Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Are Capable of Far More Than You Think

by Bradley J. Moore

I remember the first time I spoke in front of a large audience. The arrangements had been made months in advance, at which time it sounded enticing, even glamorous.
Truthfully, I was far more interested in the idea of me as a speaker, rather than concerning myself with the pesky details of the event itself. Besides, how hard could it be, to talk about something you know in front of a group of strangers?
But walking in to the cavernous auditorium that morning, it suddenly dawned on me: I have not quite thought this through. My dry mouth hung open as I gazed around the theatre, ultimately fixing my eyes on the enormous stage looming up front.
“Are you sure this is the right room?” I nervously checked in with my host. He just smiled and gave me a thumbs-up, while hundreds of people filed in to fill up the seats. The delicate little butterflies in my stomach now turned into violent, wrenching badgers, desperately trying to claw their way out.
I managed to complete the twenty-minute presentation without losing control of any major bodily functions, exiting to lackluster applause. I then proceeded directly to my hotel room, whereupon I curled up into a fetal position for the next two hours.
They say that, for most people, the fear of public speaking is worse than the fear of death, and I can see why. My talk was a disaster, and I wanted nothing more than to just hide out for a few months until the laughter died down.
But, of course, I didn’t do that. I eventually got up, splashed some cold water on my face, and headed down to re-join the conference proceedings.
Someone told me once that fear goes hand in hand with faith and fulfillment. In other words, you can’t accomplish anything worthwhile for God - or for anyone, for that matter -  without taking risks and facing some anxiety along the way. The thing is, I really wanted to learn how to become a good public speaker in spite of my fear, because it would help me progress professionally.
Plus, deep down, I knew I had this dormant, untapped potential to do better.
Rather than let the unpleasant experience hijack the rest of my career, I instead decided to attack it head on. I somehow managed to slink out another speaking engagement a few months later, and this time I was determined to be better prepared. I wrote out a script and memorized it, then practiced it in front of an invisible audience over and over and over again.
When the big day of the presentation finally came, I was nervous, but I nailed it. The audience clapped loud and hard, as I recall, and a small crowd even lingered afterwards.
That second talk, it turns out, changed my life. It opened doors to more speaking and consulting gigs, which led to a new job, and then an even better one after that. Who knows the self-imposed limitations I would have otherwise lived with, had I indulged a crippling fear?
It’s counter-intuitive to think that pressing into our own terror is the source of good things to come. But the more we go out on a limb and try new things, the more successes we’ll have, and the more confident we'll become about our capabilities. Our potential is likely far more than what we belive we are capable of.
I like how Eleanor Roosevelt says it: “Try one thing every day that terrifies you.” After a while you just get used to the idea of being nervous, anxious, and even terrified sometimes. It’s nothing to be afraid of.
Image by Matthew. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Bradley J. Moore.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Thousands Seek God's Forgiveness in South Asia

    Gene Strickland at South Asia Crusade

    CHESAPEAKE, Va., Nov. 28, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Gene Strickland, the head of Evangelism International, recently travelled to South Asia to preach in several days of Gospel Crusades. People came by the thousands to learn the simple yet profound truth that God loves them and desires an eternal relationship with them. The crusades produced 3,420 decisions as lost people accepted God's free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ!

    Strickland was also able to hold an all-day training seminar for 150 pastors. These pastors, and the local churches, are the means by which new Christians are made into fully devoted followers of Christ. Just six years ago, on the very spot where Gene preached one night, a local pastor was beheaded for daring to preach that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. In other areas nearby, human sacrifice is still practiced as a way to appease the gods. As foreign as this sounds to western ears, it is the very reason evangelists like Gene must go and deliver a message of how to have peace with God.

    In poor areas like south Asia, there is much sickness amid the poverty stricken living conditions. At the end of each night of a crusade, people come forward for prayer. In discussing this with his translator, Gene explained that the people would see, by answered prayers, God is the one True God and their idols of wood and stone are nothing.

