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The Punk Rock Gospel

Tommy Green wears many hats: father, associate pastor, band member and author. But his driving passion is to share the gospel with punkers and assorted non-conformists.

Formerly employed by a banking company, Green left in June 2009 for full-time ministry as a college pastor at Salt Lake City Foursquare Church. But his leading entrée into the straight-edge subculture is as lead vocalist for Sleeping Giant, a heavy metal-style band that released its third album in late June.

“Sleeping Giant has been a total gift from the Lord,” says Green, whose group will tour this summer to spotlight the album Kingdom Days in an Evil Age. “God caused it to be more influential than we ever thought it would be.”

Sometimes drawing tens of thousands of fans to its concerts over the past five years, the band has seen people healed of deafness, broken bones and other ailments. 

It’s also seen a flock of young adults accept Christ, since Green mixes evangelistic messages into each set. Afterward, some non-believers tell him they never appreciated the reality of God.

Originally involved in Salt Lake City’s straightedge scene while in high school, Green moved back from California after a divorce. His wife, Krissi, plays an integral role in his ministry, helping teach young adults at church and joining him for speaking engagements.

“It’s all to testify to who Jesus is,” says Green, who recently self-published his first book. “I think we’re supposed to create space for people to worship God in a different way.” read more



Exchanging Dirt For Chalkboards

As South Sudan secedes from the Muslim-dominated north and officially becomes a nation on July 9, Aid Sudan says there is no better time than now to minister the gospel and meet the physical needs of those living in this poverty-stricken area. 

The nonprofit organization hopes to help build a strong spiritual foundation in South Sudan as the infant country builds its identity after years of civil war. 

“We just see it as such a crucial time for the body of Christ to invest, to help spread God’s word to help this new nation as it gets on its feet,” says Sarah Thompson, Aid Sudan’s director of administration.

Through the ministry’s Village-to-Village project, Aid Sudan has gone into communities and built schools where children were using dirt and sticks as chalkboards and chalk. The ministry also built water wells where kids used their sleeves as filtration devices to clean the polluted water. 

Aid Sudan also operates a radio station that broadcasts to South Sudan in tribal languages. The station and its affiliates deliver the Word of God in story form in addition to news, community training and lessons on health and hygiene.

“It’s unbelievable how we see God moving,” Thompson says of the nation’s transition. “Our main desire is to be faithful. We see this as a crucial time for the body of Christ to help spread God’s Word and to help invest, and we’re blown away by what’s He’s already done. 

“It’s just kind of ripe for the spread of the gospel,” Thompson says. read more

Marketing Faith in a City Near You

If you recognize any of the photos to the right, then your city has likely already been targeted for a takeover—a faith takeover, that is. Since 2009, the I Am Second ministry has launched advertising campaigns nationwide with billboards that feature images of celebrities and a Web address, The goal: to intrigue viewers enough that they’ll visit the site, which has videos of celebrities and others telling why they are second and Christ is first in their lives.

Since the ministry launched in Dallas, its website has had millions of visitors. Along with recent launches in Orlando, Fla.; Evansville, Ind.; and Kansas City, Mo., I Am Second hopes to expand into other areas of the country with targeted marketing for Christ. Check out these inspiring snippets from the videos. 

Janine Turner, actress

“Nothing can drive you to your knees like show business. Now ... I understand I only saw the threads. But God saw the whole tapestry of my life and wouldn’t let me quit. My name is Janine Turner and I am second.”

Josh Hamilton,  MLB player 

“I said, ‘[God] I need help. I’ve been trying to do this for so long. I can’t try anymore, because I fail on my own. You do with me what you want to do with me, but I surrender.’ ... [Now] I believe in Christ. I believe He’s first in my life, family’s second and everything else is after that. ... I am Josh Hamilton and I am second.

BailEe Madison, actress

“I don’t want it to be about me. I want it to be about God, and that is the most important thing. I just want everyone to know that I’m Bailee and I’m definitely second.“

Bethany Hamilton, pro surfer

“From what seems like such a horrible thing, God has just brought glory to Himself through me. My name is Bethany Hamilton and I am second. “

Mike Huckabee, politician

“The biggest mistake that I think I had to learn was that following Jesus doesn’t mean I’m following Him to the White House or I’m following Him to the governor’s mansion or I’m following Him to do television. No, I’m following Him to be with Him. I am second, and Jesus is first because He has already been everywhere I’ve never been and still want to be.”

Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach

“I didn’t know at the time when I got fired what I was supposed to do. I think one of the hardest things in life is when you have an idea of what you hope for, what you pray for, and it doesn’t come through. [I’ve learned that] every decision I make in life, I’m going to make it through the lens of Jesus Christ. I’m going to put Him out there first, and my own feelings, my own thoughts, my own desires are going to be second.“ read more

Spreading The Illegal Gospel

As a Christian, when is it legal to break the law? The oft-controversial practice of Bible smuggling has long been the means for which Christians in countries averse to the gospel have received the written Word of God. 

In countries such as China, Iran or other places where religious persecution abounds and Bibles are rare, Christians are given one page of Scripture to memorize before they pass it along to another believer. Some pastors don’t have full Bibles to teach with. 

Vision Beyond Borders leads teams of people with Bibles hidden in backpacks and luggage into countries closed to the gospel. All the while, they pray that the holy book will not be confiscated and can reach Christians who need them. Many have seen God move in miraculous ways to get Bibles through customs. 

Dyann Romeijm, the regional coordinator for Vision Beyond Borders says: “There are lots of stories where God blinds eyes and just makes a way.” 

Following are a few stories from Vision Beyond Borders teams who have watched as God miraculously provided a way for the Bible to enter countries where Christianity is persecuted. Because we don’t want to jeopardize those believers traveling to these locations in the future, we’ve chosen not to  identify specific nations.

Darkness lit the way ... Shortly after a team with Vision Beyond Borders arrived at the customs office, the electricity went out, causing the X-ray machines to stop working. The team knew they needed a miracle to get the Bibles through because the agents started inspecting bags by hand. As the team began to pray, four large tour buses arrived, and people started flooding the customs office. The overwhelmed agents stopped checking bags and started waving people through.  As the team left the building, the power came back on!

Lost in translation ... A Japanese man was attempting to pass through customs in front of the team. Because the customs agent did not know Japanese, this man had a difficult time understanding the agent’s instructions. Instead of putting his bag through the X-ray machine, he thought the agent wanted him to put himself through the X-ray machine. The scene created such a distraction with other agents laughing and talking that the team was able to simply walk through with their Bibles. 

The overlooked blessing  ... A team was detained and questioned extensively for more than 3-1/2 hours. Team members were asked very personal questions that were repeated over and over. As the agents discussed the team’s answers, the group prayed quietly. When the inspectors finished their discussion, they simply left the room—and the team was able to pick up their bags and walk out! Their luggage was never inspected.

Survey Says:

80% of believers tithe every time they’re paid 

According to an unscientific poll of tithers who visited read more

Diary of a Father

After Tom Watson suffered a stroke seven years ago, he began to question what memories he would leave his three sons. He didn’t want Father’s Day to become for them what it had been for him: just another day without a real dad. He wondered if they even knew his history of being physically and emotionally abused while being shuffled through 13 foster homes by age 5. So Watson resigned to quietly detail his story in a journal and some day give it to his sons.

Little did he know his riveting secret diary would hold lessons not only for his sons, but also for fathers and sons everywhere since the journal became a published book called Man Shoes

“If I died tomorrow, I know I’ve left a testimony and a witness to my boys about life,” he says. “I know that my sons have my life stories and my journey; they know they are loved.”

Watson has a master’s degree and started two successful businesses, but life has been an uphill battle. Due to his tumultuous upbringing, he says, he was a “little monster.” He’d bite, kick and steal,  eating food straight out of packages at grocery stores. 

Watson seemingly had little hope until he arrived at his 13th foster home, where he stayed with a retired pastor and a schoolteacher. Though nearing retirement, the couple adopted him and introduced him to his heavenly Father. He says they looked past his reckless actions and loved him into obedience. He says they also taught him a lifelong principle: “Choice plus my action equals my life.” 

