A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM MYRIAM WHO FORGAVE ISIS

Iraqi schoolgirl Myriam, whose message of forgiveness for ISIS ‘captured millions of hearts’ when it went viral, urges Christians to pray and bring hope to refugee children. SAT-7 documentary Sequel of Hope broadcasts her family’s message of hope after returning to their hometown of Qaraqosh.

The world has changed since the testimony of 9-year-old Myriam went viral in 2014. In an interview with SAT-7 Producer and Director Essam Nagy, she inspired audiences around the world when she forgave ISIS for displacing her from her home in Qaraqosh, Iraq, forcing her to leave everything she knew for a refugee camp in Kurdistan. Myriam said she found comfort and strength in watching SAT-7’s children’s TV shows in the camp – programs that helped her grow in her faith and extend forgiveness to ISIS.

We can learn so much from children who have faith in God even in extreme circumstances. Be inspired by the story of Myriam who forgave ISIS? Get the full story at https://www.sat7usa.org/sequel-of-hop…

YOU DON’T GO TO CHURCH, IT IS YOUR IDENTITY

Love this presentation by Francis Chan on the church. You will need an hour but you can hear it in 15 minute segments and not lose the message.

“We need to be the generation that kills the consumerism in the church.” says Francis Chan. I’ll say amen to that.

“Joy that is inexpressible.” “Peace that passes all comprehension.” “Power that incomprehensible.” Is that the church we see. It is the church that Jesus describes.

Lord, please enlighten the eyes of our hearts so that we see the truth of Your Word.

Listen to Francis Chan read Scripture (Revelation 4 & 5) and realise we are reading God’s Word which beats any presentation that comes from the mind of men.

 

THE ULTIMATE PRODUCT – WHY DON’T PEOPLE BUY IT?

Salvation through faith in Jesus is the ultimate ‘product’:

  • ETERNAL LIFE IN A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH WHERE THERE IS NO PAIN AND SUFFERING
  • IT’S AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE
  • IT’S FREE
  • REJECTING JESUS (THE PRODUCT) CONSIGNS YOU TO AN ETERNITY IN HELL (SEPARATION FROM YOUR CREATOR AND HIS GOODNESS FOREVER)

“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame…., for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 11-13

We are all involved in selling on a day-to-day basis, often without even knowing it. A dictionary definition of selling is ‘to persuade someone of the merits of’, or, to ‘cause someone to become enthusiastic about’ something.

And there is scriptural support for the idea that we should be more ‘calculating’ (or strategic) in our witnessing. In 1 Corinthians 9: 20-23 we read how Paul was strategic:

“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Sales professionals simply take what is second nature to us all, refine it, and apply it to specific situations to maximise their chances of success.

What follows is not intended to be prescriptive of how we should witness to the lost. We are all different and, as such, we relate to people in different ways. Hopefully, many of you are already using a lot of the techniques I’m about to share, often without even realising it. But if you’re about to take the first step in your evangelising, or you are frustrated by your efforts to date, I hope this might help.

Laying the foundations

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”  1 Peter 3:15–16

Be prepared

When you witness to an unbeliever, you will be asked questions. It’s important that you can either answer these questions or, at the very least, direct them to a place where they might find the answers. But it’s pointless having all the answers if you never actually take the step to talk to an unbeliever about Jesus.

Prepared to give an answer

The Gospel message provides an answer to the predicament of every person—we are all sinners in need of salvation. Once this ‘cornerstone’ is in place, we have a sure foundation from which to confidently answer objections to the message.

Being equipped with answers will help you to overcome objections and give you confidence to step out and share the Gospel. This is where Creation Ministries International resources are so valuable. Probably the best place to start is with the Creation Answers Book, which has easy to understand answers to over 60 most asked questions on creation, evolution and the Bible.

You should also familiarise yourself with creation.com, so that, if you don’t know the answer to a question, you can recommend a place they can go to find the answer (and the search terms the person might use for best results). It can also be helpful to have tracts to give away (e.g. creation.com witnessing cards).