    Hear their own words:

      "I am Sumari, a 43 year old woman who was suffering with Dengue Fever. Doctors said my blood platelets were below 10,000 and I would die. I was brought to the Crusades, heard the message of Jesus, and God completely healed me!"

      "My name is Saju. I had been in severe pain with swollen joints for over 5 years. It was so bad that at one point I wanted to kill myself. I tried all the treatments and medications but received no help, relief or improvement. After attending the crusades and having the evangelist pray for me, I am completely healed. No pain or joint swelling anywhere in my body."
      "I am Kallayya, a 45 year old man. I fell from a tree 5 years ago and had been bedridden after injuring my spinal cord. Doctors said I would never walk again. I was brought to the Crusades and laid on the floor of a nearby building. God touched me through the preaching of His Word. I am completely healed and am able to go to the fields for work."
    Over 400 miracles were affirmed by a local Christian surgeon and the churches have begun the process of baptizing new believers and making disciples. The crusade ministry of Evangelism International travels the globe to preach the great news of God's redemptive love.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Don’t Stress about Christmas: An interview with Mark D. Roberts | The High Calling

    Don’t Stress about Christmas: An interview with Mark D. Roberts | The High Calling: "Mark Roberts is the author of our Daily Reflections here at The High Calling and the new ebook Rediscovering Advent from Patheos. He is also one of the leaders of Foundations for Laity Renewal, the parent organization that funds and manages several fantastic Christian programs including The High Calling. Mark is a good friend, a good leader, and one of my primary professional mentors (second to Dan Roloff).
    And Mark is a complete fanboy about Advent.
    Last week, we spoke with Mark about his new ebook Rediscovering Advent and staying focused during the mania of the Christmas season."


    Friday, November 25, 2011 Christian Ministry Aims to ‘Help. Love. Jesus.’,

    NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) -- Can a Christian web site help save souls? One site -- -- believes it can and is a Christian ministry on a revolutionary mission to lead people to Jesus.

    Dave Christian is an award-winning, former U.S. Marine sergeant, Iraq War veteran, and founder
    The foundational Scripture verse of is, “Our help is in the name of the LORD ...” (Psalm 124:8 NKJV). The ministry's mission is to, “Glorify God as we ‘help. love. Jesus,’ and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible by prayerfully answering The Question: Lord Jesus, ‘What's the most helpful & simplest way that works?’ (James 1:5 NKJV).”

    The web site lists “FREE Top Help” with many no-cost resources, including: www.211us.orgAmerican HeritageSeries (; Apologetics Index (;;;

    GotQuestions?org (; Helpology TV (; JESUS Film Project (; One Year Bible Online (; Rock Music Exposed (; Setting Captives Free(; and Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011 (

    Helpology features a purposeful, Christ-centered logo - a red, white, and blue heart with a white cross in its center. The heart symbolizes God the Father's love, and the cross is for God the Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, living in our hearts once we're saved by faith in His Holy Name. White is for God the Holy Spirit living in our hearts and surrounding us with His Love. Red is for the Blood of Jesus, which washes away our sins, when we turn from our sins and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone. And blue is for the water of baptism, which is an outward sign of an inward change.

    The following verses describe the biblical meaning of the logo: “...God has sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts ...” (Galatians 4:6 NKJV). “... the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit ...” (Romans 5:5 NKJV). “...that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith ... being rooted and grounded in love ...” (Ephesians 3:17-18 NKJV).