Through Man Shoes, Watson hopes his sons will do more than aim to fill his shoes; he wants them to understand one of life’s major lessons: “Life will throw things at you, good and bad. But Jesus Christ is there for you every day.” read more

A Blessing From Uncle Sam

David and Thelma Ward attracted national media coverage when a one-time adoption credit led to a $54,000 tax refund. Thelma calls the unexpected bonanza an example of God at work in their lives.

“We’re a blessed family,” says the North Carolina homemaker, who quit her job in 2008 to devote all her time to caring for their five adopted children. “You hear about good things happening to other people, but it’s way out yonder.”

Even with the refund, the Wards face challenges. They need a home makeover—windows, carpeting and appliances need replacing, and their washing machine, dryer and stove get a fierce workout.

The Smithville couple, who are members of a Holiness church in Selma, N.C., have raised six of their own children, now ages 21 to 26. They also have provided foster care for more than 100 children over the years.

Now between the ages of 3 and 17, their adopted children—who are black, white and racially mixed—were foster kids with nowhere else to go. Their youngest daughter has a heart condition; others have assorted special needs. 

The children’s various situations require occupational and other forms of therapy, counseling and doctor visits, prompting Thelma to remark: “Don’t adopt a child for the money. It’s not there.”

The Wards now manage on an income of just over $40,000 a year after David’s employer reduced his salary last year by more than $7,000.

Instead of complaining, Thelma says they are grateful he still has a job and health insurance.

“It wouldn’t be this easy if we didn’t have Christ in our life,” she says. “Without a Holy Ghost-filled husband and a pastor who prays for you, it wouldn’t be so easy.”

Lessons for Lean Living

  • Pray
  • Clip coupons
  • Shop at thrift stores
  • Sell to consignment resellers
  • Host a huge yard sale read more

Proving Creationism ... Under Water

Have you ever stood seaside and quietly watched the elegant waves and the majestic aquatic life? What you see, smell and hear can all be evidence of God as the creator. That’s the philosophy of Christian dive professional Tec Clark, who founded a Christian snorkel and dive ministry in 2008. He uses the ocean’s symbiotic landscape to prove creationism.

Since starting Reef Ministries, he’s led hundreds of amateur and professional snorkel and dive tours on a glass-bottom boat into the deep blue sea. At the beginning of every excursion, he uses Scripture and science to enlighten visitors about the case for creationism. Despite traditional aquatic academics, which espouse evolution, Clark explains that a Creator could be the only source of the synergy found among ocean beings. He then presents charts, graphs and other research to support his bold assertions.

The common assertion in marine biology is that it’s taken millions of years for coral reefs to grow; but Clark says that there are areas of the world, such as Bikini Atoll, where reefs have grown six inches per year. He surmises they might not be growing as fast in other areas due to environmental factors such as global warming and acid rain. He admits no one knows all the answers, including evolutionists, and that it’s a matter of ideology. 

The 30-year dive professional has held prominent positions in the industry as the Director of the University of Florida advanced diving program and the head of the National Diving YMCA scuba program. All of his education and experience could never explain the intricacies found among the fish, reefs and sea particles. It wasn’t until he found Christ that the splendor of the ocean made sense to him.

“I realized there’s got to be a difference here; there needs to be a voice championing a Creator,” Clark says. 

Clark seeks to show his dive participants what he’s discovered, and people often tell him they’ve never felt closer to God than when they are underwater.

“Seeing the beauty, the diversity, the color, the splendor, the balance, the design—all of that is truly the thumbprint of our Creator,” Clark says. read more

A ShipWrecked Testimony

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Abby Sunderland’s failure. The teenager was unable to travel the world by boat in record time and beat her older brother’s record as the youngest person to do so.

After Sunderland’s dreams were dashed by high winds and 50-foot waves that caused her boat to capsize, she wasn’t sure what the future would hold for her. But looking back at the aftermath of her attempt, Sunderland says she now sees God’s hand at work in her disappointment.

“My trip being wrecked has given me a bigger platform than I would have had had everything gone according to plan,” says Sunderland of her newfound fame. “I hope it makes people think a little about God, and maybe there is something bigger out there.”

Last June Sunderland was stranded by a storm in the Indian Ocean nearly 2,000 miles east of Madagascar. For a while the plucky girl lost contact with her parents and was feared lost. She says many sailors have stories of pushing past their limits and coming to a place where they had to call on God, which happened several times for her: “God came through for me in such an amazing way that my faith is definitely stronger than when I left in February 2010.”

