Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Who are your children's heroes?

Girl reading
Real life heroes can set a Christ-like example for your children
Disciple your children
We live in uncertain times. The only certainty we have is in Christ our rock.

As you raise your children, are you sowing the seeds of taking up our crosses to follow Christ daily? These resources will help you build the faith of your children on God’s Word and the testimonies of those who have gone before us.

Saul was once a persecutor of Christians. But once he meets Christ, his life is changed. This new graphic novel recounts his miraculous transformation.
The Action Bible presents the most important stories ever told in a new, visually engaging way. The stories are communicated in a clear and exciting manner through the illustrations of a former Marvel Comics illustrator.
These heroes of the Christian faith all shared Christ on the front-lines. Your children will be encouraged by the stories of these faithful witnesses told in 30-minute episodes.
When her family’s faith was tested by the Nazis in World War II Holland, Corrie’s faith prevailed. What is the cost of serving God amidst unthinkable evil?

Buy Now

Brazilian People Group First to Use New Software to Translate Bible

Brazilian People Group First to Use New Software to Translate Bible

By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service ( )
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (ANS-AUG. 2, 2016) -- While Rio de Janeiro prepares for the Olympics, members of a Brazilian people group called the Calon have launched a project that will have effects long after the Games end -- translating the Book of Genesis into its own language, Chibi.
Chibo people with translated scripturesAccording to a news release made available to the ASSIST News Service, the goal of the project is to complete an audio version of Genesis in one year.
Although there is already some Bible content in Chibi, this is the first translation project to use a new kind of software called Render that streamlines the process of translating the Bible for oral cultures.
“This project is history in the making, and I don't use that phrase very often,” said Jonathan Huguenin, vice president of language recording and global partnerships at Faith Comes By Hearing, one of the three ministries that developed Render.
Eleven Chibi speakers held a two-week workshop in June with representatives of Faith Comes By Hearing, an audio Bible ministry; Seed Company, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators; and three Brazilian organizations to learn how to use Render.
According to the news release, while the workshop was held in Dourado, more than 400 miles west of Rio, the 800,000 members of the Calon are scattered across Brazil.
The Calon, descendants of gypsies who immigrated from Europe beginning in the 16th century to escape the Inquisition, isolate themselves from Brazilian society, even refraining from sending their children to school to guard against outside influences.
Not surprisingly, literacy is a problem, and Calon believers looked at the translation project as a way to preserve their language.
“The Chibi speakers embraced oral Bible translation and the principles of Render,” said Robin Green, the Render project manager, speaking in the news release. “Watching them work was one of the most satisfying moments of my life.”
Experts say there are more than 1,800 oral cultures like the Calon - representing perhaps 1 billion people - that don't have the Bible in their own language, and many of them don't even have a written language.
Historically, Bible translators have had to create a written language for these groups before creating an audio Bible that people could use, lengthening the translation process by years.
“The oral process requires no compromises to achieve high quality oral translations of Scripture,” said Ralph Hill, a consultant in oral translation with Seed Company, speaking in the news release. “It is now possible to translate and record first and, if desired, print later.”
Pioneer Bible Translators partnered with Seed Company and Faith Comes By Hearing to create Render. Faith Comes By Hearing records audio Bibles and relies on its partners to do the translation.
Render is an example of the merging of translation and recording to create a new tool that will empower oral peoples to participate in creating access to the Bible in their own language.
For more information, visit
Photo captions: 1) Three men with copies of God’s Word in Chibi, their mother tongue. ( 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
Jeremy and Elma Reynalds very latestAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on the book are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact: Jeremy Reynalds at .
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service ( Please also tell your friends that they can have a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above website and then sign up there.

