When preparing for her latest release, Waking Up, singer-songwriter Bethany Dillon found inspiration in the simplest of places. During a brief break, the 19-year-old writer of hit singles such as "Beautiful" and "All I Need" woke up one morning "overwhelmed in a good way by the reality of Jesus in my life," she says. "I've grown up in the church and I feel like I'm constantly reciting and believing these things. But that morning was one of the first times it really hit me, like a kick in the stomach, that I have something I didn't earn." Dillon says she wrote a song about her grace awakening as a way of saying thanks. "I didn't intend it to be on the record. I was just freaking out over Jesus."
Millions of people worldwide struggle with addiction, and this month Just Pray No (www.justprayno.org) is hosting its 17th annual weekend of prayer for the addicted April 14-15 to intercede for them. They are praying that:
Thousands of students are expected to participate in the third annual
Day of Truth, a national student-led event to be held April 19 that
seeks to counter the promotion of the "homosexual agenda." Sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the event was launched in 2005 after school officials disciplined San Diego student Chase Harper for wearing a T-shirt condemning homosexuality during the school's observance of the gay-affirming Day of Silence. Last year's Day of Truth drew nearly 3,000 students, and ADF expects more participation this year. Harper's case awaits action by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Paul Steven Ghiringhelli
FAITH & POLITICS
A charismatic chaplain is the latest Christian embroiled in legal battles with the U.S. Navy, which is contesting allegations of discrimination in its chaplain corps. Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt was forced out of the service in January after being court-martialed last fall for praying in front of the White House in uniform. His ouster became official on March 1 after an appeals court reviewed the case. Klingenschmitt has long advocated that chaplains be allowed to pray in Jesus' name. Formerly endorsed by the Evangelical Episcopal Church, Klingenschmitt is now affiliated with the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches. The Dallas-based organization has eight chaplains among 66 involved in a series of lawsuits stretching back to 1999. The Rutherford Institute is representing Klingenschmitt, saying the military violated his First Amendment rights.
Mario and Mechelle Murillo remarried after 14 years apart
He calls it the greatest miracle in the 38-year history of his ministry—a story of "love lost and reborn." California-based evangelist Mario Murillo has renewed his wedding vows with his former wife, Mechelle, after a 1992 divorce and 14 years spent apart. "This entire experience has been heaven on earth," he told Charisma in January, one year after his remarriage. "We are still walking in a sort of dream state."
Murillo says he brought "the stress of success" home and took it out on his wife. She eventually "ran for her life," he says, taking their 4-year-old son and eventually marrying a man Murillo calls a "false prophet."
Meanwhile, after gaining primary custody of their son, Murillo also remarried. But his new wife eventually left him to marry another man. After the divorce, Murillo says the Holy Spirit gave him a burden to pray every day for Mechelle. "I saw how deeply I failed Mechelle," he says. "I only prayed for a chance to say that I was sorry and to encourage her to be with her son."
When the man Mechelle married abruptly died of a stroke, Murillo says, "the scales fell off Mechelle's eyes." Months later, he and Mechelle went on a date. The couple moved slowly, submitted to premarital counseling, and once remarried kept news of it low-key in order to protect their "tender love," Murillo says.
Murillo says he and his wife are "stunned by the sovereign power of God." Today he urges Christians to "call for a red alert" when their marriages are under attack. "You take drastic action to shut everything down to get to the root of what is threatening your marriage," he says. "No amount of money, time or reputation spent on rescuing your marriage can compare to the horrors of divorce."
Paul Steven Ghiringhelli