    When you donate to the ministry, you help create Christian jobs, and 10% of all proceeds are given to various evangelical Christian ministries to help share the Good News of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible to help fulfill the Great Commission commanded by Jesus. was founded by Dave Christian, a Bible-believing, Evangelical Christian. Christian's vision is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by creating the most helpful service of all time. For more information, visit

    ** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

    The Dark Side of the High Calling

    by Marcus Goodyear

    Do you know about the dark side of The High Calling? No, Darth Vader isn’t one of our editors, nor any of the other Star Wars bad guys.
    But there is a dark side to every good thing when we twist it and wrench it into an idol.
    The High Calling has a simple mission to encourage people that their work matters. Sometimes we say it like this: God cares about your work. And he does. He created us to work from the beginning. Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world, and this means our work is not a curse. Being human includes working in the world: moving dirt around, planting seeds, shuffling papers, answering emails, grading tests, seeing patients, defending plaintiffs, marketing products, raising children, and all the things all of us do every day.
    Sometimes, though, we want work more than we want anything else. Sometimes, we find so much purpose and meaning in our work that we get confused. We think work is our only purpose. We take something good and twist it into an idol.
    There have been times in my life, like last week, when I am on the edge of falling into this confusion. I begin to find my sense of value and worth in my ability to work well. I start to think more highly of myself and my work than I should. My work is such a high calling, I think to myself, that it is a higher calling than that guy’s work over there, the one who is just doodling during the meetings, and that gal who is obviously reading something on her phone instead of paying attention.
    I really think like this sometimes. And I suspect other people do too.
    This arrogance leads to dissatisfaction with myself and with others. Pretty soon, I’m complaining about someone who didn’t finish a project on schedule or someone else who is isn’t working as hard as I think I am working. Pretty soon, I’m judging others in the worst kind of way.
    But there is a simple solution: gratitude and thankfulness.
    David Rupert shared about this earlier in the week when he dared to thank God for his crummy job. Rather than focus on negativity, he emphasizes the positive. It can all sound a little too Pollyanna-ish, at times, but that doesn’t make it less true or less effective.
    am thankful for my job, and it’s not even a crummy job. I am thankful for my boss who is not a crummy boss at all. I am thankful for my coworkers and editors and writers and readers. I am thankful for my family and my children and my community. I am thankful for theater and poetry, for turkey dinners and apple pie, for dogs, for poems, for zombies (it’s true!), for coffee, for the Kindle Fire (which I just got), for the iPhone (which I still don’t have but it’s cool and I’m thankful for it).
    We try not to get too preachy around here, but Psalm 95 comes to mind. I think of it as the Psalm of Thanksgiving.
    Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
    Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
    The Psalm is not all straightforward happy praise and thanks, though. It’s true that the first seven verses read like a big sunny group hug between God and Israel.
    Then it turns.
    God steps in with a warning. “Do not harden your hearts,” he says, like the Israelites in the wilderness. Their hearts went astray, and God became angry with them for complaining and swore they would never enter his rest.
    That’s the dark side: a place of no rest. When we harden our hearts and fall into a spirit of complaint about our work and our family and our life, we cannot enter into God’s rest.
    But when we approach the high calling of our work with gratitude and thanksgiving, we understand thatGod in our work is the meaning and purpose, and the rest of God becomes ours in abundance.
    Image by Neil Williams. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by Marcus Goodyear, Senior Editor for Foundations for Laity Renewal.

      Thursday, November 24, 2011

      VIDEO: How Can the Church More Effectively Engage With People?

      by The High Callin...

      Marlon Hall, the Cultural Architecture for The Awakenings Movement, spoke with us at a Laity Lodge vocational retreat in 2011 about how the church can more effectively engage culture. Too often, Marlon explains, churches are asking questions that nobody is asking. His reflection about meaning and purpose is part of our new video series "60 Seconds to Signficance." 
      Watch the short video, and let us know in the comments: How do you think the Church is best at engaging people?