Deaf mute Pakistani Christian girl

Deaf mute Pakistani Christian girl, forcibly converted to Islam, escapes from her abductor

By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
SIALKOT, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN (ANS – August 3, 2016) -- A deaf mute Pakistani Christian girl who managed to escape from an abductor who forcibly converted her to Islam, is being threatened with death if she does not return to him.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK has told the ASSIST News Service that Muslim clerics claim that Asma -- Asma is her Christian name, while her new Muslim name is Aysha -- from Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan, cannot live with her Christian parents because she had “converted to Islam.”
smaller Family of deaf mute girl in Pakistan“According to her lawyer, Hafiz Ateeq Ur Rehman, she was kidnapped about four or five months ago by her neighbor, Ghulam Hussain, who is very influential as he has strong relations with high-profile police officers, politicians and other powerful and influential people,” said Nasir Saeed.
“Her father, Gulzar Masih, always knew about the kidnappers, but being a Christian and poor, he succumbed to the pressure and could not do anything.”
“But Asma has somehow escaped from Ghulam Hussain and re-joined her family.”
Nasir Saeed claims that Hussain is threatening her father and asking him to hand her back, claiming that since she is married to him and has converted to Islam, she cannot live with her Christian parents.
He added that Gulzar Masih went to a local police station, but instead of listening to his grievance, the police officer also pressured him to send his daughter back. To further intimidate the family, the police arrested Gulzar’s son in law, but later on released him.
Ultimately, Gulzar Masih contacted advocate, Hafiz Ateeq Ur Rehman, for help, and has now submitted an application to the DPO (District Police Officer) in Sialkot, but still there is no result.
“Some clerks are also threatening Gulzar, but Asma is not willing to go with Ghulam Hussain,” said Nasir Saeed. “Mr. Rehman has filed a petition with the Justice of the Peace, and an Inquiry Officer has been appointed and the court has asked for a report from him.
“On August 1st, the Inquiry Officer called both parties together, and Ghulam Hussain presented one certificate from a local Madrasah [Islamic School] of Asma’s conversion written with her new name. He also presented a marriage certificate, which showed the name of the girl as Aysha, but listed her her father as Yousaf Bhatti, which showed that it was clearly a forged and self-made document.”
He said that now the situation has become “very dangerous” and Asma and her family are facing “severe threats” from Muslim clerks because they believe Asma was converted to Islam and has reconverted to Christianity and has therefore become apostate and is liable to be killed.
“Nobody is questioning her abductee, who is campaigning against Asma and her family and has endangered their lives,” said Nasir Saeed.
“The police are also siding with Ghulam Hussain because of pressure from Muslim clerks. Gulzar Masih is so scared that he has sent his daughter to some unknown place. Local police are urging him to bring Asma back, while clerks are ready to kill her.”
Nasir Saeed said that the increase of forced conversions and kidnapings of Christian and other minorities’ girls is because of the government’s failure.
“Since the government has failed to investigate Muslim clerks who are suspected of being involved in forced conversion and the issuing false certificates of conversion and marriages, such crimes will continue to occur and I see no end to innocent Christian and other minorities girls’ misery. Instead I am afraid that it will worsen.
“Shamefully, the police, who are supposed to follow the law, often side with the kidnappers, and also come under pressure from the local Muslim clerks, instead of registering cases against them and the perpetrators.
“This attitude and government’s insensitivities have emboldened the criminals and they now commit such crimes without any fear.”
Many Hindus and Christians have already started migrating to India and other countries because Pakistan’s laws have failed to protect them and they feel their honor, life and property, are all at risk.
“Forcible conversion to Islam in Pakistan is an open reality there are several reports, according to which, every year at least 700 Christians and 300 Hindu girls are kidnapped. But despite that the government has failed to take appropriate steps to stop this ongoing forced conversion,” said Nasir Saeed.
“Minorities have no more faith in the government and are also losing faith in the Pakistan courts, too. There is an especially loathsome continuation of dual discrimination towards women -- as females and also as members of minority communities.
“It is a serious issue of survival for minorities in Pakistan and the international community must pay attention to stop the continuous violation of the fundamental and human rights of minorities.”
About CLAAS: Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) is an interdenominational organization working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan. CLAAS works for religious freedom, to stop persecution of Christians in Pakistan because of blasphemy and other discriminatory laws, raise awareness, disseminate information and highlight the plight of Christians on an international level. CLAAS provides free legal aid to victims of religious intolerance in Pakistan, as well as shelter and financial support for the victims and their families.
For more information, please contact Nasir Saeed at . The website is:
Photo captions: 1) Deaf mute girl with her family. 2) Dan Wooding reporting from Seoul, South Korea, for a TV station.
web Dan Wooding reporting for Korean TV on crusadeAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books, and has reported from all over the world for ANS, and his most recent overseas trip was to Kurdistan, Northern Iraq.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service ( Also, please tell your friends that they can received a complimentary subscription for our news service by going to the above website and signing up there.

