Saturday, 31 October 2020

‘All Souls to the Polls’ engages churches to make voting fun and accessible

All Souls to the Polls


Contentious, high-stakes elections are nothing new to Darryl Warren Aaron or his members at Providence Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C.

But there is a different feel surrounding the 2020 general election, said the pastor of the city’s oldest Black congregation. “It takes me back to when (President Barack) Obama ran the first time. There’s an energy. There’s a drive. It feels existential, as if people are recognizing that there’s power in the vote.”

In an effort to share that passion, Providence Baptist and other congregations in North Carolina and additional battleground states have partnered with civic and social justice groups to drive transportation-challenged voters to the polls during early voting periods and on Election Day.

And with guidance and funding from the New Moral Majority, food trucks are being parked at or near some voting sites to feed and encourage voters waiting in long lines, said Ryan Eller, co-founder and executive director of the progressive faith-based political action committee.

Darryl Warren Aaron


Ministers are being encouraged to serve as chaplains to encourage voters waiting in long lines, he said. “Hundreds of clergy are participating in that.”

 The overarching goal of the New Moral Majority’s “All Souls to the Polls” initiative is to help Americans connect the dots of faith and voter participation, Eller explained. “A food truck feeding people for free and giving out drinks and water to people standing in line communicates that people of faith can participate in democracy as a spiritual act.”



While long lines at polling sites are inspiring to see, they can cause some voters to abandon the process. Voter suppression efforts also keep some from voting. So it’s vital to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, he said.

“We want to create an uplifting atmosphere in which folks in long lines see groups of people having fun and good food and water … and listening to music. We are convinced that will help some folks to consider voting.”

The New Moral Majority is working with Baptist and other churches mainly in North Carolina because it is considered a key battleground state. But similar events also are being planned in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Eller said.

The effort stems from the organization’s wider mission to recapture the Christian faith coopted by conservative political and religious movements, he said. The network was founded in the spring, its publicity says, “to utilize this moment to change the moral narrative and try to reclaim Christian identity from the former Moral Majority, which was never moral and never a majority.”

“All Souls to the Polls,” Eller added, is designed to provide people of faith an opportunity to impact that discussion and “to be a public and moral witness in the world.”

Faith is the central motivation for Providence Baptist Church members who already have driven hundreds of people to voting stations and will continue doing so until polls close the night of Nov. 3, Aaron said. “Our faith teaches us that the church can never be closed off in the building.”

On Oct. 31, the last day of early voting in North Carolina, Providence will have a food truck stationed at a housing development from which its volunteers will transport voters to and from the polls.


Ryan M. Eller

“People of faith can participate in democracy as a spiritual act.”

Many of these residents have no other way to get there, he explained. “Some could take the bus but standing in line for three hours then catching a bus for three hours can become a deterrent.”

These and many others live in what Aaron called “opportunity deserts where there is not enough food, not enough transportation and not enough education.”

Taking these citizens to vote, therefore, is a way of living out the gospel, he believes. “We are forced to go out and assist those who are left behind. In this case, picking them up and taking them to the polls is acknowledging their condition.”

The process has been a success so far because many who would not have voted have — and will — cast ballots to create the improvements needed in their lives and communities.

“You can hear Dr. King in that wonderful speech in which he said give us the ballot and we’ll put people in leadership that have, as he said, ‘felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the divine.’”

Friday, 30 October 2020

France: Knife attack at church in Nice leaves three dead

French officials said an investigation was underway into a terrorist attack

Authorities are investigating a deadly knife attack in the French city of Nice as a terrorist incident. Following the third attack in two months attributed to Muslim extremists, France raised its alert level to urgent.

Evangelicals pray for peace after three were killed at a Catholic church in Nice, the third incident in recent months attributed to Muslim extremists.

What do we know about the attack?

  • The attack took place Thursday morning at the Notre Dame Basilica in the heart of the Mediterranean city.
  • Terrorism investigators said the suspect entered the church and waited a half-hour before cutting the throat of the custodian, then nearly decapitating an elderly woman and stabbing a third woman, who escaped the church and died at a nearby cafe. 
  • The suspect was shot and seriously injured by police and is currently being medically treated in custody.
  • Authorities said that the suspect is a 21-year-old Tunisian man named Brahim Aouissaoui, who recently entered France from Italy. He arrived in Nice by train.
  • While being detained, the suspect began shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great)
  • The attacker is believed to have acted alone.

French evangelicals are mourning along with the Catholic church and the rest of the nation after an attacker armed with a knife killed three people Thursday at a basilica in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

“Let us be peacemakers in a French society that lacks it. Pray for our fellow citizens, whatever their religion. Let us love our neighbors, as Jesus ordered us to do,” stated the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF), citing Matthew 5:9.

Police in Nice have closed all places of worship in the city, and the evangelical group advised pastors across the country to heed government recommendations to heighten security due to the threat of further violence.

The incident at Notre Dame Basilica in Nice was the third attack in two months in France that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher.

It comes amid a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo—renewing vociferous debate in France and the Muslim world over the depictions that Muslims consider offensive but are protected by French free speech laws.

Other confrontations and attacks were reported Thursday in the southern French city of Avignon and in the Saudi city of Jiddah, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the attack in Nice.

“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” said Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who told BFM television that two women and a man had died, two inside the church and a third who fled to a nearby bar but was mortally wounded. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”

Christian leaders across France responded by crying out to God in prayer and calling for peace in their country. “May God console the hearts of bereaved families,” said Thierry Le Gall, a pastoral director with CNEF. “Let us pray for our nation, the forces of order and unite against barbarism, for freedom of religion and expression.”

The assailant in Nice was wounded by police and hospitalized after the killings at the basilica, less than a half-mile from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens of people.

Shots punctuated the air and witnesses screamed as police stationed at the grandiose doors to the church appeared to fire at the attacker inside, according to videos obtained by the Associated Press. Hours later, AP reporters at the scene saw emergency vehicles and police tape lining the wide Notre Dame Avenue leading toward the plaza in front of the basilica. For a time after the attack, sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the attack, the third one since a trial opened in September for people linked to the 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket by gunmen who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. The trial is nearing its end, with a verdict planned for November 13, the fifth anniversary of another series of deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

The Protestant Federation of France stated, “Religious fanaticism is a scourge that we are all called to fight against and we call on the authorities to be extremely firm with regard to such terrorist acts.” The group called on Christians to stand together around gospel hope while recognizing the tragedy of the situation in France.

French Roman Catholic sites have been ferociously and repeatedly targeted by extremists in recent years, including the killing of Jaqcues Hamel, who had his throat slit while celebrating Mass in his Normandy church by Islamic militants and a plot to bomb Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral.

Those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group, which also is believed to have recruited a man now on trial who plotted unsuccessfully to attack a church on the outskirts of Paris.

Moody Bible Institute promises investigation of abuse complaints


Students outside Moody Bible Institute


The review follows a student petition that claimed the Chicago school mishandled reports of sexual misconduct, abuse, and stalking

Moody Bible Institute in Chicago has promised a third-party investigation and other steps in response to a petition claiming the school mishandled complaints of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse for decades.

