Disclaimer: Articles and links, as well as the source articles linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding and ASSIST News Service link: www.assistnews.net (and to other news sources)
Dan Wooding, ASSIST News Service founder, brings good news…
One of the three police investigations into allegations of historic sex abuse by Christian singer, Sir Cliff Richard, has been dropped, according to reports. One media story states that an unnamed close friend of the singer has said the enquiry has ‘foundered’ because detectives have been unable to find evidence to substantiate the claims, the Sunday Times reported.
A British newspaper, The Guardian (www.theguardian.com ) added that Richard was understood to have provided police with evidence that he was never alone with two men who allege that he assaulted them in separate incidents in the 1980s. ‘Cliff has given police evidence that he was never on his own on the days when the alleged attacks took place,’ the friend was quoted as saying.
South Yorkshire police said the force ‘won’t be providing a running commentary on the investigation. The enquiry continues and enquiries are ongoing.’ The Guardian stated that there was no comment from the singer, who is preparing for a UK concert tour to mark his 75th birthday, performing in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham and culminating in a five-night run at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Sir Cliff, who has not been arrested or charged, performed a musical tribute at the Liverpool funeral of his close friend singer Cilla Black last month (Photo left). He has denied the allegations, describing them as ‘absurd and untrue.’
Praying for accusers
Well-known broadcaster and music writer, Paul Gambaccini, has come forward and says that Sir Cliff is praying to God for his accusers. In a story written by Caroline Frost for the UK edition of The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.co.uk ), said that Gambaccini describes the veteran pop singer, as ‘a wonderful human being’ and speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, added, ‘He’s keeping his wits, and he knows of the love and support he’s getting from the British public. We are in contact, and I’m glad to be able to be of support to him.’
Gambaccini, who knows the pain of being falsely accused, was arrested in October 2013 and held on bail for a year before being cleared of sex abuse charges. He says he remains convinced of Cliff’s innocence, telling the national radio station, ‘If Cliff Richard is ever convicted of any criminal offence, I will eat mine, Paddy Ashdown and Alastair Campbell’s hats.’
The music writer and broadcaster called Cliff Richard a generous and religious man, and revealed a conversation where he told the singer they could not insult their accusers because they didn’t know their state of mind. According to Paul, Cliff replied, ‘I have been praying to God to forgive my accuser.’
The original allegation against Sir Cliff is understood to relate to an incident that is said to have occurred at a Christian rally in Sheffield organised by the American evangelist, Dr Billy Graham (Left: Billy Graham and Cliff Richard) in June 1985. Last year, the alleged victim, who was under 16 at the time of the incident, came forward to police and made a complaint.
When he originally learned of this allegation, Sir Cliff Richard issued a statement saying, ‘I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from. The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so. Beyond stating that the allegations are completely false, it would not be appropriate for me to say anything further until the investigation has concluded, which I hope will be very soon. In the meantime, I would, again, like to thank everyone for supporting me through this unbelievably difficult period.’
A truthful and honourable person, moved by poverty
On a personal note, I have known Cliff Richard for over 40 years and have always found him to be a truthful and honorable person.
Later, when I was a senior reporter with The Sunday People, a British tabloid, I broke the story of Cliff’s trip to Bangladesh with a group called Tear (the Evangelical Alliance Relief) Fund after which he told me for our front-page story, that he wanted to leave the pop world to become a missionary.
He said that he had been so moved by the poverty he had witnessed, that he didn’t feel able to continue with his music career. After it was published, many people contacted Cliff to say that he could do more good by staying a pop star, and using his position and money, to help Christian causes, and so he did just that and founded The Cliff Richard Foundation. (Photo: Cliff Richard on a Tear Fund trip to Brazil).
The fact that Sir Cliff is praying for his accusers, doesn’t surprise me one bit. For that is the kind of person he is.
Full story: http://assistnews.net/index.php/component/k2/item/1015
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains in California as hundreds of homes burn
Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org) reports that crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are in California to minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected by the widespread Butte and Valley Fires.
The Valley Fire in Lake County has charred 73,700 acres, but the 4,000 firefighters working the front lines were able to increase containment to 40 percent. That blaze has destroyed 585 homes and hundreds of other structures, but that number is expected to go up once crews are able to get into the burn area and better assess the region.
A news release from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) said news reports indicate that there are three confirmed fatalities, with several more people missing.
Butte Fire (Sept. 13, 2015) Mike Luery/KCRA
‘These fires are fierce and their destructive strength is overwhelming,’ said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, speaking in the news release.
He added, ‘There are so many that need our prayers at a time such as this. Please join us in praying for the firefighters who are placing their lives on the line, for the authorities overseeing the entire situation, and especially for those who have lost loved ones and homes in this tragedy.’
Efforts will begin in earnest over the coming days as additional chaplains arrive and homeowners are allowed to return to what is left of their homes to begin the difficult process of recovery.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11 2001.
It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 195 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.