Love, Lust and Power

Love, Lust and Power, the extraordinary story of a mother-daughter struggle and reconciliation, is now a Hollywood movie

By Dan Wooding Founder of ASSIST News Service
Dr. Vicki Lee with daughter Venus L. BurtonLOS ANGELES, CA (ANS – August 3, 2016) – Some six years ago, Venus L. Burton, aka rapper, Booski Love, had slithered amid the dark caverns of danger, lust and power-play in Los Angeles. She had soared among the stars of the underground rap scene and survived the night -- but only barely.
Then, in 2010, at the pinnacle of her career, Booski Love (Venus) experienced a certain moment of clarity. She awoke from her underground daze and stared straight into eternity, where she saw her one, true love standing...waiting...with open arms. It was Jesus Christ -- the Lover of her soul – and she came to realize that, despite being raised in a Christian lifestyle by her single mother, and having strayed so far away from that upbringing into a lesbian life-style, Jesus had never left her side.
In an extraordinary interview with myself and my ANS colleague, Mark Ellis, Venus said, “Booski Love died that day and I became a true follower of Jesus, and I now work alongside my mother [Dr. VickiLee] in sharing the Good News with all who will listen.”
Dr. Vicki Lee with her two children Ken and VenusToday, the star of Venus L. Burton shines brightly, advertising Christ’s holy name in all the earth, as she gives all of the glory to God. She first all wrote a book about her often dark experiences called S.T.U.D. (A Shared Testimony of Unashamed Deliverance), and now that book has been turned into a powerful full-length Hollywood Movie which is about to be released. It has the same name as the book.
Venus is being positioned for a new power-stage. It’s a new day for her, as she rides the wings of her destiny.
In the recent interview for my Front Page Radio show recorded at the studios of the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network ( in Orange, California, Venus and her mother, Dr. Vicki Lee, talked openly about the extraordinary turn-around in their lives and initially how Venus felt isolated and confused by not having a father around. She said, in trying to find fulfillment, she stepped into an alternative life-style, and had a series of lesbian girlfriends, and even began to dress like a man.
Dr. Vicki began by saying that she had prayed for her daughter for 20 long years, during which they were estranged for part of that time, and how told of the pain when Venus strayed into an “alternative lifestyle,” but she said she never gave up “believing God for a miracle.”
Venus then said, “I grew up in a single-parent home -- my brother Ken and I, and my mother raised us. I dealt with a lot of abandonment issues. Not having a father figure, I always wanted to be a daddy’s girl.
“During my high school years in Norwalk [part of Los Angeles], I was very rebellious and looking for love in all the wrong places. I was dealing with the whole peer pressure thing, and with not having a dad, I became angry and had abandonment issues. As a teen, I got into drugs and alcohol and then, right out of high school, I got into the alternative [lesbian] lifestyle. We make these choices and we choose to do things and so that was one of my choices because there I was accepted by that community and I got attention from them.”
Venus was still living at home, so she said she did originally did these things secretly, but soon it became harder and harder to hide her behavior from her mother and brother.
Venus the rapper“It came out when the first girl that I kissed was my brother’s girlfriend,” she said. “That brought a lot of dysfunction to the family. I never knew that it would destroy the family as much as it did. But God reconciles and God put our family back together, but in the midst of that we all went through a lot.”
Venus said that she began taking crystal meth, pain pills, sniffed cocaine, and began drinking lots of Corona beer and also enjoyed the hard liquor of Hennessy cognac.
“I was trying to find my identity and discover who I was,” she explained. “It was a time of intense pain for my mother.”
