Five million people worldwide receive Christ via Billy Graham website
Mark Ellis, senior correspondent, ASSIST News, reports:
An Internet evangelistic website set up by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has just marked a milestone as the five millionth person received Christ at PeaceWithGod.net.
The ministry uses Bible verses and video presentations to share the gospel with visitors to the site, which was launched in May 2011.
‘This is significant because we’re following Billy Graham’s legacy of taking the most advanced technical capabilities available and reaching people where they are with the hope of Jesus,’ said John Cass, BGEA’s Director of Internet Evangelism. ‘This has given us the opportunity to go to the ends of the earth.’
More than 20,000 people a day are viewing a presentation of the gospel via the website. ‘For decades we have worked to fill venues with people so Billy, Franklin or Will Graham can proclaim the gospel,’ he said. ‘The way we look at it, this is similar to welcoming a full arena to hear the message on a daily basis. The difference is that our audience may be in Russia, or Saudi Arabia, or other places where we may not normally be able to go.’
Banner from website
In the month of October 2014 alone, 45,000 people in Iraq, 34,000 in Syria and 33,000 in Saudi Arabia viewed presentations of the gospel message at http://www.peacewithgod.net
The goal and challenge facing the BGEA is to move a person who received Christ into a discipleship relationship. To deal with the need, the ministry has developed an extensive network of trained volunteers who are available to live chat with inquirers and answer questions.
They have also created training materials for new believers, and actively work to help new believers find a church where they can grow in their faith.
Answer To Prayer: Mayor Annise Parker Drops Pastor Subpoenas
Breaking Christian News’ reporter Teresa Neumann emails:
The mayor said she was persuaded to drop the subpoenas after meeting with local pastors and national clergy.
In a surprise announcement, embattled Houston Mayor Annise Parker has withdrawn subpoenas of all five local pastors named in an Equal Rights lawsuit. Parker was quoted as saying she was persuaded to take the action after a meeting with the pastors and other national clergy.
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, the announcement came amid a national firestorm about the subpoenas which prompted outrage among Christians.
(Photo: Billy Smith II/Houston Chronicle)
Parker, however, was quick to not give the pastors credit for the withdrawal, but instead said, ‘I didn’t do this to satisfy them – I did it because it was not serving Houston.’
Convinced by clergymen from across the country that she had entered a raging national debate on religious freedom she wanted no part of, Mayor Parker agreed to withdraw controversial subpoenas the city issued to five local pastors in connection with a lawsuit over Houston’s equal rights ordinance.
The mayor’s announcement came amid an unabated firestorm over the subpoenas, particularly among Christian conservatives and Republican politicians, who blasted Parker for trying to ‘silence the church.’
Parker’s decision represented the only viable political option, said University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, a specialist in religious liberty law. Seeking so much material was inflammatory, he said, adding that much of what the city seeks can be obtained by other means.
‘There was so little that seemed relevant and legitimate,’ he said, ‘they were better to just completely withdraw them.’
Myles Munroe’s prophetic dream
BCN editor Aimee Herd (left) and reporter Teresa Neumann (above) write:
As memorials to Myles Munroe continue to flood in from around the world, news reports have surfaced describing a profound prophetic dream he had shortly before dying, as well as a ‘premonition of his own death’ while he and his wife were ministering in Africa several weeks ago.
In an interview with Jeff Koinange on Kenya’s KTN JKL Show, Munroe said: ‘I want to challenge every Kenyan to go to the cemetery and disappoint the graveyard. Die like the apostle Paul who said I have finished my course, I have kept the faith and I have been poured out like a drink offering. There is nothing left. I am ready to die. That’s how I want to die because there is nothing else for me left to die. When you die, die like I am planning to die. Empty. It is finished.’
In a recent YouTube video Munroe is also seen talking about a profound dream he had. At the time, he believed the dream was for a message he was set to deliver at the Leadership Conference in Grand Bahama. However, considering the plane crash meant he never shared the dream at the conference; it has taken on a much deeper significance.
In the dream, Pastor Munroe (Photo via Twitter) saw a track and field athlete lying in his coffin, clutching a baton. ‘It was about people dying with a baton instead of passing it on,’ he said. ‘I was thinking, the young person who’s supposed to lead next has to go to the casket, pry the baton out of the dead man’s hand to take it to the next leg.’