A homeschool student who recently completed high school, Sunderland plans to take a year off for traveling before going to college to study psychology. She’s also likely to do more speaking about her faith and her adventures as told in her book, Unsinkable. read more

Will Work for Kids

Will Work for Kids

Atlanta-based pastor Shaun King has made a promise to speak or consult with any organization of any size, anywhere in the world at no charge. His only requirement: the ministry using his services must sponsor a child at the Miriam Center for disabled orphans in Saint-Louis-du-Nord, Haiti.

The Courageous Church pastor is part of a group helping to rebuild this dilapidated orphanage, which King says is Haiti’s only school and home for orphans with severe disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, deafness and blindness. Many of the children are unwanted by their parents because some Haitians view handicaps as a curse, while others simply can’t afford the hefty bill that comes with caring for a disabled child.

“Many of the children were simply dropped off at the doorstep of the Miriam Center,” King says. “The director there has picked random birthdays on the calendar for most of the children.” read more

Not My Life

Hollywood Vs. Holywood

 Today many Christians are fed up with the immorally charged films being produced in Hollywood. And some are heeding the old adage, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Numerous churches and Christian organizations are starting to make movies and/or back films more closely aligned with their moral leanings. Check out the flicks coming to a screen near you.

 Agape International Missions, dedicated to ending child sexual slavery in Cambodia, helped produce the documentary Not My Life. Releasing next month, the film depicts the disturbing yet inspiring testimonies of survivors of the modern-day global sex-trafficking industry.






 Jumping the BroomT.D. Jakes, the megachurch pastor of The Potter’s House, releases his third film, Jumping the Broom, on May 6. The movie, which stars Hollywood elites such Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine, chronicles two families from different socioeconomic backgrounds who are being joined by marriage. 






 The Potential InsideOn DVD, former semi-pro racer Scotty Curlee stars as a veteran cyclist in The Potential Inside. Reeling from grief after a family tragedy, he is given an opportunity he doesn’t want—to train a rookie cycling prodigy. The movie’s message is “about the potential we have inside of us, in Christ, to reach our best.” read more

Dragons’ Delivering Power

Dragons’ Delivering Power

It’s not often that one walks away from a film literally transformed. But that’s exactly what happened to actor Wes Bentley after starring in There Be Dragons, which releases in theaters May 6. 

Derived from true events, There Be Dragons follows two young men who find themselves on opposite sides of the Spanish Civil War. Josemaria Escriva, a Catholic priest (played by Charlie Cox), and Manolo Torres, a bitter soldier (played by Bentley), showcase the extreme positions one can take when faced with dire circumstances. 

Escriva was named a saint in the Catholic church in 2002, and the film showcases his life of faith and forgiveness, while Bentley’s character is deceitful and selfish.  read more

How to Change the World From Your Bed

How to Change the World From Your Bed

 Dick Woodward can’t move anything below his neck. But that hasn’t prevented him from training and mentoring pastors around the world.

Despite a degenerative spinal disorder that slowly robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, the veteran pastor provides audio Bible studies and ministry-training materials through the Mini Bible College (MBC) he founded in 1974. The college offers nearly 800 programs, which have been translated into more than 25 languages and are being used in 50 nations, including India, China, Sudan and Haiti.

Strange as it may seem, Woodward, 80, believes the MBC may never have been more than an idea had he not gradually lost mobility. He was a busy pastor. He founded Virginia Beach Community Chapel—which he led for 23 years before planting Williamsburg Community Chapel—hosted a TV and a radio program, and taught weekly Bible studies. Because of his hectic schedule, he never found time to record the Bible training materials he’d been sensing God wanted him to produce since he was in seminary in the 1950s. read more

The Praises in the Persecution

The Praises in the Persecution

Though we know there is a great deal of persecution currently affecting Christians around the world, we also know that historically the church has grown—usually at a rapid rate— as a result of added pressure. 