Vicki cut in and said, “Things started coming out about what her lifestyle was and then I began looking at her and I realized that she was dressing and looking like a boy. Then, one day, the scales came off and I looked at her and said, ‘You know who you are. You are not a man; you are a woman!”
Venus then said, “I was very rebellious. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I got to the point that I was working in the music business, and I wanted to go out on my own and live with my girlfriend. So I did.”
Mark Ellis then asked Venus how old she was when she first recognized that she had a same sex attraction, to which she replied, “I always say it doesn’t happen overnight. It was a seed that was planted a long time ago. My aunt was in ‘the life’ and that was one thing that I hated. In fact, I hated it so much that I became it! As a little girl, I knew that my aunt was in that lifestyle. I’d always seen a difference in her, but still she played basketball and did those things, so I thought it was because she was a tomboy.
“But then, as I got older, in my early 20s, I actually went to a party and my brother Ken’s girlfriend and I we went to this party of a friend that I knew and that’s when I saw a woman on a woman, and it just blew my mind. So we began drinking and in the midst of that, as I said earlier, I made the choice to kiss my first girl, which was my brother’s girlfriend.”
Soon, life was also becoming dangerous for Venus, and several times, women she was associating with, pulled guns on her.
“It’s only through the grace of God that I’m still alive today,” she revealed. “On one occasion, one of these women pointed a gun at me and I knew I was going to die. I could see my life flash right before me, but I believe that God sent another person -- one of our friends inside the room where I was -- and I was able to leave the house. It distracted her and she put the gun down and I ran out.”
Mark Ellis then asked Venus what is was that caused her to continue in the lifestyle? Was it just rebellion or that underlying attraction?
Venus L. Burton performing on stage as a rapper“I was already in it, and the devil puts his hooks in you,” she said. I just had a lust, a thirst for it. I thought at the time, that’s who I was. I was comfortable in my own skin, so I believed I was living, and enjoying, that that alternative lifestyle.”
As mother Vicki, who is also a pastor, sat quietly listening to her daughter, I asked her how she was able to deal with her daughter’s behavior at that time, and also if they still in communication?
“We always had a communication, per se, but the main thing I did was that I prayed a lot,” she said. “I would hold all-night prayer meetings every Friday night, interceding for my daughter, and my son, not knowing the full thing of my son, and I so dearly wanted the children to be saved and come in the Kingdom. The scripture that I stood on was Acts 16: 31, 32, which talks about the jailer who received the Lord and, at that time, he said that he and his house would be saved. So I said, ‘Lord you said that if I were to be saved, you’re also going to also save my children as well. So I stood on those verses and just believed God.”
All Change
Venus then spoke about the time, just five years ago, when her life radically changed after she had once again moved back home.
“I was alone in my bedroom,” she recalled, “and I knew the Word of God as Mom always took us to church, and remembered, where it says in Revelation, that there is going to be rumors of wars and different signs, and then the Lord would be coming back. So when I saw these things on the news on the news on national TV, I was afraid that God was coming back and I was not ready.
“I then heard a voice just as plain as you and I are talking, and it asked if I was to die tonight, where would I go? And at that moment, I knew I was going to hell. And so I repented for my sins and God met me in my bedroom, not at a church or at a function.”
I then turned to her mother Vicki and asked her for her version of the story.
She replied, “I did notice that she was in her room and when she came out, I saw some kind of a change. But, I’ve seen that change several times. As a pastor, I’ve seen the kids get ‘saved’ a lot of times as they would go up to the front and ‘do’ the altar call, and yet still there was no fruit in Venus at that time. At first, I was wondering if she was really saved, but it did take some time for me to see the real change.