‘We are in a leadership dilemma,’ he continued. ‘The reality is, effective leaders always prepare their replacements. People would rather die than pass it [the baton] on, so you have young leaders having to fight to get it. Great leaders pass it on before they die and they live to see the other runner run.’
A statement from surviving family members, Myles Munroe Jr and his sister Charisa, read in part: ‘We will not allow death to claim any victory, but we celebrate the life and legacy of each individual. This tragedy does not mark the end; the end of life, the end of a vision, the end of a journey, nor the end of a purpose, but it marks the new beginning of an era…
‘So let’s not mourn their deaths but let’s celebrate their lives and find joy in knowing that although God may not explain himself, he will reveal himself. In the words of our father, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” We know there is a greater purpose in all of this and we are now the vessels for this new vision and legacy to be carried on.’
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BLINDFOLDED ABOVE CHICAGO
700 Club Co-host and Anchor/Senior Reporter for Christian Broadcasting Network CBN News Wendy Griffith writes:
Millions were glued to their television sets Sunday evening, November 2, as high-wire artist Nik Wallenda attempted his most challenging tight-rope walk ever.
On a recent beautiful evening in Sarasota, Florida, a crowd gathered to watch this hometown hero practise what he does best.
Nik Wallenda comes from seven generations of high-wire artists, including his own mother. The two shared the wire in Puerto Rico in 2011 in honour of his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda, who fell to his death there in 1978 at the age of 73.
The high-wire artist successfully crossed Niagara Falls in 2012 and the Grand Canyon in 2013. But now, he wanted to do something really hard: a 50-story high walk between skyscrapers at a 15-degree incline in one of the gustiest corridors of Chicago.
(Photo via CBN News)
Oh yeah… and part of it blindfolded! There will be no safety net and no harness.
I asked Nik Wallenda if he ever feels like he’s tempting God with these dangerous acrobatics.
‘You know, I don’t,’ he said. ‘Don’t we walk by faith, not by sight?’ (Referring to the scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:7).
‘This is something that I have trained for my entire life. I’ve trained to walk a wire since I was two years old. If I were to not train at all, if I were to tell you, “Wendy, you’re going walk the city of Chicago blindfolded,” that would be tempting God, in my opinion,’ Nik said.
While Nik Wallenda is a great showman and loves to thrill the crowds with his death-defying acts – he said his main mission is to point people to ‘the One’ who holds him while he’s up there on the wire.
‘I choose to use what I do as an occupation, to bring glory to God’s name. It is me living my life, and I think that’s why there’s so much respect in the mainstream media,’ he said.
‘There was very little negativity to me saying the name of Jesus over 60 times in front of 200 countries around the world, millions of people, 20 million people in the United States alone watching that live,’ he added.
Nik Wallenda, below (Photo via CBN News), said the testimonies that come from his performances motivate him to keep pushing.
‘One woman said, “I didn’t walk for four years, and I saw you proclaiming the name of Jesus with a balancing pole in your hand, and I couldn’t walk without a cane. So I grabbed my cane, I put it in my hands, and I started calling out the name of Jesus, and I took the first five steps I’ve taken in three or four years!”’ Wallenda recalls.
This will be Wallenda’s first time publicly walking the high-wire blindfolded. He said it will be challenging but he’s not worried.
‘I have peace in where I’m going end up if I were to lose my life. However, I have a beautiful wife and three beautiful children. I have no desire of losing my life on a wire,’ he admitted. ‘That’s why I train so hard, that’s why I train, knowing that I won’t even step foot on that wire if the winds exceed 50 miles per hour that night.’
And as you might have guessed, many were praying for unusually calm winds over Chicago on November 2.
An author, Wendy Griffith also co-anchors Christian World News, a weekly show that focuses on the triumphs and challenges of the global church. Link: WendyGriffithCBN.
Jeanne Smits, Lifesite (www.lifesitenews.com) Paris correspondent, shares:
If necessary, Dr Xavier Dor will take his case before the European Court of Human Rights. ‘The fine won’t stop me from defending life. We shall continue to demonstrate for the rights of the unborn,’ he commented.
85-year-old French pro-lifer Dr Dor was fined 5,000 euro ($6,350) by the Appeals Court of Paris for having exerted ‘moral and psychological pressure’ to dissuade a woman from having an abortion.
In 2012, the frail, almost blind, medical doctor, paediatrician, and researcher had given tiny knitted baby shoes to a woman who was approaching a Planned Parenthood centre in central Paris. The court also imposed a suspended fine of 5,000 euro, payable in case of a repeated offence, and awarded 750 euro damages to each of the three pro-abortion associations that had introduced the judiciary proceedings against Dor.