The petition, launched Oct. 16 on Change.org, has more than 3,100 signatures and several comments from MBI students and alumni. They claim that after they reported abuse or harassment, school leaders did not inform them of their rights, discouraged them from filing Title IX claims, or disciplined them. Title IX, a civil rights law, requires schools to investigate and respond to sexual misconduct.

Most of the petition complaints concern Timothy Arens, dean of students and Title IX decision-maker, and Rachel Puente, assistant dean of student life and part-time Title IX coordinator. School administrators said in a press release they have removed both employees from their disciplinary and Title IX roles. However, they continue to work at MBI. A school representative declined to discuss the student petition or comment further.

Arens has worked at MBI since 1984 and plans to retire next year. School President Mark Jobe and Provost Dwight Perry stressed during a chapel service on Oct. 20 that the school has not determined whether Arens or Puente did anything wrong.

“I would encourage you to abstain from judgment or conclusions,” Jobe said. “I’ve always known [Arens] to be a man of character.”

Anna Heyward, 2017 MBI alumna, wrote in an account accompanying the petition that in 2016 her then-boyfriend, an MBI graduate student and employee, coerced her into getting drunk and forced her to perform oral sex. He later raped her and hit her in the face, she said.

Heyward said that when she told Arens, he asked her what she had done to deserve being hit and told her if she repeated her story publicly she might not be allowed to graduate. She said Arens placed her on academic probation for violating student conduct rules against drinking and sex.

MBI’s Title IX policy says the school will not discipline students for conduct violations if they are not egregious and are disclosed as part of a good-faith report of sex-based misconduct.

Heyward said she lost a scholarship because of the academic probation. She claimed Arens forbade her from dating until she graduated and required her to email him regular updates about her behavior. Heyward said she also told Puente about being hit, and that Puente expressed sympathy but did not inform her of her rights to a Title IX investigation and university protection.

“To this day I don’t even know how a Title IX case is filed because I was never told the process,” Heyward told me.

Heyward began organizing the petition this summer after she mentioned her experience in a social media post and received comments and messages from students and alumni with similar stories. The petition includes 11 accounts in an accompanying online document. The dates of the incidents described in the accounts range from 1995 to 2019.


“I don’t think that Rachel Puente or Dean Arens are evil people,” Heyward said. “I think Dean Arens probably has done a lot of good things. Has he done good things in this part of his employment? I don’t think so.”


According to former students, Arens in yearly speeches invited female MBI students to view him as a father figure at school. Bethany Timm, an MBI student from 2014 to 2016, wrote that after a male student began stalking her on campus, she reported the matter to Arens. She said he did not inform her of her right to file a Title IX report and dismissed her safety concerns. Megan Wohlers, a 2019 graduate, wrote that Arens and the Title IX office directed her to sign a nondisclosure agreement and drop charges of sexual assault, stalking, and sexual harassment in exchange for the accused student agreeing to leave campus.

Attorney Adele Kimmel, director of Public Justice’s Students’ Civil Rights Project, said that if the stories are accurate, the school is “doing everything wrong.”

“If those things are true, then Dean Arens has no business handling student complaints,” Kimmel said. “It’s clear that if these allegations are true, that he approaches these in a biased way, based on sex stereotypes, and it’s hard to imagine any training that would rehabilitate him sufficiently to handle this.”

Kimmel said Title IX process violations like the ones reported in the petition are more common at small schools with insufficient Title IX training and only part-time coordinators. MBI’s policy requires Title IX personnel to receive 8-10 hours of training each year in addition to the trauma-informed response training the school provides yearly to all employees.

The petition asks MBI to include student and alumni voices in replacing Arens, to replace Puente and let students and alumni help choose a successor, to remove Title IX decision-makers with disciplinary powers, and to publish annually the number of Title IX complaints made and MBI’s response to them.

Heyward said she and eight others met on Oct. 22 with MBI leaders, including Jobe and Perry, who told them the petition demands were realistic. The school had previously announced it would allow students to give input in replacing Arens after his retirement, and Heyward said the leaders agreed during their meeting to include alumni as well.

The school said in a press release it was searching for an appropriate third-party firm to investigate the complaints in the petition, evaluate the school’s handling of the complaints, and review its Title IX practices. It also promised to integrate counseling into its Title IX processes and provide regular updates. Heyward said MBI has taken helpful first steps.

“My goal isn’t to burn [MBI] down,” Heyward said. “My goal is to make it a safer environment for future students.”

Friday, 16 October 2020

Today's Prayer Requests

We Are Praying With You

 "Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Romans 15:30 


Ross | Hi I would like to request that you keep me in your prayers I requested that you pray for me a week or so ago I’d appreciate it if you carry on praying for me to meet my life partner a beautiful loyal woman who makes me want to be my best version I ask that you add in the prayer that I have the confidence to take action when the time is right, I’m praying also thank you.

Migharo | Please join me in prayer that I should have peace and favour in my place of work. I pray for the fruit of the womb and for every woman who desires children in Jesus Christ name.

Jonathan Ugiagbe | Please I like you to join me in praying for God's guidance, protection, favour and wisdom in making decisions in my life endeavours in Jesus name, AMEN. From

John Ochola Gerald | Hello Dear the Lord fellows I need your help to pray for me and my family so that we get a House of our own we are tied of renting and transport so the we will be able to get in time to the church because we are leaving very fear from our church may thanks

Reuben | Hi everyone, please pray for me im in pain , im sick for almost a week,have high fever and flu. cant go to hospital coz i dont have money and dont have work since the covid pandemic started. just taking meds without prescription..please please pray for my fast recovery ,so i can find work , im scared.. i have a family that depends on me.. a wife and 4 children.. i thank God because of giving us goodneighbors whos always there to give food.. thank you

Joseva | Hi can you all pray for my mother and cousins who is really poorly sick back home in Fiji. Thanks

Roy Swapan | Dear Pastor, please pray for my wife, Chandana who is suffering from a stone in her right kidney, often suffering from Urinary Tract Infection. Pray, that Lord's miraculous power may crash the stone and it may come out without any problem. Also, a wicked family is trying to capture my land by force which I purchased on 2005. Dipali Das, the wife of Jiten Das, a wicked lady, along with her whole family are giving us much trouble everyday, throwing bad words at my family members and making dirty on the path which our grandfathers used since last 108 years, and often tried to beat us and threatening. Police is not helping us as one of their son is working in police department, and police is ignoring our petition. May the Lord His bring justice, and may His powerful hand subdue that family. Let the Lord attack that family and send them away from that land. Pray for Lord’s mighty angels will guard us and our land. I am claiming the the Lord to fulfill Jeremiah 17:18. Please join hand with me.

Georgia Johnson-daley | Good morning please for a break through on my life, pray for me to have good health I need some healing right now on my health please. Am in school and need some prayer on my education so I maybe successful. Prayer for my kids and my relatives. In the mighty name of Jesus Thank you. Thank you

Sarah | I asked for a prayer yesterday but I am asking again for a prayer to help me through my struggle right now. I ask for prayer for me to see that I will be happy, be loved and that I will make it through my time of worry and darkness. Thank you.

