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 other news sources such as Crosswalk for timely gleanings)
Army vet with PTSD entered church with assault rifle, intending something ‘terrible’
Mark Ellis brings a good New Year story…
Pastor Larry Wright was conducting a New Year’s Eve prayer service at his church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, when a man with a high-powered assault rifle entered at about 11:30 pm.
Pastor Wright, who leads the Heal the Land Outreach Ministries, had just finished talking about senseless gun violence in their community.
The intruder had his gun in one hand and an ammo magazine with shiny rounds in the other. A retired Army sergeant first class, Larry Wright initially wasn’t sure the weapon was real. ‘I’m the first person to see him and when I saw him, I thought it was a dummy gun, but then I saw the bullet clip in his hand and the bullets were shining,’ he told CNN.
Immediately, panic set in and some of the 60 parishioners began to scream and run for the exits. Some church members thought the man was going to shoot up the church – another episode like the Charleston church shooting, according to Newsmax.
If he started to shoot, Pastor Wright, fairly imposing himself, at 6-foot-2-inches and 230 pounds, planned to tackle him. ‘Can I help you?’ he called out to the man, fearing the worst.
‘Can you pray for me?’ the man replied.
Hopelessness, hurt, pain and despair
‘I saw in his eyes hopelessness, hurt, pain, despair,’ Pastor Wright recounts. ‘When he said that, then I knew everything was going to be all right.’
Larry Wright walked slowly up to the man, reached out and took the rifle and handed it to a deacon. One by one, the deacon and three others hugged the man.
‘And then I began to minister to him and pray to him and talk with him,’ the pastor told CNN.
It was 20 minutes before midnight, and he wanted to finish his New Year’s Eve message and do an altar call. He told the man to sit in the front row and stay there.
‘I finished the message, I did the altar call and he stood right up, came up to the altar, and gave his life to Christ,’ Larry Wright told CNN. ‘I came down and prayed with him and we embraced. It was like a father embracing a son.’
Then the man asked to speak to the 60 people who remained. He apologised to them, telling them when he set out that evening he intended to do something terrible.
But the Lord spoke to him and told him to go to church before carrying out his destructive plan.
Churchgoers had phoned police when the man walked in carrying the rifle, and officers were waiting for him after the service. Pastor Wright believes police took the unidentified man to the hospital for a mental evaluation.
‘It’s so hard to describe, to explain the excitement and love of God in the room. This man came in to do harm and he has given his life to Christ,’ he told CNN.
After being escorted away, the man returned a few days later to thank Pastor Wright and the congregation. He faces no charges in connection to the incident.
The man, who remains unidentified, said he is a military veteran struggling with PTSD, in part because he can’t afford the meds he’s been prescribed. He said his wife was recently diagnosed with a devastating disease, that they were struggling financially, and that the power had recently been shut off at his house.
Pastor Wright (left) and the church would like to baptise the man if he returns Sunday!
Dan Wooding, ASSIST News Service, reports…
Evangelical apologist and writer, Josh McDowell, has become so deeply concerned about what he calls the ‘porn epidemic’ that is ‘sweeping the church’ that he taking action in the form of a unique conference to help people understand what is happening and how people can become free from this addiction. ‘Nothing erodes the church faster than pervasive Internet pornography. Let’s do something about it,’ he states.
The evangelist gives the following shocking figures:
• Three out of five of all of divorces cite pornography as a major factor
• Nine out of ten boys and six out of ten girls are exposed to porn by the age of eighteen
• Two out of five church-going men watch porn several times a week.
Josh says that he has become so troubled with what is going on that, in April 2016, his Josh McDowell Ministry, in partnership with Covenant Eyes, is hosting the Set Free Global Summit on the impact of pornography in the church. It will take place in Greensboro, NC, April 4-7, 2016. Details at their website: http://setfreesummit.org.
I recently interviewed Josh McDowell and as usual, he didn’t pull any punches and he said, ‘Well, I’m an apologist which means setting forth positive reasons for belief in the scriptures, the deity of Christ and everything related to that topic.’
He added: ‘About six years ago, I sensed there was something wrong; something affecting the belief system and, usually, I could pin-point it real fast, but this time, I couldn’t. Then, after a while, I realised it was pervasive Internet pornography that is just killing us in the church.
He stated, ‘And so I realised that if I take life and the scriptures seriously, I had got to deal with the issue of pornography. It was the most discouraging thing for me when I found out how pervasive it is, how involved among pastors, youth pastors, and evangelical churches, but, at the same time, it was very challenging. So I started doing a lot of research on this topic, dealing with a lot of organisations that have dealt with it and then I decided to help set up the April Set Free Global Summit where we will give incredible positive answers to pornography. Most people don’t realise what’s happening with pornography. Basically there are two types of men in the evangelical church — those that watch pornography and those that lie.’