Venus L. Burton in her rapper days with two friends“I had prayed and fasted for her for 20 years, and just before she got saved this time, one of the things the Holy Spirit told me was to look in her eyes and say, ‘Venus, you know, if you want to continue to do this, you can do so because the Lord spoke to me and said that He was going to wipe away all my tears and when I got to heaven. I’d be in the face of Christ and I won’t even remember you because of the presence of His glory.’ I told Venus that she had a choice to make, because I knew that I couldn’t make her get saved. God has given us all a free will because we are not robots, so He’ll put before you, life and death, blessings and curses, and He’ll give you the choice answer choose life that you and your seed may live but you have a choice.
“It had got to the point when I said to her that this was it, because the rebellion and disrespect had got worse and worse, and I knew I couldn’t go on living like this much longer.”
Venus then said, “What she said was a reality check for me, especially when she told me that she wouldn’t even remember me. Sometimes, we do things to hurt others because we’re looking for attention, or to fill a void, but not knowing that only God can fill that void. He’s the only one that can do that. So when I realized that, I was going to be in hell alone, the Holy Spirit was really working on me. And, I always like to say to those out there that are in ministry, love them with the love of God whether they’re in that lifestyle or drug addicts or prostitutes or whatever the sin may be. Love them with the love of God and watch God change them.”
Main Stud movie posterVenus said that once she had prayed for her forgiveness and salvation, despite her mother’s questions, she felt she was instantly delivered from wanting to sleep with a woman.
“There was no desire or any attraction for a woman, but it was a process on my outer appearance,” she explained. “All of the emotion on the inside, all the hurt, all the pain and the disappointments, the betrayal that I went through, and the things that I was feeling that affected my soul being hurt, God began that process and I was changed.”
Mark Ellis then asked Venus, “Do you feel like you could have attraction to a man at some point? Has that changed too?”
Venus laughed and immediately said, “Oh yes. Now I’m looking for my Boaz, (in the Bible’s book of “Ruth” married Boaz), and so yes, guys, yes!”
Now, Venus, and her prayer warrior mother, are ministering together, and among many other things, Venus is now a Gospel rapper, but her message is completely different.
They are especially excited that the movie about their life is about to come out and will have its premier at the Arclight Theater on Sunset Blvd on Thursday, August 18th. To find out more about S.T.U.D. (A Shared Testimony of Unashamed Deliverance), please go to You can also contact them both at .
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
* * This interview will be broadcast on the KWVE Radio Network ( on Sunday, August 14, 2016, at 2:00 PM. But you can hear it right now at:
Photo captions: 1) A recent picture of Dr. Vicki Lee (left) with her daughter, Venus L. Burton. 2) Dr. Vicki Lee with her two children, Venus and Ken. 3) Venus L. Burton, aka rapper Booski Love. 4) Booski Love performing in an LA club. 5) A rebellious Venus L. Burton (right), with two of her rapper friends. 6) Movie poster. 7) Dan Wooding interviewing Dr. Vicki Lee (left) and daughter, Venus L. Burton for his radio show.
Dan Wooding interviewing the coupleAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. He now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for some 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. He also has one weekly radio show and two TV shows all based in Southern California.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service ( Please tell your friends that they can receive a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to the above website and signing up there.