Mark | pray for me as I pray for you and your family have a blessed day.

Jo | Please can you pray about me for my family ,debt ,generation curse ,family members not having babies,marriage .Thank You

NOVIE JAMES LIGUE | GOOD MORNING SISTERS AND BROTHERS IN CHRIST. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE MINISTRY THAT GOD HAD ENTRUSTED WITH ME AS A YOUNG WORKER. BY HIS GRACE AND MERCY THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ACCEPTED HIM HAS GROWN IN NUMBER IN THE REMOTE AREA IN THE PHILIPPINES. WE HAVE DECIDED TO BUILD A PERMANENT WORSHIP PLACE TO CATER THE BAPTIZED BELIEVERS. PLEASE HELP US PRAY THAT WE CAN SUSTAIN BUILDING THE EDIFICE SINCE WE COULD HARDLY GENERATE SUFFICIENT FUNDINGS TO FINISH THE BUILDING WE HAD STARTED SINCE, WE ARE WORKING WITH THE MINORITY GROUP HERE IN THE REMOTE AREA OF DAVAO REGION. MAY OUR GOOD LORD GIVE US STRENGTH PHYSICALLY AND SO MUCH THE MORE SPIRITUALLY.

Samuel | I have a mass at neck since two years, doctor said need to examine mass. I'm so much worried about mass, I hope that is not be a tb mass or cancerous mass. plz pray for me to get free from the mass at neck.

Sarah | I'm asking for a prayer that my 41st year of life will be the best one. My birthday is October 7th. I have struggled with addiction and I am coming up on 4 years sober this January. I am dealing with some issues at the moment and need faith and strength to help me. Thank you.

Chris | I am asking prayer request for my wife, she is sick for long time i am asking that Holy spirit come and heal her in Jesus 

LP | Hi. My name is Lorena . I'm from Brazil and really apreciate your work, your devotionals are amazing, and the prayer's requests are giving me the chance to pray for others. Congrats. God Bless you and your team. Pray for Brazil and our president Jair Bolsonaro. Please. We are living a hard moment. The people can't respect the others opinions. Very sad, most youth living a promiscuous live. I am 29 years old and i'm scare about it.Thanks.

Laura | please pray for me, my husband and our furbabies. We are being attacked by the devil. Going through alot of bad things.

ST | Good morning I am requesting for some prayers on my life as I am going through some health issues, I pray for healing. I am in university and am asking for some prayer for success please I thank you in advance. Amen  

Stephanie | Pastor am asking prayer of healing over my body. Am going through some health issues, high blood pressure. Please I need your help. Pray for me

Keyason | DearPlease can you help me praying for orphans support for food and fees as well widows and church support as well visiting of church people to receive

Mary | I have a small dog her name is Selena she has a cough and acts like she wants to gag. Also I am sick the doctors said that I have acute bronchitis and my COPD is getting worse. Please pray for us. Thank you

Keolebojile | Good day my Pastor pray for me, is for 3 yrs invited for interviews but nothing come out of any of my interviews. I will be sitting for interview from tomorrow, I applied for many posts. My main problem I need a financial breakthrough it is hard.

cornelious mungwala | Bibles for Church Members

Keyavson | I would like to ask you help in praying for agent help Food for the orphans Shelter for the orphans this time of covid 19 Support for church Widows and old aged people

SH | Can you pray for me please am getting alot of time anxiety and pannick attacks.And sometimes a weird feeling in my throat i have been to doctor and they said its nothing,but still all this is happening to me. I also get chest pain and left arm pain and negative thoughts all the time.

Richard | Pray for my marriage. So that we keep believing in and trusting in Jesus.

SC | God should speak Peace in my country and continue to protect over Soldiers in Northeast Operation.

Matthew | Please am facing spiritual marriage. I have suffered a lot please help me

Vijay | Worried about debts heart squeezes plz pray for a financial miracle in my life immediately

Keyawson | for orphans support for food and fees as well widows and church support as well visiting of church people to receive words of God as well strength for us to reach more people.


If you have a prayer request, feel free to reach via the contact form or send an email: businessofchrist@gmail.com 

Sunday, 11 October 2020

4 Benefits of Bible Trivia Questions in Youth Ministry

Benefits of Bible Trivia Questions

The aim of the bible trivia questions is to have fun and challenge participants to know, study, and apply the Word of God to their hearts and lives. Competition is a way to motivate members of a Bible study group. 


Group and team study immensely improve friendships, fellowship, discipleship, and accountability among members, the church, and the community in general. 


The Bible Trivia Questions in Youth ministry is not only competition focus but as good as the realistic, actual, and helpfulness in life ministry improvement that is the result of knowing and applying the Living Word of God.


“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9


“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11


“Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

 


When you join the different types of Bible Trivia Questions, it is the group and team sole wish that you at all times the center of attention should always be your personal relationship with Christ Jesus our Savior and heavenly Father our God. 


The prayer to God is that every participant in the Youth Bible Trivia Questions will know and experience the joy of a deep personal walk with Jesus Christ. This is an exceptional opportunity to help young individuals in discipleship and evangelism. 



Below are the 4 benefits


1. Bible Trivia Questions in Youth Ministry gives leaders a chance and opportunity to develop and improve close relationships with the young people in the church. 


This developed and improved relationship when encouraged and nurtured is essential to using aBible Trivia Questions group and the team as a ministry, rather than a mere form of

competition. The leader's impact and guidance could be tremendous as the leader models the Christian life before the group or team.



2. Bible Trivia Questions in Youth Ministry encourages and motivates young people to comprehensively study the Bible.


In today’s world of negative social influences, How many young people systematically and consistently have Bible study either as an individual or a group/team? Many do not, this is the reality. Bible Trivia Questions is used as a way of developing a consistent daily Bible study time that even allows an adult ( either a leader or a coach) to assess and evaluate the progress and growth in studying the Bible.



3. Bible Trivia Questions in Youth Ministry allows and enables an atmosphere for in-depth Bible study.


By studying the Word of God in this manner for a period of time, the Spirit of God has the opportunity to help persons with guidance to see the meaning of the passage in everyday lives. 

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26



4. Bible Trivia Questions in Youth Ministry forces and encourage young people to work as a  group/team.


In the preparation meetings, youth are positioned or placed in spots or situations that urge complete teamwork. With this, they learn the importance of dependency upon God and each other.

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25


Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Increase security funding for religious institutions. Jewish groups call on Congress

An interfaith coalition calls for quadrupling the annual allocation for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $360 million for 2021.

The U.S. Capitol building. Credit: Martin Falbisoner via Wikimedia Commons.

Three Jewish organizations joined almost a dozen faith groups calling on Congress to increase security funding for religious institutions.

The Orthodox Union, the Jewish Federations of North America, and Agudath Israel of America joined eight other faith organizations to call on Congress to dramatically increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) so that synagogues, churches, mosques, and other houses of worship, as well as religious schools and other at-risk nonprofit entities, can bolster building security against the threat of attacks. 