Dr Jeremy Reynalds is also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter. Link: http://www.joyjunction.org/author/jeremy-reynalds. Recommended: From Destitute to Ph.D available at www.myhomelessjourney.com
The wild, childlike faith of Bear Grylls
Mark Ellis (www.Godreports.com), Special to ASSIST News Service, reports British adventurer Bear Grylls, who starred in the TV survivor series Man vs. Wild has eaten snakes, scorpions, and the eyeballs of yaks to ward off hunger in treacherous corners of the world. But the backbone of his existence is a deeply rooted faith in God nurtured since his youth.
I had a very natural faith as a kid,’ he told Relevant Magazine. ‘As a really young kid, I never questioned God. I just knew God existed and it felt like He was my friend.’
Bear Grylls grew up on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of Great Britain in the English Channel. He became a black belt in karate in his teens, started a mountaineering club at Eton College, and was one of the youngest in the world to scale Mt. Everest at 23. His father, Sir Michael Grylls, was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and taught the younger Grylls how to climb and sail as a boy.
Wild, free, and natural relationship with God
At school, his ‘wild, free, and natural’ relationship with God was challenged by what he perceived as a religious spirit. ‘When I got to school it (Christianity) became a lot more religious and I thought, “I don’t like this,”’ he told CBN. ‘It was all about church-going and people telling you not to smoke behind the bike shed. I thought if this is God, maybe I’ve got the whole deal wrong, so I kind of ditched my faith.’
At 16, he lost his godfather, who had been like a second father. ‘I remember wanting to pray, but not knowing how to,’ he recalled to CBN. Grylls climbed up in a tree and poured his heart out to God. ‘Will you be that friend to me that you were at five or six when it felt natural?’ he asked.
He believes that special moment and his simple prayer represented ‘finding a faith’ – or rediscovering the faith of his youth. ‘It was no more complicated than that. And actually the amazing thing is that all God asks is that we sort of open the door and he’ll do the rest,’ he told Relevant Magazine.
‘So often we kind of hide behind our yearning for love and acceptance with loads of complicated theological questions,’ he added. ‘And actually once that’s stripped away what we really are is just somebody who wants to have that relationship with your father.’
Jesus – the least religious person
Grylls says there was something comforting about realising Jesus wasn’t all about religion – that Jesus was, in fact, ‘the least religious person you’ll meet.’
Bear Grylls met his wife Shara while training to climb Mt. Everest. But that adventure was not the biggest challenge of his life. Within a year after he and Shara were wed, his father – the most inspirational figure in his life – passed away at a relatively young age, 66. Shara also lost her father in the same time period.
‘Losing my dad when we had just got married was a really tough one,’ he admitted in an interview with The Telegraph. ‘Suddenly it was like, “Bang! OK. How are we going to pay the electricity bill? How are we going to look after our mothers?” I felt totally thrown in the deep end. It always felt too early. We had to lean on each other, and that was when our marriage really started.’
The wildest ride
At that low point they decided to attend the Alpha Course in Christianity. ‘It helped us in a very low-key, unpressured way to explore some big questions,’ he says. ‘Faith has been the wildest ride,’ he told CBN. ‘And Jesus, the heart of the Christian faith is the wildest, most radical guy you’d ever come across. He was always hanging around with the prostitutes and the tax collectors and having parties and banquets, and I found myself drawn to that character, not the kind of fluff that we like to box as religion.’
‘Jesus never said, “I’ve come so you can feel smart and proper and smiley and religious,”’ Grylls told Relevant Magazine. ‘[Faith] is about finding life and joy and peace. I am not at church a lot because I’m away a lot, so I kind of cling to the simple things, like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “I’m holding you by your right hand.” The simple things are what I try to keep my faith like. Jesus is unchanging and we are forgiven.’
Grylls and his wife Shara have three sons, Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry – the last of whom was born on a houseboat moored on the Thames River. He points to their shared faith as a significant component of their marriage. ‘We’ve been married almost 10 years, and that’s been a great glue to our family, actually. I look back now and I think it’d be really hard without that faith together – that sustained us.’
Bear Grylls admits they are not regular church attenders in the conventional sense. ‘I’m away a lot,’ he told The Telegraph. ‘To be honest, if the point is to find community and be encouraged, then I find the best church often happens with my kids. We’re at home on a Sunday. I’ll get out the old piano and sing a few simple kids songs and a little hymn. I stick to “He’s got Huckleberry, Marmie, in his hands…” That is church. We’ll read a little verse. You know, “I am holding you by your right hand.” We’ll say a little prayer for each other and we’re done in seven minutes. It’s wonderful.’ Then the family goes hiking or climbing together.
As a family man, Bear is mindful of the risks in the adventurous lifestyle he carved for himself. ‘Life is risky. If we embrace it, look after each other and learn how to manage risk, we are all better off. I for one do not want to reach the end of my life in a perfectly preserved body. I want to come flying in sideways, covered in scars, beaten up and screaming: “Yahoo! What a ride!”’