Dreaming of Food and Schoolbooks

Dreaming of Food and Schoolbooks

A Gospel for Asia ( News Release – For Immediate Release
Many children struggle GFAWILLS POINT, TX (ANS – August 3, 2016) -- Angry shouts filled the room. The smell of alcohol clung to Kuwar as he yelled at his family. Kuwar’s youngest son, Bijay, hunkered down amidst the familiar scene. His schoolbooks lay abandoned—how could he study while his father was enraged?
Food was scarce in Bijay’s house, but the supply of his father’s strong drink never ran short. Although Kuwar had a job as a laborer in the paddy fields, he relinquished very little of his income to provide for his family. His wife struggled to make ends meet, and her difficulty to provide food only worsened over time.
Living in the Wake of Destruction
Bijay’s family lived in a village riddled with poverty. Civil war had ravaged the region, and many lives remained shattered. Alcohol addictions gripped many villagers; Kuwar was not alone in his struggle.
While some families were financially stable, other families were unable to give their children proper food or opportunities to continue their education. Some children labored alongside their parents to help earn money for the family instead of attending school. Their futures uncertain, they did all they could just to buy food for the day.
Bijay watched his parents struggle—one trapped in an addiction and the other caught in its wake—and worried about his family. Many other children in his village were poor, but Bijay saw some of his friends eating good food, wearing new clothes to school and studying with new school materials. The sharp contrast between his family and these other families made Bijay wonder when he would be the boy happily going to school with a full stomach and nice clothes.
Tears fell from Bijay’s eyes as he thought about his father and the condition of his family. Sorrow welled up in his mother’s heart, too, as she saw her inability to meet all of Bijay’s needs. They cried together many times, unable to do anything to change their situation.
Bridge of Hope Turns Dream into Reality
Little boy at Bridge of Hope GFAThen one day, some Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope staff members visited Bijay’s home, conducting a survey to invite additional children to join the Bridge of Hope center in the area. With so many children in need of assistance, Bridge of Hope staff members pray for wisdom and carefully interview families to determine which children need help first.
After the staff members talked with Bijay’s family and learned of his plight, they decided he should be given the opportunity to enroll in Bridge of Hope.
The day Bijay had always dreamed of finally came! Knowing the young boy’s need, the Bridge of Hope staff gave Bijay new shoes, school uniforms, school supplies and even a new backpack for carrying his precious books. Bijay also received a nutritious meal each school day and regular medical checkups, which enabled him to grow stronger physically. Bijay no longer cried for lack of food or clothing—his physical needs had been met.
Prayer, Counseling Transform Alcoholic Father
Yet even with these joys, the problems in Bijay’s family still burdened his heart. Worry held Bijay back in his studies, preventing him from being able to concentrate well.
When the Bridge of Hope staff understood what was troubling Bijay, they gently helped him let go of his worries. They visited Bijay’s father often and encouraged him to leave his drinking habit. The young boy learned that his teachers truly cared about his family, and even better, that Jesus cared about his family, too. Bijay faithfully prayed for his father, asking Jesus to help Kuwar overcome his alcohol addiction.
Gradually, through Bijay’s prayers and the consistent encouragement from the Bridge of Hope staff members, Kuwar stopped drinking alcohol, and his love for his family grew stronger. The money Kuwar would have used to buy his alcohol now went to meet the needs of his family, which made a substantial impact on their financial situation.
As Bijay’s worries faded away, he gained a new interest in his education. He diligently applied himself to his studies, thankful for the help he received at the Bridge of Hope center. Bijay’s mother rejoiced at the changes she saw in her son’s life—and in her husband’s, too.
Peace and happiness entered the household, as did the knowledge of God.
God worked through Bridge of Hope to shine joy into the life of young Bijay and to also bring peace to his entire family.
Many Children Still Dream
Boy at Bridge of Hope GFABijay’s dream came true, yet thousands more children in Asia are still dreaming of attending school and having their basic needs met. By linking your life with Bridge of Hope children, you can help them escape the cycle of poverty and show them how much God loves them.
Note: Gospel for Asia ( has – for more than 30 years – provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry.
To schedule an interview with a Gospel for Asia representative, please contact . To find out more about Gospel for Asia, please go to:
Photo captions: 1) Many children struggle to receive an education because of poverty, just like Bijay once did. (GFA). 2) This little boy and Bijay both received love and help through their local Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope centers. (GFA). 3) For many children in Asia, a bright future is only as far away as the nearest Bridge of Hope center. (GFA).
** You may republish this story with attribution to the ASSIST News Service ( Please also tell your friends that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above website and signing up there.