In its letter to congressional leaders, the interfaith coalition called for quadrupling the annual allocation for the NSGP to $360 million for the fiscal year 2021 so that more institutions can be covered under the program.

The groups claimed that the program’s $90 million allocations for the past year left the majority of applicants empty-handed.

The NSGP provides grants of up to $100,000 each to nonprofits at risk of terrorist attacks so they may improve building security by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting, and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks, and windows. Funding may also be used to train staff and pay for contracted security personnel.

Such monies have become critical for the Jewish community in the aftermath of the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed; six months later, the April 27, 2019 shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California, where one woman was killed and three others injured; in addition to a string of anti-Semitic attacks last year in New York and New Jersey.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Christian Leaders respond to President Trump’s contracting COVID-19

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump


WASHINGTON
– Christians around the country and the world have called for prayer in light of the news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19.

We've received comments from a number of prominent Christian leaders regarding the development. Those comments are below:

“Jeana and I are highly concerned and deeply prayerful for President Trump and the First Lady. This is a very serious time for our nation and this news should serve as a wake-up call for all Americans to come together and pray for them. He is the President of the United States. I want to ask all of our churches and all of the churches across our nation to pray now, and on this coming Sunday together for President Trump, the First Lady, and all of their family to be healed from this virus and protected in every way.” – Ronnie Floyd, president, and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee

“I am saddened and concerned to hear that President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Clearly, this is a time for all Americans to pray for the health and recovery of our President and his wife and to pray for all Americans and others around the world who are threatened by this virus. If COVID-19 can get into the White House, it can get into any house. This is sobering news. I will be praying for the health and strength of our President and his family.” – R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This is a time for healing. For our nation and our nation’s leader President Trump and our First Lady Melania. I know the president is always very grateful for the prayers of God’s people and especially now in view of this illness. I am confident he will recover quickly and continue to lead our nation well. May God bless our country and heal our land.” – Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas

“Let’s all take a moment to pray for the President and First Lady this morning – for protection and a speedy recovery. This is a frightening time for our country, for the First Family, and many others grappling with this virus across the country. As Christians, moments like this should prompt us to pray for God’s intervention in this time of the global pandemic.” – Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

“My prayers are with the President and First Lady this morning. As Christians, we always pray for those in authority, but here, we can pray with specificity that God would heal from this frightening virus and protect those around them from it as well. I’m praying also for the doctors treating the First Family and the medical professionals battling this virus around the world – both those treating it and those trying to bring it to a swift end. May God give us mercy in this perilous time,” – Daniel Patterson, executive vice president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission


Social media reactions

Many leaders expressed their thoughts for the President and first lady via Twitter. Some of those remarks are below:

“Please join me in praying for the speedy and full recovery of our President and First Lady.”J.D. Greear, Southern Baptist Convention president and pastor of The Summit Church

“Praying for our president and his wife for their health and healing during this time.”Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Dear God, please touch @POTUS & @FLOTUS with your healing grace, guiding the hands of all of the medical professionals treating them. Give them a speedy recovery. I thank You that You made them so strong. God, do the same for every person in the world facing the same. Amen.” – Prayer by Rev. Johnnie Moore, retweeted by GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins

“Let’s commit to pray for a speedy recovery for our president and first lady, and for protection for those serving them.”Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Early this morning, President @realDonaldTrump and First Lady @MelaniaTrump announced that, like many other Americans, they have tested positive for the coronavirus. Please join me in praying especially for them, that they would have a quick recovery.”Franklin Graham, evangelist, and president of Samaritan’s Purse

Sergio Kato a Brazilian Native

 of his Faith and love for his Country

Sergio Kato served the Brazilian Air Force

This nation will be the land of the free and only. "Also be prepared for Brazil, for sure will be Breadbasket of the World: Says ~Kato.        

Oh Brazil, always will be on the right side, and will maintain firm no matter what! 

Brazil is a wonderful country, of land, of mountains, rivers, Verde Oliva, green Olive", incredible nature, Pantanal, waterfalls, and woods, we are so rich and blessed by OUR Living God. 


A country will be a place for any of us to live in with love, so let us listen to the word of our Creator God. It is also owed to justice and humanity. Free of corruption. Patriotism consists, but in striving that our Land shall be righteous as well as firm than ever! 

Imagine: green Brazil is a song that sounds the best when we all sing together – Loud! "Patria Amada Brazil" 


We Brazilians must love and remain in our hearts for the Country. My dear Brazilians brothers and sisters, God has given us the blessing, and we are therein, wake up Brazil!

Brazil now belongs to the real patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it. Thank you, God!!

And I'm proud to be Brazilian, where at least I know I'm free as we'll be free. 

Oh, my Brazilians patriots, Brazil belongs to the Brazilians. 

Globalists, there is nothing wrong with Brazil, therefore please back off.  ~Say Kato 


Army General Antonio Amilton Martins Mourao has been the Vice President of the Federative Republic of Brazil since January 1st, 2019.

Thanks, the General has already put Brazil back on the right track. Thank you, Sir! God bless you. 

~ Sergio Kato ~

The Television Comedy Series in Japan, Tokyo ran from the 90s –And, since that life goes on to Actor Sergio Kato's acting career. He also has made appearances on a Tv Program title “How do actors get picked for movies or Tv.”

Tv-series appearance every Sunday. it is based on Japanese Comedy. Sergio Kato plays the role of Arnold. Production: Virgin Earth, Inc. Hidenori, is known as the owner-producer. 

Sergio Kato married “Jacqueline Pereira” in 2012. Together, they have a daughter. Ms. “Jacqueline Pereira” was born in 1980 in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. Ms. “Jacqueline Pereira” works in the medical field. The couple lives in the US and Europe and plans to move in the near future with his wife and daughter to Brazil.

Sergio Kato was raised in a relatively conservative Catholic family since he was a child. In 1999, Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn invited the actor for an interview with Benny Hinn Ministries in California, Kato was introduced to accept Jesus Christ. And the act of accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior will immediately guarantee his salvation, "Born of New". The truth is that the actor never managed to share his message, so here it is. It was the BEST part of his life, as he met the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  



Some of Sergio Kato works
Scala Rio
Brazilian Scandals, Théâtre du Châtelet
O Guarani, Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro
Olympia Theater Miami
The Wizard of Oz, Miami Theatre
Bye Bye Birdie, Vineyard Theatre
Winter Garden Theatre
Teatro O Tablado
Palace Theatre (New York City)

Beware of Hypocrisy

Moment of hypocrisy

Has anyone on earth not had at least a moment of hypocrisy? Sadly, many have lived a lifetime of it. Hypocrite originally had a neutral sense, “someone who answers,” and hypocrisy meant “answering.” Initially, these words were used for the normal flow of questions and answer in conversation or discussion. They later became connected with question-and-answer sections in plays, naturally followed by the idea of acting a part. Eventually, “hypocrite” came to describe one who is never genuine but always play-acting. The basis of hypocrisy is insincerity.