A man on his laptop, but what is he watching? (Illustration: http://www.sexualrecovery.com/pornography-addiction )
Josh McDowell then described the porn situation within the church as an ‘epidemic,’ adding, ‘At least 78.8% of all men that attend evangelical churches watch pornography. Probably 80% of all evangelical youth pastors also watch pornography, and now, the greatest increase is among women and young ladies. It’s killing us. 64% of all Christian families have an acute problem with pornography. 67% of all divorces now are directly related to pornography. Almost every time you hear of a pastor being asked to leave a church because its pornography.’
He added, ‘What they do is say that it is because of “a moral problem”, but they won’t just come right out and say it’s because of porn. It is so mainstream in the world around us that it’s not even newsworthy. Within 18 months, it’ll be mainstream right within the evangelical, fundamental, born-again church. At Christian schools, probably 80, 85% of all the guys watch pornography, even at the most evangelical, conservative of schools.
‘As Chuck Swindoll said, “It’s the greatest cancer in the church.” For me, it’s too late to say, “Well, give it time and let’s pray about it.” Chuck Swindoll said that if we don’t move on it right now, it is too late to say we’ll pray about it and then wait. ‘If we soon don’t have another Wilberforce or a Bonhoeffer to deal with pornography the way that they dealt with slavery and Nazism, we’re in trouble. And right now I don’t see a Wilberforce or a Bonhoeffer on the scene anywhere in the world.’
What has caused this sort of this avalanche?
‘Well one of them is technology,’ said McDowell. ‘Pastors will say to me, “Oh Josh, we’ve always had pornography. What’s the big deal?” and I say to myself, “How in the world, did you ever get your head screwed on because that’s not right.”’
Asked if he was getting a lot of opposition when he spoke out like this, Josh McDowell said, ‘No! Usually I get silence because most pastors won’t say much because they’re involved in it, and they’re afraid of the shame and exposure if it comes out. Same thing with Christian leaders, but when I get through to them, and tell them that there’s 26,000,000 pornographic web sites, they realise the size of the porn problem. Just take one site – it’s not even the top five sites, just one of them – in the last 30 days has produced pornography that would fill 540,000,000 four-drawer file cabinets, or would fill 29 Empire State buildings.’
Josh McDowell concluded by saying, ‘I’ll say to any pastor right now, “Lead or be led. If you do not lead, someone else will; and it means you have failed, the parents and the children in your church.” And right now many pastors have.’
Crosswalk’s Debbie McDaniel shares encouragement for 2016…
The battle we face may be more about what is unseen than what is seen. God’s given us his word, powerful and true, so we can stand against the enemy’s schemes.
Read full article link: Crosswalk.com
‘Conversion inducements’ concern
As 2016 starts, I have an urgent need to share with our supporters and prayer partners: Just before Christmas, a private member’s bill was quietly introduced to the Indian federal parliament. If approved, this bill will have a dramatic impact on our work throughout the nation.
Conversions could be prevented
The Bill seeks to prevent religious conversion through ‘inducement, coercion or undue influence.’ Equivalent anti-conversion laws already exist in several states but this would take effect nationally.
While we agree that conversion should not take place by ‘inducement, coercion or undue influence,’ our past experience is that these laws will be used against Christians involved in social welfare – with our compassion ministries defined as ‘inducement’!
Additionally, this bill will give power to anyone, with or without evidence, to make an allegation. Once ‘conversion by inducement’ is alleged, responsibility lies with the accused individual or organisation to prove their innocence. No longer innocent until proven guilty, under this bill, the accused will be guilty until they can prove themselves innocent!
‘Rope being slowly tightened for Christians’
New laws are also being introduced for funds sent from foreign sources. As one of our leaders said, ‘It looks like slowly the rope is tightening for us as Jesus’ disciples.’ I feel an urgency to do all we can while the door is still open. I encourage you to give now while we can still sow into the Lord’s work in India. I don’t ask for myself, but for the workers and believers who will be impacted by this situation.
Thank you also for praying: that lives and communities will continue to be transformed; that believers will remain strong in their faith; and that those who seek to persecute and accuse will come into a personal relationship with Jesus.
Although the opportunity for us to openly share the gospel appears to be slowly closing, we are confident that all things work together for good. And we take comfort and confidence from the words of Jesus – that he will build his church! Thank you for giving and praying for the lost – I know without doubt that in eternity, you will be so glad you did.
For more details, links: firstname.lastname@example.org / Empart, PO Box 980, Croydon Vic 3136 Australia / (03) 9723-9989