Friday, July 15, 2016

California law requires teaching homosexual relations

California law requires teaching homosexual relations
Dr. Jim Denison
July 12, 2016
A popular Baptist pastor has resigned from the school board in Bakersfield, California. The reason: a new California law mandates that middle and high schools teach students how to have safe homosexual sex and how to get an abortion. It also requires schools to teach that gender is not aligned with biological sex. The pastor broke the law by voting against adopting the new legislation into policy and could be sued.

These are unprecedented days for Christians in America. Another California bill would restrict religious liberty to seminaries, jeopardizing the freedom of Christian colleges across the state. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission required that churches adopt transgender bathroom regulations and changed its stance only when a public outcry ensued.

A theologian responded to the California school law and other assaults on religious liberty: "It is time to . . . abandon the myth that the world is run by people who respect difference and diversity, and that all we need to do is behave decently in order to win their respect and earn their favor. They do not think that way. They will never think that way. And they will crush those who do. By any means necessary." The California pastor told his congregation, "We must prepare the church to live as sojourners in a foreign land, a land that feels more foreign by the day."

Here's the good news: Our Father is able to lead us where we've never been before.

In Joshua 3, God called the people to follow him across the flooded Jordan River and into their promised land, "for you have not passed this way before" (v. 4). When you are going where you've never been, it is essential that you trust and follow a guide who knows what you do not.

For their part, the people were to "consecrate" themselves (v. 5), paying the price in personal holiness to walk closely with a holy God. Then they were to follow their Lord in courage, stepping into the river while it was at flood stage.

Here's what happened when they did: "The waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off" (v. 16).

The town of Adam was some twenty miles upstream. The river would take several hours to flow from there to the place where the people were camped. So God began this miracle long before his people knew it or could participate in it. He timed the stopping of the river so that the last of the water would reach them just as they stepped into it by faith. As a result, the people marched into their Promised Land.

The river before us is at flood stage and rising. But our Lord is more powerful than any challenge we face. His will is still "good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2). We can still do all things through him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

So let us step into the flood with courage, standing for truth with grace. And "let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9). Corrie ten Boom was right: "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
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Four Simple Ways to Help Friends Who are Hurting

Four Simple Ways to Help Friends Who are Hurting (and an Update on My Husband)

Yesterday felt like a normal day: my husband went off to accomplish a full day's work, the kids and I ran errands, and I squeezed in a bit of writing before cooking dinner. After the past month, I've a newfound gratefulness for these mundane tasks and everyday occasions. A normal day is very much a good day.

My senses were heightened by my husband's accident, likely because his were dulled by the severity of his concussion. With everything in our lives under my care, I've been on red alert for weeks, unable to sleep well, constantly protective of my husband, and trying to give my children a summer at least somewhat unaffected by our circumstances.

I slept for two hours last Friday afternoon, went to sleep again at 9 that evening, and then slept for two hours on Saturday afternoon. That's telling, not only of how exhausting and stressful this tremulous situation has been, but that I was finally able to sleep so soundly. Something has shifted. My husband is slowly coming back to himself; we are returning to normal. 

That's not to say that everything will return to normal. At least I hope not. Funny how difficult trials release to the surface what's been held down at the depths of the heart. We've been no exception in our own trial, as we've experienced the urgency of our idols--idols of busyness, self-sufficiency, self-importance, and control, idols begging for attention we've not been able to give in our weakness and desperation. What a blessing to see them so clearly, to have a moment to stop the treadmill of life and look around a bit, to realize that there are in fact ways we're living that are making us crazy and dishonoring to God and one another. I'm taking furious notes as the Lord begins to draw conclusions in my heart, and I'm praying for God to do the work He wants to do in us.