Hypocrites inhabit every walk of life, trying to impress others in an attempt to hide who they really are. In the Christian life, a hypocrite is someone who tries to appear more spiritual than he really is. Such a person knows that he is pretending, and he hopes he will not be found out. His Christianity is a shallow charade.

As the crowds following Him grew, Jesus decided to warn His disciples of this spiritual pitfall. They could easily surrender to human nature, giving in to the temptation either to gain popularity by pleasing the crowds or to avoid trouble by pleasing the Pharisees. Human nature drives us to want people to like and admire us, and it seems so easy to “act the part” that others want to see.


1. What causes hypocrisy? Luke 12:4-7

Jesus mentions “fear” five times in these verses, teaching that a basic cause of hypocrisy is the fear of men. People will do almost anything to avoid embarrassment or harm. When we are afraid of what others may say or do to us, we try to impress them to gain their approval, and our human nature will stoop to deception to accomplish its purposes. Sadly, many of the Pharisees were more concerned about reputation than character—what people thought about them than what God knew about them. The fear of men always brings a snare (Proverbs 29:25), and Jesus wants His disciples to avoid it and be stable in their faith. As Scottish novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott, wrote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice deceiving.”


2. How can we avoid the pitfall of hypocrisy? Luke 12:1-3

Jesus compares hypocrisy to leaven, which symbolizes sin (I Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9). Like leaven, hypocrisy begins small but grows quickly and quietly. As it does, it infects the whole person and eventually the whole society. When a person is puffed up with pride, hypocrisy flourishes and character deteriorates (I Corinthians 4:6, 18-19; 5:2). Hypocrisy, like all sin, must be stopped before the underlying pride has an opportunity to spread (James 1:14-15). The longer he waits to deal with it, the worse it gets. Nothing can really be hidden (Mark 4:22), which makes hypocrisy foolish and futile. So why keep pretending?

Jesus was perhaps concerned that His disciples might be tempted to compromise the truth to avoid offending the crowds or the Pharisees (see Luke 8:16-18; 11:33). Many who profess to be God’s ministers do something like this to remain in their pulpits. God’s truth is like light, not leaven, and it must not be hidden.


3. What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Luke 12:8-10

Jesus appears to contradict Himself. In Luke 12:8-9, He demands that we openly confess Him without hypocrisy, but in verse 10, He says our speech against Him can be forgiven. Yet, God will not forgive speaking against the Spirit. Why? One who blasphemes God’s Spirit so thoroughly rejects its power to work in him that he refuses to submit to God. Too proud and rebellious to repent, he cannot be forgiven. A true Christian, though, constantly depends on the Spirit to reflect Christ’s life as much as possible.

Christ’s sacrifice for the overall forgiveness of sin and the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit applies only once for each person, and if an individual rejects God’s grace, it cannot be applied again (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-27). This is why apostasy is so serious a matter and why the first-century apostles contended so fiercely against heresy. Eternal lives are at stake!

Sustained neglect can also lead to eternal death. The sinner may know he should repent of his sins, but through lethargy, he never bothers to overcome them. In his apathy, he may try to appear righteous, but he is not fooling God. In effect, he is blaspheming God’s Spirit by refusing to repent, so his sin is unpardonable.


4. How can we overcome hypocrisy? Luke 12:8-12

The remedy for hypocrisy is reverent fear of God, the fear that conquers all other fears because the person who truly fears God fears nothing else. The apostle John teaches that the love of God casts out fear (I John 4:18, 19). Thus, we can ignore the negative things people say and do. With God standing by us, why should we fear the criticism of others (Hebrews 13:6)? They can do no more than kill the body, but God can destroy both life and body (Matthew 10:28). Since Christ is the ultimate and eternal Judge, it is logical to put the fear of God ahead of everything else.

Fearing man often results in denying Christ, bringing severe consequences (Matthew 10:32-33). A Christian can avoid persecution by denying that he is Jesus’ disciple, but the eternal cost of doing so is far worse than the persecution that he sought to avoid. The opposite of denying Christ is to confess Him before others, that is, to be a true witness for Him by living God’s way. A Christian living any other way is a hypocrite.


There is no shame in suffering for being a Christian. If we suffer for righteousness, we should keep on doing what is right, trusting our lives to our Creator, because He will never fail us (I Peter 4:16-19).


by Martin G. Collins

Today's Prayer Requests

We Are Praying With You

 "Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Romans 15:30 

Elizabeth S Bennett | LORD, please bless my brother HILARIO DELLOSA SAGAYAP, who passed away July 11, 2020.

Sheila Wilson | Please bring Pauly back in your name I ask Jesus. Amen

KY |  I have backslidden away from God. I slowly fell away from God and got involved in porn and other lustful sins. I feel so bad and I just want to be back with God. I hate what I did and I don't want to go back, please pray for me. I thank you so much. God bless you all!

Melon | In Jesus name I am asking you to pray that I get housing to and that God fixes Sam heart to help me.

LA | please pray for my children to grow in the faith. One of my children is not attending Sunday worship with us even and I pray that he Holy spirit knock in his heart. Thank you

Ken Emmanuel Ghorpade | Prayer request for world . And my family hearth . Thank you

Dustin | Pray a healing prayer for our president trump and 1 st lady for a speedy recovery. That my relationship be guided by gods will and that me and my partner can escape the chains we carry and become the family we have wanted give us strength may we be a vessel for his will and he us us to spread the word more effectively

Alpha | pray for the nation USA as is heading to the national elections this year.

Ajie Joshua C. C | .Please pray for me, I really desire to love God sincerely and wholeheartedly, to never do or say or think about anything that would hurt his feelings.

Meary |  I would love for you all to pray that God will bless me with a large print King James Version Study Bible. I am on a fixed income and can't afford to buy myself one. I would love to have one that has the words of Christ in red with a concordance, a dictionary, and all the Self-help things in it that i could possibly get in it. Please Pray that God will provide me with one of the King James Version Study Bibles with everything in it that you can get in it with the large print. If i could afford to buy myself one i sure would, but i can't. I know that God answers prayers so please pray for me.

Adjar | Pray for financial breakthrough for my family and ministry.

SANDY QUINTANA | Please pray for my family and pray for me to recover from alcoholism. I've been clean since August 24th 2020. Amen.

Aggian | Prayers for me to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with evident of speaking in tongues. That I will grow spiritually and serve God with all my heart. Prayers for God to be merciful and heal all nations of the world from COVID. Blessings

Irma | Please pray my mother Maria for her health , anx get back her appetite Thanks

Chananvaj | I need an excellent idea for the first chapter of my novel. God, please write with me to grab readers by their hearts, from the get-go to never let go. Let me tell the story that entertains, inspires, and renews hope. Your wisdom and guidience are LOVE to my soul. Amen.

Maria J Gaspar | I need prayers for my mom , she needs prayers her name is margarita miguel Gaspar please help thank u God bless

Vijay | Plz pray for a financial miracle in my life immediately

Katrina Self | .Please pray for my first cousin Diane Sale and her son Michael Autry. Michael is in ICU with liver failure and not expected to live. Thank you

Pam G Chaffin | My mom has alzheimers an getting worst

The Rhoades | Missionaries in the Philippines

Tammy | I have been experiencing great fatigue from the recently diagnosed heart condition (3 leaky valves). Please pray it can be treated properly and I find an heart Dr that will explain in detail and what next steps will be in getting better. Struggling also with fear depression and PTSD from past issues. Thank you for your prayers.