Dr Dor is a veteran pro-lifer who, at the head of the association SOS Tout-petits (Emergency Signal to All Children), has led many protests and prayerful demonstrations near abortion facilities. He told LifeSiteNews he was ‘surprised’ by the reduced sentence, given the present context in which abortion has become a fully-fledged right in France, and is 100 percent refunded by the state-run Social Security.
Nevertheless, Dor (Photo via LifeSiteNews) has decided to take the affair to the Court of Cassation, which is in charge of verifying the correct interpretation of the law. This case is actually one of the very first judgments regarding ‘moral and psychological pressure’ with the intent of ‘hindering abortion.’ This offence is of relatively recent invention: it qualifies strictly non-violent actions that can take place in any location, not necessarily close to a hospital or clinic where abortions are performed.
As for the Planned Parenthood association and CADAC (National Coordination of Associations for Abortion Rights), they both asked for heavy damages, because, they said, sending Dor to prison would not help nor induce him to stop his fight against abortion. The offence of hindering an abortion carries maximum penalties of two years imprisonment and a 30,000-euro fine, as well as possible civil damages for the plaintiffs.
Both associations underscored that a fine would hurt Dor more than a prison sentence—he has already spent several months in prison for having prayed near abortion mills.
MONTREAT, NORTH CAROLINA
Millions see a never-before-seen Billy Graham message
Jeremy Blume, Charisma News, writes…
At 96 years old, Billy Graham‘s desire to share hope with the world is as strong as ever. On November 7, the day he celebrated his birthday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association debuted Heaven, a film that includes a never-before-seen message from Billy Graham.
Recording last year, the aging yet still passionate evangelist worked with a camera crew to capture his thoughts in a series of interviews at his home in Montreat.
‘I know I’m going to heaven. I’m looking forward to it with great anticipation,’ he explains in the film and how people can share that same hope.
When Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday last year in Asheville, 800 guests gathered to watch The Cross, a 30-minute program that was the first of a five-year project called My Hope with Billy Graham.
The 2013 film was the largest outreach ever conducted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared through thousands of churches and watched by hundreds of thousands on television in the US and Canada. This year, My Hope will have a special focus in the United Kingdom as more than 9,000 churches in the country are participating in the outreach.
For his 96th birthday, Billy Graham planned a more subdued evening at home enjoying the company of family members who plan to visit him during the week of his birthday. However, he hopes people will join him in watching Heaven, the latest My Hope with Billy Graham film.
‘Please pray for my father and for those who will watch this film – that they too may know the peace found in Jesus Christ’ asks Franklin Graham, the legendary evangelist’s son.
To read more from Charisma News, click here.
Syrian Kurds give women equal rights, snubbing ISIS jihadists
Michael Ireland, Special Correspondent, ASSIST emails:
Local government officials in a majority Kurdish area of Syria have passed a decree granting women equal rights in what one monitoring group called ‘an affront’ to discriminatory jihadist moves.
According to AFP (Agence France Presse) in a story on the www.Yahoonews.news.yahoo.com) website, the decree, published on the local government’s official Facebook, the states that women and men should enjoy ‘equality… in all walks of public and private life.’
Kurdish women make victory signs while taking part in a solidarity rally with the Syrian city of Kobani in the village of Caykara, Turkey, on the Turkey-Syria border, just across from Kobani, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Tens of thousands of Kurds are rallying in Turkish cities in solidarity with the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, which has been under a brutal siege by the Islamic State group.
Kurdish women make victory signs while taking part in a solidarity rally with the Syrian city of Kobani in the village of Caykara, Turkey, on the Turkey-Syria border, just across from Kobani (Photo: Vadim Ghirda/ AP via http://www.Washingtontimes.com)
Last year, Syria’s Kurds created autonomous governments in the three regions where they are a majority, establishing self-proclaimed rule. Arabs also hold office, and the decrees apply to all ethnicities living in the self-governing areas, the AFP news agency reports. AFP said the decree, passed by the leaders of the Al-Jazira canton — officially Hasakeh province — stipulates that women have the right to equal labour rights, including pay.
Women must be 18 years old to marry, and they are cannot be married off without their consent. ‘Polygamy is forbidden,’ the decree states, adding that women have the same right to bear witness in court as men, and that they have full inheritance rights.