To everyone who asks

Successful sales people will actively seek to generate selling opportunities. Moreover, the Great Commission is a command – “go and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19.

Making a sales presentation will usually involve an invitation, either in the form of an appointment, or at least a request for information about a product. Evangelism is similar—yes, we should always be looking for opportunities to start a conversation about Jesus (the easiest way is simply to tell (or, remind) people you’re a Christian). But ‘everyone who asks’ implies an invitation to give the reason for the hope we have.

The invitation(s) might be obvious: e.g. “Why are you a Christian?” Or they might be subtle: e.g. a throw away comment about Jesus, Christianity, another religion, or a news item with an evolutionary bias, etc. You just have to be prepared to recognize them when they arise. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss an opportunity (we all miss opportunities). Put it down to experience and work out ways to be better prepared next time.

Gentleness and respect

Successful selling requires persuasion, not pressure, and this is even more the case with evangelism. In most cases, you will effectively be telling someone that their whole worldview is wrong. This can be very confronting! Gentle persuasion is less likely to cause offence and, in the event of a negative reaction, is more likely to leave the lines of communication open for future discussions.

Respect is equally important. First, we are all made in the image of God, with responsibility for our decisions. We must always respect a person’s right to choose their own destiny, no matter how wrong we believe that choice to be. Second, respect implies a relationship. You cannot respectfully tell a person their worldview is wrong if you don’t know what that worldview is.

Before sharing the Gospel with someone, it’s important you take time to get to know them (if time allows). The easiest way to do this is to ask questions and be a good listener. We humans like to talk about ourselves and asking questions invites people to do just that. In the process, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate a genuine interest in who they are and what they believe. They, in turn, will be more comfortable in speaking to you, and will be more likely to listen when you speak to them.

Ask open-ended questions that require more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. For instance, questions prefaced with ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘Which?’ ‘Why?’ ‘When?’ ‘Where?’ and ‘How?’ Look for common interests and shared views and highlight these as they come up (as Paul would have done). If the conversation becomes more worldview-centric, ask clarifying questions and make a mental note of anything they may tell you that you can use to make the Gospel message more personal to them and more relevant to their life.

Whatever you do, don’t assume anything about the person you’re speaking to that you haven’t heard from them personally. When the time is right, it can be remarkably easy to steer the conversation to what you believe, simply by saying something like; “That’s very different to how I view the world.”

The reason for the hope that we have

Our ultimate aim should be that the people we witness to will place their confidence and faith in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. This is the hope that we have for ourselves, and the hope we should have for others. It may not happen at the first meeting, the second meeting, or for many years. We might not even be present when the decision is finally made (if it is made at all) but this must be our goal from the very beginning.

To this end, the most important part of witnessing is the Gospel presentation and you need to get it right. Prepare, commit to memory, and practice your Gospel presentation. It should be biblically sound, containing all the major features and benefits of the Gospel message, starting with the ‘very good’ Creation of Genesis 1. It should be logical, easy to understand and concise.

It should explain the features of the Gospel, but should focus on the benefits, the reason(s) for the hope that we have. To use a sales analogy, no-one buys a refrigerator because it has a motor, insulated walls and shelves (the features). We buy a refrigerator because it keeps drinks cold and food fresh (the benefits).

Don’t cut corners. Just as you shouldn’t assume anything about another person’s worldview, don’t assume they have a clear understanding of the Gospel, even if they tell you they do. In this increasingly secular world, if an unbeliever has any understanding of the Gospel at all, it is likely to be a distorted version.

As you grow in confidence, you may be able to weave into your Gospel presentation some of what you have learnt about the person you’re witnessing to. A good sales presentation is designed to turn ‘wants’ into ‘needs’, the theory being that a person is much more likely to ‘buy’ if they are convinced they need something, rather than just wanting it. This same process can also be applied to evangelism. For example; most honest people, when confronted with questions of mortality, will admit they want to know what happens when they die. You can point out that, logically, they need to find the answer to this question before they die, because, once they’re dead, it’s too late to do anything about it.

