking up to heaven and raising their arms in thanksgiving.

It has been inspiring me to me and I am sure challenging to many people that have witnessed these expressions of faith and thanksgiving to God. May God bless abundantly all of these faithful Christian athletes and may we see many more.

ENCOURAGING NEWS

Thousands of Men on Their Knees, Crying Out to God: Promise Keepers Returns With Massive Response

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Nick Vujicic – A man of God

Nearly 30,000 men attended the 2021 Promise Keepers Men’s Conference last weekend in Dallas, Texas with hundreds of churches hosting even more men online.

The two-day event aimed to bring a positive message that would inspire transformation and empower men so they could return home equipped to lead their families, communities, and country.

The conference took place at the AT&T Stadium, home field of the Dallas Cowboys, and featured a special panel of prominent speakers including Nick Vujicic.

David Closson, director of the Center for Biblical Worldview with the Family Research Council, said it was a powerful sight to see men committing their lives to Christ in such an extraordinary place.

“Here is a stadium known for football, but instead of beer and profanity, it was filled with men confessing their sins, praying and praising God,” he said. “It was encouraging to see men kneeling at the 50-yard line on the Dallas Cowboy star, surrounded by thousands of men on their knees, crying out to God. That stadium became a sanctuary.”

Be inspired watch this short recap here.

BIBLICAL CHURCH DISCIPLINE

The Pattern and Basis for Discipline

(1) The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor. 5:12-132 Cor. 2:6).

(2) Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God’s holiness—His desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him—is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to exercise discipline in the church evidences a lack of awareness of and concern for the holiness of God.

(3) Church discipline is to be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scriptur(1 Cor. 4:6). We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God’s directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible (1 Cor. 5:1-13Matt. 18:17-18Titus 3:102 Thess. 3:6-151 Tim. 5:20Gal. 6:1).

(4) Another basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world (1 Pet. 4:13-19). The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

(1) Discipline must be done by those who are spiritual, truly walking by the Holy Spirit and growing in the Lord. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1

(2) Discipline must be done in a spirit of humility, gentleness and patience, looking to ourselves lest we too be tempted (Gal. 6:1-22 Tim. 2:24-25).

(3) Discipline must be done without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality (1 Tim. 5:21).

(4) Those who walk disorderly are to be admonished, warned, and appealed to in love (1 Thess. 5:14-151 Tim. 5:1-2Eph. 4:152 Tim. 4:2). This admonishing, is not restricted to church leaders, but may be done by any person in the body with another if that person is Spirit controlled and spiritually minded (cf. 1 Thess. 5:14 with Gal. 6:1).

(5) If there is no response in repentance and obedience, then the sinning believer is to be rebuked publicly and members of the body are to withhold intimate fellowship through the process and procedure of group disapproval and social ostracism as prescribed in procedures for Church Discipline outlined in step 3, (2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15; Tit. 3:101 Tim. 5:20). This action has a two-fold objective:

  • It is to indicate to the offender that his/her action has dishonored the Lord and has caused a rupture in the harmony of the body. The goal is always restoration and the person is still to be counted as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).
  • It is to create fear in the rest of the flock as a warning against sin (1 Tim. 5:20).

FIRST STEP

First, seek private correction and/or reconciliation with the offender (Matt. 18:15). In Matthew 18:15 many manuscripts have “and if your brother sins against you, go and reprove him in private.”

(1) When the problem involves one believer sinning against another, there are two problems that need to be taken care of: reconciliation and restoration (Matt. 5:23-24).

(2) When the problem involves a believer overcome in or by some sin, as was the case in Galatians 6:1, the need is restoration.

Matthew 18:16-17 should not be limited to the problem of one believer sinning against another in view of Galatians 6:1. So, the one offended or who recognizes the offense or sin is to go privately and try to rectify the problem.

Please note these guidelines:

(1) Begin by expressing your genuine appreciation for the person and their good qualities to show you are genuinely concerned about their welfare. Then and only then bring up the matter which is of concern.

(2) In some situations the sin is apparent and there is no question, but we must allow for the possibility that we have misjudged or have wrong information. We must listen to the other person’s side of the story and seek the facts in the interest of truth and fairness.

(3) If the person fails to respond, warn them that, according to the instructions of Scripture (Matt. 18:16), you will have to get others as witnesses and return with them to deal with the problem.

SECOND STEP

If the first step fails, take witnesses to strengthen the effect of the discipline, preferably spiritual leaders, so that if it has to be brought before the whole church it can be firmly proven and established (Matt. 18:16-171 Tim. 5:19). The aid of church leadership should be sought if the problem involves an offense that is against the whole body or if it is a threat to the unity of the body.

These initial contacts, private and with witnesses, provide opportunity for loving admonition, correction, and forgiveness. On the other hand, if these first steps do not produce results, it constitutes a warning that further action will be taken and provides occasion for serious rebuke (2 Tim. 4:21 Thess. 5:12-13Titus 2:15; 3:10).

THIRD STEP

If the second step fails, seek reconciliation and restoration through the whole body. If further action is necessary, it is to be taken before the whole church (2 Thess. 3:14-15Matt. 18:171 Tim. 5:20).

This action appears to fall into two stages when we combine 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 with Matthew 18:17.

(1) The body is to exercise group disapproval by way of social ostracism (refusal to have intimate fellowship).

(2) If this doesn’t work, the local body of believers is to exercise excommunication: removal from church membership, loss of voting privileges, and continuation of the loss of intimate fellowship. This must be approved of and done by the entire congregation (2 Cor. 2:6).

This is, in essence, the Lord carrying out discipline through the action of the entire body under the leadership of the elders or the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 5:4). Similar heavenly authority is seen in the ratification of this disciplinary action as spelled out in Matthew 18:18-19.

CAUTIONS

If you see the offense or you have accurate knowledge of the sin(s), please note these cautions:

  • Be sure it is an offense which calls for discipline and not merely one of our pet peeves. Again, the Word must be our criterion.
  • Remember how we too have sinned in the past and heed the warnings of Galatians 6:1.
  • Bring the matter before the Lord in prayer before the confrontation takes place (1 Sam. 8:6).
  • Don’t procrastinate. The longer the delay, the more difficult the condition can become. Remember the consequences listed above.
  • Don’t gossip or even talk to others about it in the sense of Matthew 18:16 until you have talked to the sinning believer privately. We must guard and protect the person and the flock from rumors and a slanderous tongue (Prov. 6:19b; 10:19; 11:13; 18:8, 21; 20:19).

From article by Jack Wellman: What the church says about church discipline – http://www.patheos.com