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.

HOPE FOR ATHEISTS

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Seth Mahiga
attends a service at Life Church International in Nairobi, Kenya, after resigning from his post as secretary of the group Atheists in. | Screenshot: YouTube/Elevate TV

Of course, in addition to Seth Mahiga, many other atheists have come forward to share their conversion stories. During an appearance on a podcast earlier this year, Chet Hanks, son of actor Tom Hanks, detailed how an encounter with God during a day hike in Utah when he was 17 led to his conversion from atheism.

Another former atheist, Lee Strobel, wrote an entire book detailing his conversion to Christianity called The Case for Christ. Strobel, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, had initially sought to disprove the existence of Jesus Christ but ultimately failed to do so and ended up becoming a Christian. In 2017, a film adaptation of his popular book was released.

Like Lee Strobel many former atheists go on to serve Jesus mightily. They know the difference; from a life of hopelessness, no purpose or meaning to life, to knowing God loves them and a vibrant relationship with Him.

Prayer is the language of a love relationship with your Heavenly Father. Prayer is exciting, intimate and joyful. When you discover God answers heartfelt prayers, your life will change forever.

This book changed my life. Love to Pray is all about loving the one to whom you pray and learning to express that love in a continuing dialogue with God. This book will help you discover how to become devoted to prayer as a way of life rather than a duty.

Be blessed on your journey with God.

JESUS – THE WORD OF LIFE

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.1 John 1:1-4

What an amazing Scripture. Do you want life, eternal life? There is only one place you will find it – JESUS.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.1 John 1:5-7

It is only His sacrifice on our behalf, His blood shed for you and me that cleanses us from SIN

What is the matter with the world? War, violence, turmoil, unhappiness ,,, There is only one answer – SIN.

The renowned theologian Martyn Lloyd-Jones reveals addictions provides a picture of all SIN patterns. At first the happiness it causes seems to outweigh the misery. But eventually the periods of misery increase and the periods of happiness fade. This is called the law of diminishing returns. Life is promised; death is delivered. Every drug, alcohol, and pornography addict is living proof the next high is less satisfying than the last.

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, SIN not only leads to insanity – it is insanity. Regardless of your drug of choice, materialism, cocaine, pornography, power, anger, slander – the nature of any SIN is saying. “This time it will be different.” Yet it just keeps killing us – all in the name of happiness.

The only answer to the SIN problem is Jesus. Repent of your SIN problems and ask Him to takeover your life as Saviour and Lord. Find meaning and purpose for your life, knowing you now have eternal life.

Martin Lloyd-Jones share these gems on SIN in his book Life in Christ in 1 John

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available on Amazon as a trade paperback or eBook or trade paperback from me at ron@bakb.com.au and making a donation. of $15.00 AUS or $20.00 USA to cover shipping

HARVEST RIPE: THE GOSPEL WELCOME NEWS TO THE YOUNG

A recent study from Barna that found that two-thirds of teens and young adults (65%) agree that “many religions can lead to eternal life” compared to 58% of teens and young adults surveyed in 2018. Additionally, 31% of teens and young adults “strongly agree” that what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society,” compared to just 25% in 2018.

A 2018 study from Barna similarly characterized Gen Z as the “first truly ‘post Christian’ generation,” with only 4% adhering to a biblical worldview. “Moral relativism hasn’t just crept into the worldview of Gen Z,” said Jonathan Morrow, director of cultural engagement and student discipleship at Impact 360 Institute. “It is now the majority opinion.”

whosoevers.comMAINSTREAM STATS AND QUOTES ON 25 OF SOME OF LIFE’S TOUGHEST TOPICS TEENS STRUGGLE WITH TODAY, AND THE BIBLE’S RESPONSE TO THEM.

Ryan Ries, co-founder of The Whosevers, a movement that seeks to deliver the message of the Gospel to schools and empower students to live boldly for Christ, told The Christian Post that these recent statistics reveal how important it is for young people to have a positive, biblically-grounded influence in their life.

Anxiety, depression, suicide, identity issues, all of these things are at an all-time high right now,” he said.

“We are seeing it across schools, we’re seeing across the country. “Parents, youth pastors, and anyone who works with teens and young people need to “be honest about the statistics and really let them know what’s going on,” Ries stressed. “Kids know they are depressed, suicidal, and struggling, and when you try to sugar-coat the Gospel and avoid hard issues, they aren’t going to know there is freedom that can take place,” he explained. “We’ve got to have good conversations and address these things because otherwise, we’re missing an opportunity to have a high impact and disciple these kids.”