In 1900 only 2.5 percent of the world’s population were practicing Christians. Seventy years later that number doubled to 5 percent. In 2010 the number had more than doubled and reached 12 percent in only 40 years. Talk about off-the-chart growth! read more

The Praises in the Persecution

Modeling Faith Through Cerebral Palsy

Modeling Faith Through Cerebral Palsy

Her words slur when she speaks. She has a hard time opening her hands, and the 23-year-old is only now starting to dress herself without assistance. But Megan Haught is also a model and an aspiring actress who says God is healing her of cerebral palsy, and she is determined not to allow her illness to deter her dreams.

Haught says she’s been visiting a chiropractor, but she attributes her ongoing healing to prayers she and her family have made at her church and the healing rooms she has visited.

“I’m seeing a lot of improvement and my doctors are seeing the improvement,” Haught says. Her mother, Susan Haught, clarified her speech as she continued. “I have always known about God and that He could do miracles, but I’m seeing it more now and I have more of a relationship with Him now.” read more

Hope in a box

Hope in a Box

Immediately following Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Samaritan’s Purse, along with many other Christian organizations, were on the ground in freezing temperatures to help those with little food and clean water and no electricity. The humanitarian group has already distributed more than 93 tons of emergency supplies, including 10,000 hygiene kits.

You can help too. Here’s how:


  • That God would provide supernatural comfort, peace and provision to those suffering. 
  • For wisdom and strength for volunteers and church partners.


  • Via Charisma’s nonprofit partner,  Christian Life Missions, where 100 percent of your donation goes to ministries  helping those on the ground. Call 407-333-0600 or visit for more info.


Peace In the Middle East

Peace In the Middle East

A documentary that follows a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian and an Israeli Jew’s journey to bring peace in the West Bank, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem won this year’s Reel Rose Award for Best Documentary at the John Paul II International Film Festival. 

In Little Town of Bethlehem, three men born into violence are determined to risk everything to bring peace between their respective religions. 

Director Jim Hanon says his documentary doesn’t land on one religious side but instead highlights the need for peace among religions and the biblical model of loving your enemies. 

Still, producer Mart Green, whose film company has backed other award-winners, hopes the film prompts audiences to at least ask this question: “Might love be the greatest weapon of all?” read more

Channeling Christ

Try this: Turn on your television and flip through the channels. You’re more likely to see sex, drugs and violence than you are positive images. 

“The media has helped to shape the young minds with some negative/false images of what is acceptable for a teen to feel valued in society,” says Stacey Spencer, founder of youth-oriented ministry Teen Tyme. read more

Revival Hits a Restaurant

Revival Hits a Restaurant

The Holy Spirit is on the move in the small town of Brooksville, Fla., observers say.

With the local economy in shambles—including a 17 percent unemployment rate—even the ever-popular Starbucks restaurant closed its doors. Yet the Rising Sun Café, owned by John and Lisa Callea, continues to buck the trend. 

Within a year of his conversion John arrived in Florida in 2005. He was penniless and divorced, but he remembered a message the Lord gave him in 2001: “The church is broken. It’s become a business and has forgotten Me. I will build My church in the marketplace.”  read more


Measuring The Culture

The Obama administration has revised portions of the “conscience clause,” which protected health care workers from being forced to perform procedures that conflict with their faith. The new regulations still protect medical workers’ rights not to perform abortions, but professionals can no longer refuse to provide contraception or to give in-vitro fertilization to lesbians or single women.

Inspire-Measuring-SurveyA new survey found that 61 percent of young people would like to be virgins when they get married. Another 63 percent said they would regain their virginity if it were possible, cites a OneHope survey of 5,108 teens between the ages of 13 and 18.

Inspire-Measuring-BieberSixteen-year-old pop superstar Justin Bieber (below) was outspoken about his pro-life views when featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Dubbed the “Tween evangelist” by USA Today, Bieber says he is a Christian and released a single titled “Pray” last year. His mother, Pattie Mallette, says Bieber recognizes his singing is “a gift—and a ministry.” read more

Economy down, Food Pantries up

Economy Down, Food Pantries Up

2011 began bleak. With 13 million Americans unemployed, many middle-class families had to turn to an unfamiliar source to put food on the table: the church.  

Many ministries such as Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida have recorded a 100 percent increase in the number of soup kitchens and pantries that they start to collect and distribute donated food. read more


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