Weighing about 100 pounds and facing hospitalization, award-winning vocalist Candy Christmas, former member of southern gospel group The Hemphills, says she hit rock bottom.
In 2004 her doctor, seeing Christmas’ depression was winning the war inside and out, suggested medication or admittance to a hospital. But deep inside, Christmas knew there was another way to overcome the darkness in her life.
“I knew that the Word of God says that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, and so I told my doctor ... either my religion works for me or it doesn’t, and I’m just not going to go that direction,” Christmas says. read more
Zach Hunter had always thought he should’ve been born more than 200 years ago. Heartbroken by the idea of slavery, which he says is America’s “biggest blemish,” Hunter felt he could have made a difference alongside leaders of the anti-slavery movement that included Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
That perspective changed when Hunter discovered there are millions of people in various forms of slavery in the 21st century. He knew at that moment what God was calling him to.
“I just thought, Wow, I can do something to change the world,” says Hunter, who launched the student-led Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign while in middle school. He says there are billions of dollars in change in American households alone. “Why not take something as underestimated as the teenage years and something as underestimated as loose change and see what we can do?” read more
Chef Brett Swayn believes that teaching the homeless to cook can save their lives.
Swayn says this was his experience after his marriage collapsed and his music career fell apart, causing him to live four months in a homeless shelter before he found work. He later emerged from his despair and learned a new trade in culinary arts. read more
This summer 24-year-old Brian Seeley wanted to do more than just soak up the sun on the beaches of sunny Florida. He decided to live alongside the homeless in Lakeland, Fla.
The Southeastern University senior wanted to build lasting relationships when he willingly gave up the comforts most college students enjoy by sleeping outdoors, taking bucket showers and eating with the homeless at places that offer free food. read more
You probably never thought you could help rebuild the earthquake-torn nation of Haiti by purchasing hot sauce.
Churches and other nonprofit organizations are helping to improve Haiti’s economy by purchasing a Haitian-grown pepper sauce called Haiti Is Hot! The Haitian-American-owned company Bel Soley sells the sauce to churches and organizations that commit to using some of the resale profits to aid Haitian families in need. read more
If the Iranian government knew Christians were learning how to grow a church in the middle of their Muslim nation, the converts could lose their freedom—or worse, their lives.
But that hasn’t stopped pastors with the underground church in Iran from secretly attending classroom sessions led by Dave Anderson, a founder and longtime trainer for EQUIP, the organization led by Christian leadership guru John Maxwell. read more
Sharon Norris Elliott says that women often imprison themselves in the cares of this world by not slowing down to relax and pray.
As a result, Elliott, founder and CEO of Life That Matters Ministries, began Milk & Honey Life Retreats—spa vacations for Christian women who need some time to unwind, think and ultimately hear from God. read more
When kids in Roatán, Honduras, join a soccer team, the odds of them becoming involved in drugs, premarital sex and street violence decreases. That’s because the CAN Fútbol Foundation (CANFF) uses the sport for more than recreation. It has become a way to promote education and social change among more than 150 underprivileged youth living on the island.
“There’s so much poverty in Honduras, and I realized I could use soccer to not only keep these kids active, but also as a vehicle to motivate them to do better in school,” says executive director and co-founder Jason Old, a former soccer player with the Honduran National Fútbol League. read more
Assemblies of God missionary and former pastor Scott Bush travels on his Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic ministering to hundreds of bikers at festivals throughout the country. His way of telling people how much Jesus loves them: help them find out how truly dysfunctional they are. Read on ...
CHARISMA: What drew you to the biker crowd?
Scott Bush: I’ve ridden a motorcycle since I was 18 years old; I’m now 48 years old. In 1991 I started working with bikers, going to motorcycle rallies and sharing the gospel with people. It was incredible. They showed up at my house and wanted to start a Bible study. So my wife and I ended up starting one. I had no desire to be a pastor or to be an evangelist. But more and more people came, and we ended up starting a church. My wife and I pastored a biker church for seven years in Orlando, Fla., and as I was pastoring I realized how dysfunctional these people were. I went to college and got my undergraduate in behavioral science so that I could better understand who I was ministering to.
CHARISMA:You’ve got to admit, calling a biker dysfunctional is an interesting way to start a conversation about Christ.
Bush: Currently we’ve been using a wheel of dysfunction [to draw people]. It’s a game that we play with the bikers. They walk by our booth and we ask them if they’d like to take a personality test or check for dysfunctions they may have. They laugh, but they’ll also usually walk over and spin the wheel.
On the wheel there are many dysfunctions. One is a funny one—it’s “Goofball.” Another one is “Histrionic,” which means a person is a drama queen, and another one is “Borderline Psychotic.” The bikers are interested in getting the worst diagnosis the wheel can produce. There’s only a 1-in-13 chance that they’ll land on “Normal.”
CHARISMA: No Pat Sajak or Vanna White, huh? So what happens after the bikers spin the wheel of dysfunction?
Bush: From there everyone gets a big laugh, their friends will point and laugh, and then their friends may spin the wheel. After that we’ll invite them to come into the booth to get their free prize.
We’ll then go through the salvation message in a couple minutes telling them about heaven, telling them about sin, telling them about the blood of Jesus and talking to them about salvation.
CHARISMA: Your team visits both small and large bike festivals—sometimes with up to 1,500 people. What type of response do you typically get from bikers at these festivals?
Bush:Most of the response is very good. We usually get 1 out of 4 people [to say the prayer of salvation]. If a biker says, “I don’t want to pray that prayer,” I say, “That’s great—let me tell you about God’s plan for our lives.” If they respond yes, then we pray the prayer of salvation. From there we’ll hand them a pocket Bible. We give them another card which explains what they just heard and all the Scriptures so that they can be reminded of them.
CHARISMA:What’s your biggest challenge when ministering at bike festivals?
Bush: One of our biggest challenges is not having enough people to work the booth. By the time you’ve spun the wheel, gone through the plan of salvation, prayed with the person and had them fill out a follow-up card, it can be timely.
CHARISMA:Sharing the gospel with a tough crowd is right up your alley, isn’t it?
Bush: Yes. My hobby was riding motorcycles, and God used my hobby to minister to those that I would come in contact with in that arena. read more