I also have taken copious notes on how to minister to others who are in crisis, because we've been so generously ministered to by God's people. I could tell you stories--many of them--of how God prepared to care for us in advance, and how the simple words and actions of others brought me to tears. Online readers, thank you for your messages and prayers. In-real-life friends, thank you for every meal, card, text, hug, prayer, and email. You've helped us through. I've taken notes from you, so I can remember what to do when someone I love is in crisis. Actually, I took notes for all of us. Here's what I've learned about coming alongside sufferers from those who have done it well for me:
Take action, any action. Don't wait for someone else to take the lead. Don't wait for permission from your hurting friend or wait for her to ask for help. People in pain don't actually know what they need, but they are relieved when you offer specific help. Text them something like this: "I'd like to bring you a meal. Is tonight or tomorrow better?" Offer to take a caregiver's children so they can rest. Send gift cards for food delivery. Write a card and drop it in the mail. It doesn't really matter what it is, as long as you do something.

Check back in again. In our situation, I didn't feel that we needed anything just after the accident, but as time stretched on, life became much more unmanageable for me. After putting people off at the start, I didn't know how to ask for help when I actually needed it, so it was extremely helpful when friends checked back in with me about needs or simply brought over food.

Acknowledge the emotions and stress of the situation. Meeting physical needs is so helpful, but hurting people equally appreciate when their friends acknowledge the difficulties inherent in unexpected circumstances. One of the best things someone said to me was, "There isn't a right way of doing this." She was referring to my caregiver role and the communication role I'd taken for my husband, and her words gave me permission to not be OK. In whatever way you do it--even if it's just a simple hug and an "I'm praying for you," it's vital to acknowledge what is happening for the ones who are suffering.

Send passages of Scripture. Stress, uncertainty, and emotions can certainly cloud our ability to think clearly. In the weeks after Kyle's accident, I found it difficult to focus when I'd open my Bible. I needed to be able to think about our circumstances through the lens of God's love for me and for my husband, but I sometimes felt too exhausted to even think at all. When friends or church members would send me passages of Scripture, it was like a drink of water in a parched land and an instant perspective shifter. They pointed me toward my Rock and one true sense of hope.

I've been told that it will take up to two months for Kyle to be at 100%. We're definitely getting there! Yesterday, he worked out for the first time since the accident, his sense of humor (one of my favorite things about him) has returned, and he'll be back in the pulpit this Sunday. Good things, all.

Many other good things are also on the horizon: I turn 40 on July 24 (another good time to stop and evaluate life, right?), and I will soon be sharing all the details about my new book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, which is already up for pre-order on Amazon even though it releases next April.

How about a few other good things? 

1) Remember the friend I asked you to pray for? Her brother suffered a much more severe brain injury than what Kyle did in the very same week. The doctors weren't sure if he would live, but I'm happy to report that he is doing well and is in rehab in Atlanta. Praise God!

2) Some of you are drowning in "not good enough" this summer. You're obsessed with comparing yourself to other believers and with trying to figure out what you're "supposed" to be doing as a Christian. There is no joy or freedom in that place, and I can say that from years of personal experience. My good news for you is that I wrote all about these very things in my book, From Good to Grace, and the ebook version is only $1.99 through July 14 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Grab it, girl!
3) And, finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have been reading and listening to the beautiful voices speaking out about the turmoil in our country. I will be writing more about racial division and my hope for racial reconciliation through the gospel in the coming weeks, but I wanted to share a few posts that I've found helpful as I've been prayerfully considering this issue. I'm thankful for those who are speaking up:

How Talking to Your Kids About Race Helps Fulfill the Great Commission by Judy Wu Dominick
Trillia Newbell is doing a wonderful series on racial harmony.
Spanning the Racial Divide with Authentic Love by Sarah Beals
Lastly, I wrote a little something on Facebook about what I've learned from my black friends.

Again, thank you for your prayers and concern for me and for my family. Let me know what good things God is doing in your life right now. I'd love to celebrate with you!
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