      Monday, November 21, 2011

      Jesus Smells Like Murphy's Oil Soap

      I don’t know why I came.
      Many reasons, I suppose—obligation, guilt, habit.
      Whatever it is, I give up my Saturday morning for it. Meet this ragtag group to pitch in and clean up our church. I drag the boys along too—tell my husband something about building character, about how they need to learn to give back.
      Now, my twelve-almost-thirteen stands beside me, both arms pulled inside his t-shirt.
      Haven’t I felt the chill inside this sanctuary?
      He looks glumly at me with that expression that causes my jaw to clench. The blood pressure creeps up. I know he is waiting for me to tell him what to do. Exactly what to do. And I wonder to myself for the millionth time, just when does initiation kick in?
      The answer appears in front of me in shape of his younger brother. The small one struggles underneath a heavy pew cushion. It’s his nature to help, to jump right in and recognize what needs doing. Big brother needs more direction.
      I dip the rag into the bucket of cleaning solution, demonstrate what to do and try to ignore the irritation. I break it down slowly: the dipping of rag, wringing out, moving of it across the wood.
      He just stands there. Stares. He doesn’t want this job. It will require him to remove his arms from his shirt.
      And it’s too cold.
      Someone is running the vacuum and the noise is so loud we have to shout to hear each other. I excuse myself and stand alone in the hall. I lean against the wall and breathe. What is wrong with me? Why is this getting to me so much?
      I don’t have to dig deep to find the answer.
      I have struggled to love this church. In the past few years there have been too many hurtful words, too much resistance to my husband’s ministry, too much of what Jesus hates.
      I feel little affection for these walls. I have watched fledgling faith wings be clipped by words and actions of supposedly “mature” Christians. I have felt the weight of their judgment. All these months and no apologies. There is to be no righting of these wrongs. Not on this side of eternity.
      But here we are, our entire family giving up our free morning together to do more church work. I can’t help noting that “those” people are not doing the same.
      I wonder if it is time to leave. Haven’t we tried? Three long years and still we fight. I am tired.
      I feel the beginnings of bitterness begin to creep into my heart and it is like poison entering my body. Just the tiniest drop and it moves through my blood like a virus--I feel helpless to stop it. I feel so helpless.
      Am I?
      Jesus help me.
      There’s nothing for it. I must set the example, after all. I do what a mature Christian does. I go back into the sanctuary and continue wiping down pews. The boys are removing all the hymnals and Bibles from their pockets, making the path straight for my washing. It’s a good job for them--keeps them moving. They stack the books up on the floor—sacred word-towers.
      I dip, wring, wipe. I am rubbing away the dirt.
      In this rhythm the virus slows. I feel the tension in my jaw and shoulders release. The air smells clean and something tugs at the strings of my heart. This scent—this oily lemony aroma—stirs a memory. I close my eyes and let the memory have a face. This gleaming wood under my hand speaks a forgotten story. I begin to sing under cover of the hum of vacuum.  There is beauty here. There is beauty under my hands.
      I pick up some gum wrappers. Find a small plastic animal. It makes me smile. I think of the individuals who sit in these pews. Faces come to mind--faces of those I love. This plain piece of wood has cradled a broken and bruised body. This plain piece of wood has been the only place of healing…the only place of unity.
      My wiping becomes caress and I remember. This morning, hands dripping with Murphy’s Oil Soap, I remember.
      And love grows between these walls.

      Image by Claire Burge. Used with permission. Post by Laura J. Boggess.

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      ‘Honey, we’re going to Africa”

      By Dan Wooding
      Founder of ASSIST Ministries

      SAN DIEGO, CA (ANS) -- It was back in the late 1940s when recently-wed American, Harvey T. Hoekstra, bounced through the door of his home and light heartedly announced to his new bride Lavina, “Honey, we’re going to Africa!”

      Cover of book written by Harvey about his life
      Harvey, who on Sunday, November 20, 2011 celebrates his 91st birthday, told me, “Well it didn’t happen at the door, but it led to constant conversation and to that sleepless night when we got out of bed, knelt down together and committed our lives to obey God’s call to Africa.

      “The verse of Scripture the Lord gave us was from Matthew 28:20b ‘… and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’

      “There were only eleven passengers on that freighter when, on July 2, 1948, Lavina, our two sons Denny aged five and a half, 3 month old, Jimmy and I started our journey to Africa. It’s been an extraordinary journey.”
      Fascinated to learn more, I discovered from Harvey that his story began on November 20, 1920 when he was born into a Christian home on a farm near Maple Lake, Minnesota -- 55 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

      “When I was fourteen years going on fifteen, I spent 45 days in a small hospital having three life threatening major abdominal surgeries resulting from a ruptured appendix,” he said.