AFP explained that in Islam, men are allowed four wives on condition that they can afford it, while women have limited inheritance rights and fewer rights before a law court. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian Kurds have not so far allowed women to inherit at all, AFP reported.
The decree bans so-called ‘honour killings and ‘violence and discrimination’ against women and says women must get paid maternity leave for their first three children.
According to the Observatory, which is based in Great Britain, the decree is an ‘affront to laws being passed by the Islamic State (IS), which are highly discriminatory against women.’
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP: ‘While fighting the jihadists, the Kurds also want to send a message to the international community, to say that they want to espouse a culture of democracy and civil rights.’
The AFP also explained that backed by rebels, the Iraqi peshmerga and a US-led coalition, Syria’s Kurds are fighting a fierce battle against the IS jihadists in the flashpoint town of Kobane on Syria’s border with Turkey.
The AFP said more than 1,000 people, mostly IS fighters, have been killed there in less than two months, most of Kobane’s residents have fled. The town has become a symbol of resistance against the jihadists.
Abdel Rahman called the Kurdish decree ‘a major step for the region’ whose tribal society has long been ruled by conservative social mores. The AFP also stated that Damascus does not recognize the self-proclaimed governments established by the Kurds in 2013.
Chef faces goal and fines for feeding the homeless
Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent ASSIST, reports:
For decades, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott has hauled pans filled with roast chicken and cheese-covered potatoes onto a south Florida beach park to feed hundreds of homeless people.
According to a story by Zachary Fagenson for Reuters News Agency, for his good deeds, Arnold Abbott finds himself facing up to two months in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines after new laws that restrict public feeding of the homeless went into effect in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year.
‘I’ve been fighting for the underdog all my life, so this is nothing new,’ Abbott said. However, what is new is the spate of global publicity the issue has caused.
Arnold Abbott, far right, director of Love thy Neighbour, watches as volunteers hand out food, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, at Stranahan Park in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo: Joe Cavaretta, Sun Sentinel)
According to a story by Mike Clary writing for the Sun Sentinel, Abbott said, ‘I’ve had calls from Moscow and Syria. The phone is ringing every 15 seconds.’
The Sun Sentinel said he spoke from the kitchen of his home, a day after police for the second time charged him with violating a new law aimed at the public feeding program he has run since 1991.
He added, ‘The support has been unbelievable. I am both humbled and exalted by it … The city mayor and the commission are puppets of the mega-rich who live in Fort Lauderdale, and they want to get rid of the homeless. There are others out there who feed people on the street, but the city can scare them. I think this law is primarily aimed at us.’
He was first cited last Sunday, along with two clergymen and a volunteer from his non-profit, Love Thy Neighbour. On Wednesday, Reuters reported, several police cars waited for Abbott at a downtown Fort Lauderdale park, and officers pulled aside the frail man, dressed in a white chef’s coat, soon after the first plates were ready to be served.
‘The ordinance does not prohibit feeding the homeless; it regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organised, clean and healthy manner,’ Reuters reported Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. Seiler said in a statement.
Abbott moved to Florida from Massachusetts in 1970 and was a civil rights activist and wholesale jewellry salesman. He and his wife first began feeding the homeless on their own in 1979. He started the foundation and feeding full-time in 1991 after his wife died, in a tribute to her memory.
Reuters said the dispute highlights a debate between two schools of homeless rights activists. Those who argue that banning public feeding criminalises the homeless, and others who say feeding and panhandling helps keep them on the street.
Since January 2013, 21 cities across the country have passed laws restricting public feedings and 10 more have similar rules under consideration, according to an October report from the National Coalition to the Homeless. Nationwide, at least 57 cities have limited or banned public feeding.
‘One of the reasons these kinds of ordinances are being embraced is that this is what cities can do without spending money,’ said Jerry Jones, the coalition’s executive director.
Reuters said a widely agreed-on solution – giving the long-time homeless beds as they work their way into treatment programs – is too costly for many municipalities that struggle with homelessness. But advocates for the homeless say that ignores the costs of not addressing the issue in a compassionate way.
‘What’s the cost if somebody presents themselves five times annually to an emergency room?’ asked Ron Book, a high-profile Florida lobbyist who chairs Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Trust with a tax-backed, $55 million budget.
Jeremy Reynalds is (firstname.lastname@example.org) a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org Details of his book A Sheltered Life – see Resources. ASSIST link: www.assistnews.net