Thanks to social media, young people are able “to sin in the most radical ways,” Ries said, adding: “When we were young, we had to figure out how to sin. We are now living in a whole different time, where kids who are 9 years old have the mind of teenagers because of the content that they’re exposed to. They’re getting immune to it, callous to it, and corrupted by it.” But as a result, Ries said, the “harvest is ripe” for the Gospel. He said that he’s seen an unprecedented increase in teens and young people dedicating their lives to the Lord in recent months. “The fruit is so ripe that it’s literally falling off the trees up to this point,” he said. “Everyone is giving their life to the Lord. You’ve got to have a conversation with them, be genuine with them, let them know that you love them and that God loves them. They are so eager for the freedom and truth the Gospel gives.”

Time is short so take this opportunity to present the greatest good news ever told to all in your circle of influence. If you are available the Holy Spirit will bring people to you. God loved us sufficient to send His Son to die for us that we have the opportunity to get back into a son/daughter relationship with Him. Not only that, but also to be assured of eternal life with Him on a new earth and heaven with an end to pain, suffering and death.

Embrace LIFE not DEATH.

DO NOT LOSE HEART

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Where is your focus fixed? On the things that are transient or things that are eternal. Up to the age of 47 my focus was totally on things of this world. I was managing director of The Ramsay Group, at the time, the largest surgical, dental, scientific and medical educational company in Australia. I had a waterfront home and all the trappings of success. You can read my story in the book Build a Kingdom Business – Empowered by the Holy Spirit. What is my current focus? It is on living eternal now.

available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback from me ron@bakb.com.au

As Jesus return to this earth is not too far distant we need to start preparing to rule and reign with Jesus during the Millennium. Jesus has unfinished business with Israel. Every O.T. prophet was given a vision of their Messiah ruling and reigning the nations from a new Jerusalem. This will happen, but not prior to Christians being tested through a time of tribulation unlike anything experienced previously. Jesus told us to watch and be prepared (1 Peter 4:12-14).

God has also revealed that the resurrected saints will rule and reign with Jesus. The thousand years is a transition period from this current world which is largely ruled by Satan. He will be defeated at the end of this period, chained and cast into the Abyss for 1000 years. Even though Satan is not around to tempt people during the Millennium we are told that Jesus and the saints still need to rule with a rod of iron. At the end of the thousand years Satan and His minions are released and He is still able to raise an enormous army to come against Jesus and the Saints. Jesus of course destroys the army and Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire. God then destroys this earth with fire. The White Throne Judgement takes place after all the dead have been raised to life. Then what? John was shown the following vision.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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 21:1-4

And he (Angel) carried me (John) away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia (2000 km/1250 m). Its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21: 10-27

OBEDIENCE AND LISTENING TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

These interviews and testimonies will help you to acknowledge the necessary actions we need to take to disciple and make a difference in other peoples lives. There is 6 minutes of introductory music so you can do something else while you listen to the delightful music but the testimonies that follow are worth the wait. The TLR movement is being used by God mightily to bring many into God’s Kingdom. The healings and the miracles demonstrate that the power is back in the church as disciples move out into the marketplace totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do ministry. For me in Australia it was wonderful to learn what God is doing in Eastern Europe. It is wonderful to see how God was moving in wonderful ways so it was obvious God was doing the work. His children were just doing His will. The testimony of the couple Abraham and Annemarie Levy is powerful. You must listen to them on “love”, Abraham makes three important observations of being a disciple that stand out: “You cannot follow Jesus without sacrifice”, “You must deliberately bury your own life”, “The flesh will always war against the spirit”, tough but exciting when you learn what God has done and is doing with their lives. If you live in Poland make sure you connect with this couple.

DEATH IS NOT THE END: WE WILL DANCE AGAIN

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.2 Corinthians 5:1-5

Social media was saturated with a beautiful video featuring a former prima ballerina in a wheelchair. In this viral clip Marta C. González Saldaña, who has Alzheimer’s, was filmed listening to music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Remarkably, when Saldaña hears the music she is able to remember and relive the choreography of the ballet she once performed. Seated in her wheelchair at a senior residential facility in Spain, she moves her arms to the music with a look of pure joy on her face.

The video, which was shared by numerous celebrities, intersperses footage of Saldaña with a young ballerina dancing on a stage. Although their ease of movement is somewhat juxtaposed, both women display the same passion for dancing. When Dan Walker, a British TV presenter shared the story, he said: “It shows the power of music and is a beautiful reminder that there is a person behind the disease.