Liraflor | please pray for my children to grow in the faith. One of my children is not attending Sunday worship with us even and I pray that he Holy spirit knock in his heart. Thank you

Lilaflor | please pray for my children to grow in the faith. One of my children is not attending Sunday worship with us even and I pray that he Holy spirit knock in his heart. Thank you

Vijay | Worried about debts heart squeezes plz pray for a financial miracle in my life immediately

Amanuel |  I need God's mercy on:1. my health (my all organs) 2. I need his blessing(spiritual blessing, health blessing, marriage blessing, financial blessing) IN JESUS NAME AMEN!!!

Michael | My niece's boyfriend is under going cancer treatment Please pray that God gives him the strength that he needs to go through this and beat this disease

Mike |  I may lose my home, on the verge. Please Pray that a miracle comes my way so I don't become homeless


If you have a prayer request, feel free to reach via the contact form or send an email: businessofchrist@gmail.com 

Monday, 5 October 2020

American Family Association Prays for President and First Lady as They Battle COVID-19

US President, Donald J. Trump and first lady Melania Trump


As our nation continues to absorb the shock waves that President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both have tested positive for the coronavirus, the American Family Association (AFA, afa.net) shares its deepest prayers and very best wishes for the first couple’s quick recovery.

The year of 2020 has already been one of enormous challenge for our country, yet the organization—which advocates from a biblical worldview for the constitutional rights of parents and children—knows that God will see the nation through its many trials.

Says AFA Vice President Ed Vitagliano, “Our prayers are with the president and first lady. We are asking God to protect them from the more serious symptoms of COVID-19 and for healing.”

Vitagliano adds, “AFA would like to remind Christians that we are commanded by Scripture to pray for all of our political leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4)—and not just the ones we agree with. The church is especially told to pray for the salvation of those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus. We need to take this responsibility seriously.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said today that the president was showing mild symptoms of the virus. The first lady also said on Twitter that she was experiencing mild symptoms but is “overall feeling good.” Both are in quarantine. President Trump is planning to continue handling his duties as commander-in-chief and will do so at home—at the White House—for two weeks as doctors watch over him.

The news first broke after midnight this past Thursday night, when the president shared in a tweet,

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Leaders from around the world, as well as Americans of all walks of life, have been sharing on social media their sincere wishes for the first couple’s good health and speedy recovery. President Trump, 74, becomes the most prominent of global leaders to have contracted the virus. But as the president himself has told the American people for months, the vast majority of those who contract COVID-19 recover completely.

For more than 40 years, AFA has operated within the mission to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission. Visit AFA Action Alerts

Trump's COVID-19 was made up to gain sympathy, avoid next Biden debate says Palestinian Authority


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 

"I’m certain that if [Joe] Biden or any other president rises ‎‎[to power], the first thing that person will do is to declare that the [Trump’s] ‎deal of the century is off the table."

In the official daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Mahmoud Abbas ran on Sunday a front-page editorial with the headline “Trump's ‎corona - false claims and expectations,” claiming that the US President Donald Trump may have "fabricated" his coronavirus infection "to win sympathy, and to avoid ‎future debates with his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden."

The fact that Trump’s infection was announced shortly after his debate with ‎Biden “which Trump turned into the worst debate in history” makes it logical that Trump ‎wants to avoid future debates by feigning illness, said the PA newspaper.‎

Palestinian Media Watch published the translation of the piece and shared it with the Israeli press. 

The editorial added that if Trump happens to actually be sick, his illness "will cause ‎[him] to re-examine the erroneous and aggressive policies towards humanity... while he fuels racist extremist ideas, and sides with ‎falsehood against the truth, and with occupation against liberation and freedom."

The irony, PMW points out in its release, is that the PA daily also published on the same page a note coming from Saeb Erekat, the ‎Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee, who told CNN that "President ‎Mahmoud Abbas wishes US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania a speedy ‎and full recovery‏.‏‎”‎

While this editorial was more than insulting and outrageous towards the US President, PMW states, it ended in a more appealing way, saying that "whether or not the US president has caught coronavirus, [the PA] will not ‎analyze this news based on wishful thinking," where the quote “wishful thinking” might be a possible reference to the open hopes of the PA for a Biden election victory that will ‎completely change US policy and end the US peace proposal. 

This was position has been expressed earlier by Erekat 

A position that was made very clear earlier by Erekat, when he said: "I’m certain that if [Joe] Biden or any other president rises ‎‎[to power], the first thing that person will do is to declare that the [Trump’s] ‎deal of the century is off the table because they have issued statements."

Thursday, 24 September 2020

China Censors Teachers from Mentioning God

Christian Persecution

A new report from the Center for Studies on New Religion's publication Bitter Winter reveals China is spying on and censoring any religious teacher to make sure they don't mention God.

The Center for Studies on New Religion, a human rights organization focusing on abuses by the Chinese Communist Party's regime, published the report in an effort to help end the crackdown.

According to the report, Chinese authorities will monitor teachers and make sure they refrain from mentioning anything about democracy, freedom, religion,
or God.

The report also says that religious teachers are already considered a threat to the Chinese Communist Party simply because they are religious, regardless of what they have taught. The report cites complaints from multiple teachers in both colleges and elementary schools. The teachers were kept anonymous so the Chinese Communist Party cannot find and persecute them for speaking out about the regime's treatment of its own citizens.

One teacher noted that they “were observed during every class." Bitter Winter goes on to summarize the rest of what she stated, writing, "She added that the Chinese Ministry of Education adopted Opinions on Building and Improving a Long-term Effective Mechanism for College Teachers’ Ethics Construction in 2016, demanding teachers 'not say or do anything against the Party line in their educational or teaching activities.' Student informants planted in classes by authorities help ensure that teachers implement this order."

Already, "numerous" educators have been punished for not emphatically teaching the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda, with no indications the persecution of free-thinking teachers will end.

This isn't the first time China has censored or attacked Christians. Christian Headlines recently reported that the Chinese Communist Party had shut down a 1500-member church after they refused to install surveillance cameras in their church. The authorities also confiscated what they called "illegal promotional material" which likely included mostly Bibles and church literature.

Historically Black college welcomes white pastor with passion for racial justice

When Chris Caldwell thinks about student housing and food services, his pondering goes deeper than the mere campus amenities that concern administrators at most colleges.

“We have many students who are insecure in terms of their housing, and we have significant problems with food insecurity,” said Caldwell, vice president for academic affairs at Simmons College of Kentucky. At Simmons, a historically Black institution in Louisville, it is not uncommon to hear of students sleeping in their cars, he noted. “We try to do everything we can to try to help with those situations.”

Some students are single parents, so the housing situation for them is even more complex. Since Simmons has limited college-owned housing, it looks to various community resources to aid students in their search for a decent place to live.