Those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ

Competition is a fact of life. Sales people are always on the lookout for ways to convince potential clients that what they have to offer is superior to the opposition. Successful sales people do this by highlighting the positive features of their own product and subtly, rather than overtly, undermining the competition. However, if there is anything in a competitor’s sales presentation that is perceived to be inconsistent, or false, it will be (and should be) ruthlessly exploited.

How much more will this be the case with evangelism, where we must contend with an enemy who “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) but also “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Don’t make Satan’s job any easier. Everything about your Gospel presentation, and your answers to the questions you are asked, must be internally consistent (without contradiction). In doing so, you give yourself the best opportunity to convince people that the Christian worldview, alone, is externally consistent (true).

This is where those who attempt to fit evolution and millions of years into the Bible get it so wrong. By attempting to make Christianity conform to the world’s version of origins, they open the door to accusations of inconsistency and outright, deliberate deception. If the Bible can’t be trusted in the first chapters of Genesis, why would anyone trust what it says about Jesus?

Militant anti-theists will always rage against the Christian worldview simply because they have an anti-God agenda. We do ourselves, those to whom we witness, and the God we serve, a disservice by trying to appease them. Keep a ‘clear conscience’. Let Satan and his minions argue the benefits of their own worldview rather than allowing them to point out inconsistencies in yours!

Be prepared for success

When a decision is made to buy, a good salesperson will have a procedure in place to finalize the sale and an after-sales support program designed to ensure long term buyer satisfaction. In the same way, you need to plan what you will do when someone indicates that he/she is ready to commit to Christ.

First, and foremost, you should encourage them to acknowledge and confess their sin (1 John 1:9), turn to God in repentance (Acts 20:21), and believe in Jesus for remission of their sin and for salvation (Romans 10:9John 3:16).

Then, help them to put in place the tools they’ll need to grow and defend their newfound faith. This should include: encouraging them to read the Bible and pray, helping them find a Bible believing church in their area, and suggesting they seek out Christian friends and join a Bible study group. You might also offer to stay in touch and disciple them.

Last, but not least, make sure they know where to go if they have questions. Introduce them to CMI materials; Creation Magazine (you might start by giving them one of your back issues), the Creation Answers Book, and the wealth of biblically based, God-honouring resources at creation.com. That way, they too will be prepared to give an answer.

Be prepared in the heavenly realms

One last piece of advice (this one’s definitely not learnt from the business world); before you do anything, cover yourself in prayer.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel and pray that you will recognise these opportunities when they present themselves. Pray for the boldness to speak God’s truth into the lives of friends, family, workmates, new acquaintances, etc. Pray that you will have clarity of thought and mind and that you will be able to answer the questions you might be asked. Pray for open hearts and open minds, that your efforts will bear fruit and that you will have success.

And pray, in particular, that you, and those you witness to, will be protected from the arrows of the enemy.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

The above article has been taken from the CMI article – More effective evangelism Lessons from the business world – Laying the foundations by Mark James, published, 5 June 2018 http://www.creation.com

 

LISTEN TO ALICE COOPER’S TESTIMONY

Former rock star gives his life to Christ and speaks about his experiences that lead him back to his Christian roots.

Almost four decades ago, Alice Cooper woke up in a terrible state. Vomiting blood and generally emaciated, he knew that something was seriously wrong.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Ralph Arvesen

“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” the musician explained to New York Daily News. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”

Cooper quickly realised that if he failed to stop drinking, he would die. It was happening to other world-famous rock stars that surrounded him; Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix to name just two. On the edge of despair and having been diagnosed as a “classic alcoholic,” Cooper turned to a steadfast and faithful helper: the Lord God.