10/40 WINDOW/CROYDON (VICTORIA AUSTRALIA)
‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…’ (Matt. 28:19)
Jossy Chacko, founder of Empart, reports another successful year for this Asia-centred missions’ organisation that particularly impacts India and Nepal for Christ. He writes to supporters …
As I went through this year’s activity report, my heart was overjoyed with thanks to our Father for our supports because it is partners’ prayers and generosity that has enabled us to see such great growth.
The fingerprints of our partners – our supporters – are all over…
• Every salvation
• Church planted
• Worker trained
• Child cared for
• Child educated
• Child rescued from trafficking and abuse
• Village given clean water
• Mentally ill person, orphan or widow loved and cared for through the loving homes
• And so much more.
Along with all the beneficiaries let me say Dhanyavada – Thank you!
Heart of the ‘Great Commission’
In Luke10:2 Jesus said, ‘The harvest is plentiful’ – so the problem is not with the harvest! But rather with the fact that ‘the workers are few.’
This is the heart of the great commission challenge. This is why Empart continues to be focused on discipling, equipping and resourcing indigenous leaders to reach their own people through holistic care and the power of the gospel.
We are training workers for the harvest, right in the middle of the most unreached region of the world, in the middle of the most plentiful harvest on earth! I pray that God’s Spirit will help many to see how Christians can play an invaluable role in carrying the truth of the gospel to the world’s most unreached people. Every prayer, every dollar, every encouragement given us, along with God’s grace, has resulted in this and much more. We thank God for you; we love and pray for you.
Empart exists to bring holistic transformation to individuals and communities in Asia.
Our mission is to …
• Release and
• Resource indigenous Christian leaders to
• Revolutionise (Transform) communities among the most unreached and needy.
To see communities transformed among unreached people in Asia by the planting of 100,000 churches by 2030.
10/40 Window Unreached People Groups
Why do we focus on this region? The 10/40 Window is a rectangular window that stretches from 10 to 40 degrees north of the equator starting from West Africa and ending in East Asia. It’s where the highest number of unreached people groups in the world are clustered together.
Empart’s primary field operation is North India, which lies at the heart of the 10/40 Window and contains the single largest concentration of unreached people in the world.
- Our church planters have been working in the 10/40 Window for the last 15 years.
- More than 17,600 communities have been influenced by the gospel in that time.
- Each of these communities has committed believers as a result of the efforts of Empart vision.
We are committed to press forward with the same vision, harder and more fervently, and invite Christians and churches to continue to stand with us. In eternity you will be so glad you did!
Links: http://au.empart.org/JossyPIR / www.empart.org.au / PO Box 980 Croydon Victoria Australia 3136 / (03) 9723 9989
More Canadian parents standing against inappropriate Sex-Ed curriculum
Breaking Christian News reports that taking as their lead an unprecedented 30-day student school ‘strike’ by parents at Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park Public School, other parents across Ontario were pulling their kids out of school this month to protest the Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.
(Photo via LifeSiteNews)
Using the rallying slogan of We are Thorncliffe, parent rights’ groups in Mississauga, Peterborough, Ajax, and Oshawa are taking their kids out of publicly funded school at least one day, if not more.
And the newly formed Durham Concerned Parents have planned strikes on September 29 in Ajax and Oshawa. ‘We are targeting public and Catholic elementary schools in the three ridings: Oshawa North, Whitby-Oshawa and Ajax-Pickering,’ organiser Maritza Sialer told LifeSiteNews in an email (https://www.lifesitenews.com).
In the heart of Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Don Valley West riding, Thorncliffe Park Public School became a highly publicised flashpoint of sex-ed protest when parents pulled half the students from classes on the first day of school, and vowed to keep the ‘strike’ going for the month of September.
Organised by Thorncliffe Parents Association, the action gained huge media attention, especially since the children were group-homeschooled in a nearby park, which TPA president Khalid Mahmood dubbed the ‘school in the garden.’
And while participants had decreased from 700 children to about 200 by Wednesday, those numbers had surged to 467 children on Monday, September 14, according to TPA’s tally, which is just under one-third of the school’s reported expected enrolment of 1,460 students.
These parents’ rights and pro-family groups say that the Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum violates children’s innocence by introducing them to age-inappropriate explicit information, and by pushing a dangerous sexual agenda.
Pro-family analysis of the curriculum documents that it introduces children to homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, oral and anal sex in Grade 7 and that it teaches there are six genders rather than two biological sexes.
‘A time of darkness calls for no compromise whatsoever, especially when the innocence of our children is at stake,’ Sialer noted. ‘In a time of darkness there can be no compromising the light of the gospel, it cannot be put under a bushel basket into order to prolong the life of Catholic Education. Parents have deliberately been left out of the curriculum, but the groundswell of concerned parents must continue to make their voices heard.’
‘Student strikes are spreading to communities outside of Toronto, following the groundbreaking Thorncliffe model,’ says Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Coalition.