      “During those hospital experiences I came to know Jesus as my Savior and Lord. During those days I said in my heart, ‘If God spares my life, someday I’ll try to be a preacher.’”

      Harvey went on to graduate from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a Cum Laude degree. That same fall, he began my theological studies at Western Theological Seminary.

      Harvey and Lavina
      “While still in college, I had married a beautiful gal, Lavina Irene Hoffman,” he went on. “During my last year in school, Don McClure, a red headed, rash, religious United Presbyterian missionary on furlough from the Sudan spoke at our seminary morning chapel service. He shared his vision to reach an entire tribe with the gospel. He said that he was looking for a Bible translator. He later encouraged me to consider being that person.

      “Then there was that night when sleep eluded us. In the middle of the night, Lavina and I both got out of bed and were together on our knees seeking the Lord’s guidance. That night we made our commitment to go to Africa with that promise from the Bible that I talked about earlier.

      “Two years later, in Africa, sleeping in our mud-walled, grass roofed house with just mosquito netting over the windows, we were awakened by the roaring of a nearby lion. We were glad for the Lord’s promise.

      “And now with my 91st birthday approaching, when I stop and reflect, I truly marvel at what God has done in us and through us. I have often said, ‘He wields a might blow with a crooked stick’. Lavina and I were both people of very humble origins but by God’s grace and mercy He choose to do extraordinary things in us, for us, and through us to bless others.

      “People who know me best note my health and vigor in spite of the many serious injuries, illnesses and surgeries I have had during our years in Africa. I, myself, sometimes feel that I am a walking miracle.”

      Harvey said that life in Africa wasn’t always easy.

      Lavina Hoekstra at her first house In Ethiopia
      “I marvel at the wonderful way my dear wife, Lavina coped with extraordinary challenges, living under unusually difficult circumstances. Many people who know our story wonder how Lavina could have done it,” he stated.

      “We were in the South Sudan from 1948 until 1962. With two African team members, we reduced the language to writing and translated the entire NT in the Anuak language.

      “In 1962 we were expelled from the Sudan. On the small MAF plane that fetched us was a small parcel. When I opened it, I saw five brand new, beautifully printed copies of the Anuak New Testament I had translated. The other 995 copies were with the Bible Society in Khartoum.”

      Harvey said that he will always remember what one of the Christian leaders said as he and Lavina said their farewell before boarding the plane.

      He said, “We don’t know why our government is sending you away, but we want you to know that you are leaving behind God’s best gift. You have given us His word in our language.”

      Harvey added, “Let God be thanked and praised. We spent the next eighteen months living and working in several different African countries. And then, after eighteen months of waiting and uncertainty, we finally moved to Ethiopia.

      Baby Paul on horseback
      “Several weeks after an exploratory trek into the rain forest, Lavina and our 3 ½ year old little boy named Paul started our trek from a town called Teppi to where we would begin our ministry. I can scarcely describe the challenges and difficulties we experienced those ten days on the trail.

      “When we finally arrived, by previous arrangement, the small Mission Aviation Fellowship plane flew over us and made two air drops with supplies. As darkness fell we came upon an open sided stick shack where a Majang man was sitting beside a fire. We decided to spend the night sleeping on the wet ground beside that shack.

      “I still didn’t speak a word of the Majang language. In the morning the local chief and some 25 curious men showed up to help us. By nightfall our stick house, in which we lived for many months, was finished except for its grass roof.

      “We gradually understood and spoke their language. When the cassette recorder and players came on the market, we recorded the essential truths about Jesus on cassette. Each cassette made sense in one hearing.

      “The Majang forest people came in from far and wide. I believe theirs was a curiosity born of the Holy Spirit. They were curious to see these white people, their horses and the way we were felling trees, clearing an area so the plane could eventually land.

