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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

 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

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

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

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:

PRAY:

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

GIVE:

  • 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 christianlifemissions.com for more info.

GO:

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

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

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

Healing on the High Seas

Don and Deyon Stephens know how to dream big. In 1978 they imagined launching a ship that would provide medical care to the poor in undeveloped nations. Thirty-three years later, Mercy Ships, the ministry the couple founded, has expanded that vision to include the world’s largest charity hospital ship. 

“Jesus clearly, in the New Testament, gave us the great commandment and the Great Commission, so those are the bookends of Mercy Ships,” Don says. “Those are the two compass points that have helped me develop Mercy Ships.” read more

Filming a Wave of Faith

When Bethany Hamilton decided to hit the waves on Oct. 31, 2003, she had no idea one ride would forever change her life. Attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, the then-13-year-old surfer lost her left arm and 60 percent of her blood. But according to Hamilton, she also gained an understanding of her purpose.

Hamilton not only returned to the surfboard but won several championships. She now travels the country telling others how her faith in Christ helped her overcome her challenging circumstance.  read more

How Little Tubes Fill Big Wells

Every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related sickness. The Passion movement is doing something about that. In April, the ministry will host its second Do Something Now event of 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas, with one goal: to marry worship and justice. 

Passion conferences draw thousands of young people every year to pray, worship, and give time and money to causes such as funding wells in India or clothing the homeless. To illustrate the amount of wells being built in India, students are encouraged to pour water into tubes to represent what they give monetarily. At Passion’s January event in Atlanta, students gave more than $75,000 to purchase 24 wells. Overall, the conference brought in more than $1.1 million for charities. Passion leaders are hoping to provide even more wells next month. read more

Both Sides of the Coin

“It seems to me that if the primary view of sanctification comes through simplicity, poverty, suffering, [then] if you don’t get those things it’s almost like when God blesses it’s hard to be sanctified because you don’t know what to do with it. What if God wants to sanctify you through not poverty but generosity, not suffering but blessing; and what if it’s not through simplicity but complexity?”


Mark Driscoll, who questioned Francis Chan’s decision to leave his megachurch and give away everything last year. Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, suggested Chan might be following the “theology of poverty,” a belief that he says is just as detrimental as the prosperity gospel.

 

 

 

Inspire-FrancisChan“I believe it’s motivated by love and a desire to be Christ-like; I don’t want to suffer needlessly or just to suffer. To me, the core issue here has to be love. I think in times of prosperity, for me, I look at Scripture and go: ‘Wow, this is awesome. Look at this great-selling book, all this money. What do I want to do? I want to give it to the people who need it.’ I get excited about that.” 

 
Francis Chan, who says he did not needlessly give away his money or step down from his church but was striving to be like Christ read more

Inspiration From the Twittersphere

Rick Warren If a ministry is God-anointed, it doesn’t matter who criticizes it. If it’s not anointed, it doesn’t matter who praises it. 

 

 

 

Inspire-JoyceMeyerJoyce Meyer The Word is like medicine, but it is most effective when applied properly. If I have a headache, I don’t put a Band-Aid on my head.

 

 

 

Inspire-BrianHoustonBrian Houston Serving sacrifices self, because self doesn’t want to serve. LIVE to serve. DIE to self!

 

 

 

Inspire-CindyTrimmCindy Trimm Did you know that procrastination is a sign of fear?

 

 

 

Inspire-RobertMorrisRobert Morris A little faith will bring our soul to heaven. Great faith will bring heaven to our soul.

 

 

 


News By Numbers

 

3% of teenagers from age 13 to 17 say that Jesus Christ is their role model

Barna Group

 

49% of Americans say the lack of civility in American politics is a 
“very serious problem” 

 PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey

  read more

Extreme Makeover: Missionary Edition

Joe Hurston and his family know about giving. Hurston has given his life to missionary work in Haiti since 1978, living in the poorest conditions. But this year the tables turned and the longtime missionary family is learning how to receive.

Last year, while the family was away on a missions trip, a plumbing problem caused pipes to burst and flood their Florida home. For almost a year, Hurston and his wife, Cindy, and their three youngest children—Joliet, 17, Peter, 12, and Dieunika, 4—lived in an RV camper. 

Hurston was recently working on his mission plane at Tico Airport in Titusville, Fla., when another small aircraft landed on the runway. Inside was Ty Pennington, designer and host of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, who gave him the news that his family had been selected to receive a new home.   read more

Las Vegas Liberator

For 16 years, Annie Lobért was known at various times as a prostitute, high-class escort and stripper. At the age of 18, Lobért willingly entered the sex industry as a rebellious and curious teenager, only to be sex-trafficked later into a life of coercion and threats—and utter misery.

“Ninety percent of prostitutes are sex-trafficked,” says Lobért, who finally broke free from the industry, became a Christian and now lives to help others who want to get out. 

She says people don’t understand that although many women enter the industry on their own free will, they eventually lose control of their lives: “In the end, you’re trafficked.”  read more

News by the Numbers

20 - Pastor Rick Warren‘s rank on the list of most influential Twitter celebrities. With around 220,000 Twitter followers, the Purpose Driven Life author was among the likes of the Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber, who led the Forbes list. 

 

5 % of those who made New Year’s resolutions for 2011 resolved to improve their connection with God, according to a survey from the Barna Group.

 

56% of the new, 112th Congress identify themselves as Protestant, according to a recent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life analysis.

 

33% of people who attend church weekly and have three to five “church friends” say they are “extremely satisfied” with life. This compares with only 19 percent of people who attend church but don’t have close church friends, reports a study released in the American Sociological Review. read more

A Pink Cross For Jesus

 Former stripper and porn star Shelley Lubben found herself making X-rated films in the multibillion-dollar sex industry by the time she turned 24. 

Known then as “Roxy,” Lubben starred in more than 30 films, her success fueled by the rage she built up from being abused as a child and teenager. 

“‘You’re dead to me,’” Lubben recalls her father telling her when he kicked her out after high school. “When he said those words to me, the demonic spirits entered me, and I was never the same.”  read more

From Bouncer To Preacher

Stovall Weems, a pastor who once fully embraced the partying lifestyle, now lives to reach the lost and help people passionately pursue God


 

Stovall Weems, the pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Fla., is demonstrating his passion for Christ in word and deed. As a result, he’s fueling the fire of not only his congregation but also of those around the world.

Though Weems was not raised in the church, today he and his wife, Kerri, are seeing the church they founded become one of the largest and fastest-growing in America. Weems says he is driven by his passion for the local church and reaching people.  read more

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