Like most schools, Simmons stresses the importance of class attendance. Yet its leaders know students can be present but too hungry to pay attention. “We work hard at feeding our students during the day so they can focus on class,” Caldwell said.

While not all Simmons’ students come from dire circumstances, most come from impoverished backgrounds they are seeking to transcend. This is a key part of Simmons’ mission, and its leaders believe Historically Black Colleges and Universities, like Simmons, are uniquely positioned to empower all segments of the African American community.


From a tall-steeple white church to Simmons

Caldwell, who is white, came to Simmons as a part-time professor in 2015 and moved to full-time status in 2017. He had been pastor of Louisville’s Broadway Baptist Church, a congregation situated in an affluent neighborhood eight miles across town from Simmons. He assumed his vice-presidential role in 2018.

An academic vocation was not a novel idea for Caldwell. As he finished his doctorate in New Testament at Baylor University in 1997, he was considering a career in either the classroom or the pastorate. An address by former President Jimmy Carter at Baylor helped him choose parish ministry. “He talked about his post-presidential period and how he had been guided by a pretty simple concept,” Caldwell said. “He went where he was needed.

“I thought about that and prayed about that and at that point, there were a hundred people lined up for every job in the academic world,” he recalled. He sensed he could make a larger contribution by serving moderate Baptist congregations that were “seeking to navigate the waters of those times.”

It was an era when many moderate congregations had either recently left or loosened their ties to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its far rightward shift. Caldwell has no regrets serving in congregational ministry and would “absolutely do it all over again.”


Racial justice observed as a child

However, when he decided to follow his calling to Simmons, it was a step in a long journey of interest in racial justice that began when he was a child in the 1970s. Growing up in a northern suburb of Nashville, he frequently heard racist epithets and lived on a street where a cross was burned on the lawn of an African American family. He did not forget the anguish he felt, and it helped spur him to engage in interracial work as a pastor.

His energies became more focused in 2015 when pastors from predominantly white East Louisville started meeting weekly with pastors from predominantly Black West Louisville. The group, known as Empower West, “put some wheels on the vehicle when it came to the passion I had,” he explained.

“It gave me an opportunity to learn a lot,” he continued. “I had given thought to a lot of those issues but basically from a white perspective.” He and other white pastors began reading books written by Black intellectuals and learning more about the structural injustices encountered by Black people, such as the wide wealth gap that separates white and Black Americans. They began sharing their knowledge with their church members and inviting them to greater interracial involvement.

Through Empower West, Caldwell learned more about Simmons College, an institution founded in 1879 by former slaves. While it eventually became a comprehensive university, it ran into financial difficulties during the Great Depression and sold its property to the University of Louisville. The campus became the home of Louisville Municipal College, the arm of the university that served Black students during the days of segregation. Simmons continued to hold classes on the campus but limited its course offerings to theological studies. After U of L integrated in the 1950s, Simmons moved to a new location and became known as Simmons Bible College.


Season of growth at Simmons

Kevin Cosby, senior pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville, was elected president of the school in 2005 and began to greatly expand the curriculum. Simmons now offers bachelor’s degrees in business entrepreneurship, cross-cultural communication, music, sociology, and religious studies. It also reacquired and moved to the property it had sold to U of L. Under Cosby’s leadership, Simmons gained accreditation by the Association of Biblical Higher Education and recognition from the U.S. Department of Education as the nation’s 107th Historically Black College and University.

Asked why HBCUs remain important, Caldwell said they provide students “ethnic armor,” a term he said Cosby often uses. “We pass along the skills for students to be successful and thrive in the dominant white culture, but we also pass along the intellectual and academic traditions of the African American community,” he said.

Simmons students live in a city where feelings of anger and alienation now permeate the African American population due in part to the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, on March 13. For months, protesters have taken to the streets demanding the officers involved be charged.

The city’s housing patterns have helped inflame racial tensions, Caldwell said. “Louisville is a very segregated city. It is one of the most segregated cities in the United States, but it is not an outlier by any stretch.”

While much racial justice work needs to be done in Louisville a
nd elsewhere, Caldwell sees Simmons as an example of empowerment that can help society move toward racial equity.

Motivating students to be “agents of change” is a priority at Simmons, Caldwell said. “We are trying to help students make their life situations better, but also to remember they have a calling to reach back and bring others along.”

While some Simmons students are “academic rock stars,” most come to Simmons “woefully underprepared,” he said. Yet he emphasizes when a student demonstrates potential Simmons is determined to help them achieve. “We don’t lower the bar,” he said. “We show them where the bar is and help them get there.”

Colleges and universities typically gain prestige by touting the sterling academic credentials of the students they attract. Yet Caldwell measures academic quality by a different standard.

“The measure of excellence of a school is not what kind of students you attract but how far the student travels in four years under your tutelage,” he declared. “And by that measure, you can make a case that Simmons is the best college in the state.”

The True Gospel

Imagine a corporation needed to train new sales representatives to expand its market. Unfortunately, the company could not bring all the new employees to its headquarters, so it was decided to send out trainers to the various new markets and train the salespeople there. 

However, the trainers all had different ideas about what the corporate philosophy and sales methods were! The new salespeople were all taught different things! What confusion!

A similar difference in teaching has occurred in the various Christian churches, each of which has its own understanding of what the true gospel is. Some say it is "the gospel of grace." Others call their version "the gospel of salvation" or "the gospel of Christ." To others, it is "the gospel of God" or "the gospel of the Kingdom." Which is it? How does the Bible define the true gospel? The only true gospel is the one presented in its pages, and we can search it out! Below are eight QUESTIONS;


1. Does it matter what gospel Christians believe? Galatians 1:8-9.

Indeed, it does! Paul pronounces a double curse on anyone who preaches a gospel different from the one preached by the apostles! The gospel is a serious business! The apostles were taught directly by Christ, who gave them a commission to "preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15).


2. What gospel did Jesus Himself preach? Mark 1:14.

Jesus preached "the gospel of the kingdom of God"! "Gospel" derives from an old English word meaning "good news." He came proclaiming the good news that God's Kingdom would come and restore all things (Acts 3:19-21). Jesus is the King of a literal Kingdom that will reign over the whole earth when He returns (see John 18:36-37; Revelation 5:10; 19:11-16; 20:4-6). The gospel explains, not only that it is coming, but also how we can be a part of it. That is great news!


3. What did Christ say we must do to enter it? Mark 1:15.

The conditions for entering God's Kingdom are simple in concept: "repent and believe in the gospel." Repentance is a complete turning or changing of the mind and way of life to follow God. And God's way of life is defined by His commandments (Matthew 19:17). We repent by quitting our former sinful way of life and keeping God's commands.

Believing the gospel encompasses both believing in Christ as well as believing what He said (John 8:30-31). Millions believe that He came as their Savior and now lives eternally as their soon-coming King while rejecting the very message He brought to save them! What a paradox!