      “At an appropriate moment, we sat together on the hillside and listened to this voice from the box speaking in their own language telling the good news about Jesus. Some would spontaneously muse softly, saying in their own language, ‘I hear you.’ Another might say, ‘That is no lie’ and And still another common response was, ‘It is true.’

      These non-literate people, wearing leaves and grass, frequently asked to take the player with them that others might hear also. Even before there were believers, these cassette players were being carried far and wide by the Majang.”

      Harvey then recalled one unforgettable day, when a young, teen-aged Christian girl, Argem, came back from her mother’s village two hours up river.
      Argem bringing the first knotted string
      In her bag she had a grass string on which there were thirteen knots and speaking in her own language, she shared her story saying, “I’ve been in my mother’s village. When I played my ‘radioni’ (their name for the cassette player) I would tell them, I haven’t been to school so I cannot speak like this radioni, but I know that what it is saying is true because I am a person of this Jesus.”

      She said, “They would ask me to play it again. And before I left there were 13 women who said they wanted me to make a grass string and to tie a knot on it to indicate that they, too, wanted to become a person of Jesus.”

      “As time went on we saw numerous such knotted strings the Majang brought in after playing the ‘radioni’ in their villages,” said Harvey. “We lived among the Majang a little over a dozen years. During that time we had a daily clinic, a school for children and several work projects like teaching them how to plant and grow coffee and how to grow bananas. Etc.

      “From the cassette players carried by the Majang, the gospel was being widely heard throughout the forest, but there probably were not more than two or three hundred baptized believers when we left them for the last time in 1976. It was several years before explosive growth occurred.
      “The Holy Spirit was mightily at work. Pagan practices came to an end. Today, instead of leaves and grass they are clothed. Schools are in many locations. We hear reports of some who are students in the University in Addis Ababa. Reports tell of numerous miraculous healings. We were told that the entire tribe no long suffers from tropical ulcers. Deaths now are occasions for singing and joy rather than despair and fear. They estimate as many as 26,000 Christians in a population of 30,000 Majang.”

      Eventually, the couple left Ethiopia in 1976 and Harvey completed his graduate studies at Fuller’s School of World Mission in Pasadena, California.

      “Lavina and I established our home in Southern California,” he went on to say. “We traveled overseas four to six months every year. We established recording ministry centers in other countries in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia and beyond.

      A Talking Bible
      “In 1989 I founded a donor supported ministry, based in CA, and identified it as Audio Scriptures International (now Talking Bibles International). My son, Mark, joined the ministry and later designed the world’s first Talking Bible. His brother Paul used his connections in India to have it manufactured there.
      “The Talking Bible was designed to be easy for non-literate, oral-culture people to use. It gives non-readers the same access to the translated Scriptures as is enjoyed by all who read.

      “Last year I retired as chairman of our Board and the ministry is in the capable hands of two of my sons, Mark and Paul.

      “My precious wife and inseparable missionary partner, passed away in May of last year. She was God’s gift to me and we had each other for 68 incredible years in sickness and in health, in dangers and in safety.”

      The huge banner in Teppi
      Earlier this year, after 35 years, several family members and Harvey were able to return to Ethiopia.

      “To make such a trip at my age was a formidable challenge,” he said. “Only God could have made it happen. When the Caravan aircraft flew us into Teppi, landing on a grass airstrip some 400 miles SW of Addis Ababa, we were amazed to see anywhere from five to ten thousand Majangir out there to welcome me back. It was unbelievable.

      “Near the town hall we saw a huge banner with a photo of Lavina and me. It read, “THE HOEKSTRAS – WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU FOR YOU LED US TO ETERNAL LIFE.” It was humbling to see and brought tears of emotion to realize what God had done.

      “We dedicated 200 Talking Bibles in a huge gathering that took place in the town hall where at least 2,000 were inside with many outside unable to find room. When I spoke, I quoted where Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me will no longer walk in darkness.’ Hearing those words, they began to clap with thanks and praise to God.