READ: Rock star goes undercover to rescue slaves and stop sex traffickers

article by Will Maule/Faith Wire

 

MUST SEE MOVIES TO CHALLENGE AND INSPIRE

With Easter close, the release of the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ is a blessing. It is the story of Luke and Paul. Luke risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit his friend Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest cell. Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians , and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest way possible. Before Paul’s death can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will become the church.

Bound in chains, Paul struggle is internal. He has survived so much – floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst – yet as he waits for is appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten … and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world. We of course know they succeeded beyond their imagination.

It is no coincidence this film is being released in these “last days” when tribulation for Christians is increasing.

Another inspirational film, already in theatres now is the film “I can Only Imagine” Watch the two minute trailer below.

JESUS WILL NEVER ABANDON YOU!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31;6

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6

Do you truly believe this promise Jesus made, that He will never leave you or abandon you. It is not as if Jesus does not know what abandonment is, He experienced the wrath of God, all because of the fullness of our sin resting upon him. Jesus had to be utterly removed/separated from the presence of our Holy God. Contemplating what was ahead of Him, no wonder He shed tears of blood in the garden of Gethsemane

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46-47

As R.C. Sproul writes, ‘This cry represents the most agonising protest ever uttered on this planet. It burst forth in a moment of unparalleled pain. It is the scream of the damned for us.’

Contemplate once again the extent of what Jesus achieved for us as you listen to Christy sing the Mighty Cross. As the tribulation of the “last days” descends upon us, it is essential you believe His important promise; Jesus will never abandon you!

DOES YOUR HOPE IN GOD INCLUDE A LAVISH BANQUET?

“The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on the mountain; A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow, and refined, aged wine.” Isaiah 25:6

In Judaism, there would be no Jewish faith without food and wine, as it plays a central role in the weekly and annual biblical celebrations. Food and wine are spiritual elements first rooted deep in the soil of Israel. From the time of Abraham, food and wine have played an integral role in covenants and Temple offerings.

The Bible prophesies about food and wine and it is only a foretaste of what’s to come as shown in this verse from Isaiah.

Image result for picture of vineyards in Israel

Wine is one of the oldest biblical foods, and Israel has been producing it longer than anyone. After the great flood, Noah first planted vineyards, and wine is one of the elements of Shabbat, Passover and Sukkot. Just as wine is a blessing from the Lord, it is also an expression of gratitude and joy. It’s customary for people in Israel to raise a glass and say, “L’Chaim!!” (meaning, “To Life!!”) before drinking wine. Consider that during Passover, wine is the central element of a Jewish family Seder. The four cups enjoyed at the Seder represent the cup of sanctification to set Passover apart as a holy celebration, the cup of plagues to remember God’s judgements, the cup of blessing for Freedom from slavery and the cup of the coming Messianic kingdom. Exodus 6:6-7

“I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, they will make gardens and eat their fruit.” Amos 9:14

Israel, the light to the nations, is the only place on earth where God’s redemptive plan begins and ends through a specific place and a specific people but available to all of mankind. Jesus will return to rule and reign the nations from a restored Jerusalem.

The only thing better than standing united with Israel is standing in Israel—a living, breathing miracle of restoration as promised in the Bible.

Is your future hope as tangible as participating in a lavish banquet with Jesus and to serve Him as He rules and reigns the nations from Jerusalem during the Millennium.

PREPARE FOR PERSECUTION AS YOU STAND ON THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD

Paul provides the model of how to behave in the dark days ahead and how to finish strongly. Jesus told us that in the “last days” the love of many will grow cold. There will be a great falling away in the church (Apostasy), even the elect deceived.

Image result for pictures of gay church

Note many friends will leave you as they did Paul, “Demas in love with this present world has deserted me.” If you are doing God’s will, many will harm you as they did Paul “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm”. In fact, Paul says, “no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” BUT Paul also says, “the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the (GOSPEL) message might be fully proclaimed and all the gentiles might hear it. 

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defence no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:6-18