4. Where did Christ's message originate? John 12:49-50; 14:24; 17:7-8.

Jesus spoke only what His Father in heaven told Him to speak! Thus, our Messiah, Jesus Christ, was a Messenger from God the Father, bringing the message of God's plan for all mankind, the message of the New Covenant (Malachi 3:1). The gospel of God, the gospel of Jesus, and the gospel of the Kingdom are the same gospel! It originated in God, was proclaimed by His Son, and tells of the coming rule of God and our part in it!


5. What is "the gospel of grace"? Acts 20:24-25.

In these verses, Paul is speaking to the elders of the church in Ephesus about his ministry. He explains that his ministry had testified "to the gospel of the grace of God." And what had he preached? The Kingdom of God (see Acts 28:30-31)! God's wonderful offer of grace and salvation is also part of the gospel of the Kingdom!


6. Is the church the Kingdom of God? Colossians 1:13.

While Christians await the establishment of God's Kingdom on the earth at the return of Jesus Christ, they are considered by God to be spiritually a part of His Kingdom. Having voluntarily placed themselves under Christ's rule, they are said to have their citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and be "members of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). As members of Christ's body, they are "in Christ" (Romans 8:1; II Corinthians 5:17), and therefore are actively participating in the advancement of God's Kingdom. However, Christians have not yet inherited the Kingdom in its fullness, an event that will not happen until they are resurrected and glorified at Christ's coming (I Corinthians 15:50-54). In addition, their being "in Christ" does not preclude their falling away from Him in the future (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31).


7. Is the Kingdom of God "within you"? Luke 17:21.

This sadly mistranslated verse has led many sincere people astray. Without even knowing the Greek language, we can see that Jesus could not mean that the Kingdom was some ethereal quality in the hearts of the Pharisees! On the contrary, He castigated them often for their unbelief! Entos, translated "within," should be translated "in the midst of" or "among." Jesus, the coming King of the Kingdom of God, was in their midst or among them! The thrust of His teaching in this section is that unbelievers will not recognize the working of God's Kingdom among them, just as the Pharisees had not recognized their Savior among them.


8. What gospel is to be preached before the end comes? Matthew 24:14.

The gospel of the Kingdom is for today! It is preached, not only when we proclaim that Jesus Christ will return soon to establish His government upon this earth (Isaiah 9:6-7; Zechariah 14:9), but also when we teach both believers and unbelievers how to live God's way of life (I Corinthians 15:1-2; Philippians 1:27; I Thessalonians 2:8-9). That is truly good news!

Pandemic

The word "pandemic" should send shivers down our spines. Worldwide disease epidemics are on the rise, and several authorities are predicting outbreaks of some diseases medical science thought they had all but eradicated.

For us, however, it is not surprising. Jesus Christ plainly prophesied that pestilence of major proportions would arise in the last days (Matthew 24:7). The last of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, pestilence is a pale, or greenish-yellow, the horse was ridden by a being called Death. Hades, or the grave, follows after. They are given the power to kill one-quarter of the earth's population by means of war, famine, plague, and beasts (Revelation 6:7-8).

It presents a striking scenario: War often causes famine. Malnutrition and starvation breed disease, which under the right conditions erupts into epidemics. The bites of animals and insects transmit certain diseases, and sickness and weakness make people easier targets for attack by hungry wild beasts. Though it may be difficult to imagine events like these in our day the Bible shows the progression and the certainty of the prophecy.


Diseases Old and New

Unfortunately, the signs of old and new diseases on the verge of pandemic are already showing. One professor of microbiology at the John Curtin School of Medical Research in Canberra, Australia, told a conference of his peers in Sydney: "We don't know what it [the plague] will be, or where it will be, but there will be one, we only have to look at history." He cites deteriorating refugee conditions worldwide, fast-increasing populations, high-risk sexual habits, and the scarcity of pure drinking water as factors that presage global epidemics (Intelligence Digest, September 3, 1993, p. 3).

Two American researchers, writing in the British medical journal Lancet, warn that the recent cholera epidemic has pandemic potential. A new strain of cholera, called "Bengal cholera," has already infected several hundred thousand people from India to Thailand this year, of which about five thousand have died. Cholera is contracted through sewage-tainted drinking water or food, or following contact with someone who is already contaminated by those means.

Classic cholera is currently infecting thousands in much of the former Soviet Union, where internal conflicts and a general breakdown in sewage and disposal services are common. The El Tor variety of cholera surfaced in Peru in 1990 and spread quickly as far as Colombia and Bolivia, killing sixty-three hundred people.

New forms of diphtheria have surfaced in Russia, where over four thousand cases had been reported within the first eight months of 1993. Several cases of bubonic plague, the Black Death that killed about forty million in medieval Europe, have been reported in Kazakhstan. Ten non-fatal cases of bubonic plague struck Americans in 1992. Tuberculosis, thought eradicated by many, is on a comeback in Russia, Europe, and the U.S.

And new diseases, like hantavirus, which first affected Navajo Indians in New Mexico, have doctors and researchers baffled. It has been found in rodents over the U.S., China, Korea and northern Europe.

On top of all this, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that several new rodent-borne diseases, like bubonic plague and hantavirus, could be unleashed globally in the near future. To this point, they have refrained from proclaiming war on rats because killing them releases the fleas that actually carry the diseases. They have no idea how to respond to the threat.

Of course, there is AIDS as well. Having surfaced in Asia, WHO predicts that over the next decade more AIDS cases will occur in Asian countries than in Africa, which currently leads the world in infections. Nearly one-third of pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are currently testing HIV-positive. WHO also predicts that between 10 and 15 million children will be orphaned by 2000 in this region alone as a result of AIDS-related deaths. And possibly one-third to one-half of the children will themselves have AIDS.

The U.S. said to have the best health-care system in the world, is unprepared for any major outbreak of viral infections. Robert Shope, professor of epidemiology and committee co-chairman of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, reports that the nation is vulnerable to an outbreak comparable to the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic that killed 20 million worldwide. "It can happen again," he warns (Insight, October 11, 1993, p.16).

Frederick A. Murphy, former director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Infectious Diseases, believes that an influenza-like disease that "transmits fast and broadly" is the most likely candidate for the next pandemic. And the damage will be done before America's "porous line of defense against viral invaders" can respond (Ibid., p. 19).


Promised Protection

Again, we should not be surprised. God warned Israel in their wilderness wanderings about what would happen if they did not obey His commandments. "I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever. . . . [W]hen you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you" (Leviticus 26:16, 25; cf. Deuteronomy 28).

But He also promises protection and healing from such diseases. "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God . . . , I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you" (Exodus 15:26; cf. 23:25; Deuteronomy 7:15; Psalm 103:3).

As we hear the approaching hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen growing ever louder, we have only one refuge from their relentless onslaught.

Surely He shall deliver you . . . from the perilous pestilence. . . . His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid . . . of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. . . . Because you have made the LORD . . . your habitation, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. (Psalm 91:3-10)

As the Horsemen converge on this nation from every side, we must keep our focus on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), forbidding any distraction to hinder us. In doing so, we will be prepared for both the troubles and the joys that lie just ahead.




By Richard T. Ritenbaugh

Forerunner, "Prophecy Watch," January 1994

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