      “God gave me a privilege beyond anything I deserve or could have anticipated. After 35 years He enabled me to see what He had done among a people He had determined to bless. To God be all the praise and glory!”

      If you would like to contact Harvey Hoekstra, his e-mail address is: and the website to go to is:

      Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.

      ** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

      Wednesday, November 9, 2011

      New Book Tackles Subject of Sexual Sin and How One Can be Restored

      ORLANDO, Nov. 9, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Signalman Publishing is proud to announce the paperback release, and ebook distribution, for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook and Apple iBookstore, of "Restoration NOW! God's Plan for Inner Healing and Deliverance" by Nancy L. Eskijian, Senior Pastor of Bread of Life Foursquare Gospel Church in Los Angeles, California.

      In the many years that the author has served as a pastor, she has seen many people trapped in limited lives, bound by the effects of sin (sometimes generationally), and damaged by emotional wounds. Through her ministry and careful study of scripture, the author was led to write this book to provide believers practical tools to overcome the past, experience ongoing freedom and healing, as well as present a pattern for continual growth and living in Christ. The Seven Levels of Cleansing and Restoration at the heart of this book take the reader through the seven vitally important dimensions of change, healing and deliverance for restoration of the soul from a scriptural and practical standpoint. This book also unfolds a compassionate, Biblical, and healing approach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. "Restoration NOW!" is literally a roadmap for the soul.

      "Restoration NOW!" is a detailed resource on the ministry of inner healing and deliverance for ministers and lay persons to enable believers to reclaim their intended identity, inheritance, and purpose in Christ. 

      "Restoration NOW!" (ISBN: 978-1-935991-13-7, $14.99, Non-fiction/Christianity) from indie book publisher Signalman, is distributed through Amazon, Barnes &, and the Apple iBookstore and is available for order wherever fine books are sold.

      About Nancy Eskijian
      Nancy Eskijian has served for over 17 years as the Senior Pastor of Bread of Life Foursquare Gospel Church in Los Angeles, California. Bread of Life is an urban church with English and Spanish spoken at every service, as well as a fusion of Jew and Gentile spiritual roots, ministering to needs of people, both spiritually and physically.

      About Signalman Publishing
      Signalman Publishing, a member of the Christian Small Publishers Association, is an independent book publisher based in Kissimmee, Florida. Signalman has a wide range of thought-provoking literature to encourage and enhance the lives of its readers.

      Refresh Your Spirit -- Commercial Free Christian Music & TV

      Refresh Your Spirit: Radio Chapel Network is a breath of fresh air.

      ROANOKE Texas, Nov. 8, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Tired of the commercial clutter filtering through Praise & Worship music? There is a Network of Stations offering 24/7 Commercial Free - Solicitation Free Christian Classic Music. Specialty programs include Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, Instrumental and Contemporary Christian Music. 

      Just in time for the holidays Radio Chapel Network has launched ChristmasMusic.FM. Exodus the commercial clutter. No more desperate house wives commercials in the middle of your praise & worship with God. 

      The Radio Chapel Network offers RadioChapel.AM for teaching of the word, RadioChapel.FM for music and the newest station RadioChapel.TV for streaming video. The network is sponsored by the Radio Chapel Network sponsor directory 

      By completely separating the marketplace from the ministry RCN has quickly become the NUMBER ONE ONLINE Christian Radio Station. The addition of RadioChapel.MOBI includes the ability to listen to the stations on portable devices such as iPad, iPod, iPhone, smart phones and even in your car via streaming technology through blue tooth tools.

      The not-for-profit ministry has a passionate vision for Christian Broadcast & Benevolence through the online network. Launching their "Gideons army" task force they are placing Local Directors in all the major US cities to become Community Ambassadors. 