We seem to inherently know there is more to a person than the surface-level brokenness we initially see at the beginning of this video. And I think this deep truth finds a home within the biblical world view expressed in the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:1-5.

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

One of the greatest aspects of the Christian faith is what we believe happens after death. And by no means is it blind faith or wishful thinking. It starts with Jesus himself. In John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ life and ministry, he records a conversation between Jesus and someone who had just lost a brother to sickness and death. 

Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:21-27

Jesus made a promise to Martha that not only was there a resurrection, but that Jesus himself was the resurrection and the life, and that faith in him would result in eternal life. It’s why this same apostle John, would go on to write the greatest summary statement in all the Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Make no mistake, Jesus clearly taught that there was a resurrection, and the way to eternal life, to a life after this life, was through faith in him. Now, the skeptical might ask: sure that’s great to believe in, but what if it’s all a hoax? Where’s the proof?

That’s a legitimate question.

How Christians live their lives should be proof enough. Why?

Because Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell the Spirits of all believers. He produces the fruit in our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. His job is to sanctify us, to make us like our Lord Jesus. We therefore build our lives around this belief in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. It affects how we live and interact with others. It affects how we use our time, our finances. We give our life to serving Him and others. The Holy Spirit even provides the gifts of the Spirit (all nine: 1 Corinthians 12:4 and Hebrews 2:4) to enable us to minister to others effectively.

In the book of 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul makes a great point:

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19

If this life is all that there is, then you would not live a life of sacrifice as Christians do.

Also look at the historical evidence: we know from the four eyewitness accounts from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, that Jesus claimed to be the son of God, and as he promised Martha, that he was the resurrection and the life. And then he died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. Three days later, these disciples began to claim that Jesus was raised from the dead, that they had seen him. And if true, this would change everything, because on numerous occasions Jesus prophesied his own death and resurrection, and if someone can prophesy their own death and resurrection and then pull it off, surely it is evidence enough to convince the most hardened skeptic. Fifteen to twenty years later, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth, recorded in the book of 1 Corinthians. In chapter 15, we have this incredible teaching on what Christ has accomplished for us with His death and resurrection.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6

Paul is recording the central claim of Christianity: Jesus proved his divinity by dying on the cross and rising again, thereby validating everything he said about the resurrection. It’s why we have hope that we who believe in Jesus will see our brothers and sisters in Christ again, that this is not the end for us. The key here is the list of witnesses: after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Cephas (Peter), the twelve, then 500 at one time, many of whom were still alive fifteen to twenty years later. It’s like Paul is saying: fact-check me on this one. I know it’s an outrageous claim, but go and talk to the witnesses yourself.

1 Corinthians is written twenty years after the event of the resurrection, with witnesses still alive, who saw Jesus alive after his death and burial and resurrection. And because Jesus rose from the dead, everything changes!

Here’s what Paul wrote about how Jesus’ resurrection secures our own resurrection:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 54-57

Death is the great equalizer, death awaits us all, but Jesus has taken away it’s sting. Death is not all that there is, because Jesus conquered death, and through Jesus we will conquer death. That’s not saying that we’ll live forever in this life, but we’ll live forever in the next. For those of us who believe in Jesus, will see him again, at the resurrection at the last day, and we’ll be with him forever. And because of that, we can rejoice.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

Let start living with an eternal focus NOW.

POWER OF KINDNESS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

With all the problems in the world, it’s good to know there are still Christians showing Jesus’ love with simple acts of kindness.

Steve Strang CEO of CHARISMA in his podcast today, interviews Convoy of Hope president and CEO Hal Donaldson. He shares how his organisation has stepped up during the pandemic to distribute more than 10 million meals to families who lost access to food and school lunch programs.

Steve states that he has known Hal since the early 1980’s, since Hal was a beginning journalist and Steve was working to get Charisma off the ground. Steve says, “It’s been great to see Hal develop as a leader over the years. The pivotal moment of his life came when he was given the opportunity to interview Mother Teresa in India, and she asked him what he was doing to help the poor. Her question shook him to the core, and he rose to the challenge it posed.”

ConvoyOfHope-Truck

Hal experienced poverty firsthand as a teen after his father was killed in a car accident and there was no insurance to take care of the family. He also knows how he was affected by the kindness of a woman in the church who bought him a nice pair of tennis shoes.

It’s an amazing story, and Hal explains it much better so listen to his testimony on today’s podcast , and ask yourself what you are doing to make a difference in someone else’s life. One immediate way is to partner with Convoy of Hope, which you can do at the Convoy of Hope website convoyofhope.org.