      Radio Chapel Network ; to know Him and to make Him known 

      Book Club: Mindfulness and Health

      by Laura J. Boggess

      There are many mysteries in the world, but perhaps one of the greatest is that of how the human mind and body interact. This week in our study of Mindfulness by Ellen J. Langer we are discussing the powerful impact of mindsets on health.
      The effects of attitude on various health issues have been well documented for a number of years. Still, cognitive techniques have been given little prominence in the medical arena in our culture. If the way I think can influence my health, why don’t I hear more about this in my doctor’s office?
      One reason, Langer asserts, is society’s tendency towards dualism.

      Dualism: A Dangerous Mindset

      Though it hasn't always been this way, Langer argues that in recent years, a rigid view of mind as separate from body has serious consequences.
      One such consequence is what she calls psychological death. She cites her earlier study that showed that patients who were moved to the ward labeled “hopeless” were more likely to die than those on other wards. She also mentions “failure to thrive”—the syndrome that occurs when infants are given adequate physical care but not enough touch and affection. These conditions suggest a deeper interaction between our health and mental processes.
      Another form of dualism is making a distinction between thoughts and feelings. Traditionally, cognition is seen as producing emotions. Langer argues that, instead of separating the two, they should be seen as one total simultaneous reaction, citing studies that indicate thoughts and feelings seem to occur in no predictable order. She points out that emotions are often based on premature cognitive commitments. Once again, Langer points out the power of context.
      Contexts are learned. Thus most of what provokes emotion is learned. And these emotional contexts are generally learned in a single-minded way…Without looking closely and noticing that the same stimulus in different contexts is a different stimulus, we become victims of the associations we ourselves constructed…
      By recognizing the unique relationship between our mind and body we open up vast potential in treatment approaches.

      The Body in Context

      When we open our minds to the interaction of mind and body, we begin to see how important context is in understanding health and well-being.
      …each outside influence [on our health] is mediated by context. The response of our bodies does not reflect a one-to-one correspondence to stimuli in the external world because there is no one-to-one correspondence between the external world and how we perceive it…Our perceptions and interpretations influence the way our bodies respond.When the “mind” is in a context, the “body” is necessarily also in that context. To achieve a different physiological state, sometime what we need to do is to place the mind in another context.
      Langer cites the following examples of the power of context:
      Subjects who chose to fast for a prolonged time for personal reasons tended to be less hungry than subjects who fasted for extrinsic reasons.
      Pain is influenced by the degree we focus on it and how we interpret it. Subjects who were able to reinterpret a painful stimulus required less pain medication.
      The perception of context as strange affects mortality. A hospital study of patients who had suffered severe heart attacks found that sudden death increased when unfamiliar staff took care of them.
      Studies show that context can improve vision and affect our body’s immune system.
      There is also extensive discussion on how context affects addictions and addictions recovery in this chapter.
      These studies suggest that physiological illnesses may be impacted by individual control than previously thought. Langer concludes:
      Even when the course of a disease may appear to progress inexorably, our reactions to it can be mindful or mindless and change its impact on us…

      The Active Placebo: Enlisting the Mind

      No one knows why placebos work in many cases. Langer suggests that placebos, like other methods of self-healing, are a device for changing mindsets, enabling us to move from and unhealthy to a healthy context…
      Another such practice that intentionally seeks to change a mindset is hypnosis.
      Langer tells us of a study on wart treatment where a group of subjects under hypnosis was given a suggestion to be rid of warts. A control group was not given these instructions. Nine out of fourteen in the experimental group successfully got rid of the warts. None in the control group were rid of any warts.xIn another experiment using this technique, subjects were even able to isolate warts on one side of their body!
      Since reading this I’ve been using self-hypnosis to suggest to my body to get rid of belly fat. My husband tells me that this is not going to work but I figure it’s worth a shot. So far I haven’t noticed any difference, but I’ll keep you posted.
      Thinking about our health in a mindful way can make a significant difference in overall wellness.
      There are many other alternative healing methods than those described here. The point is simply to show the similarity between these methods and the definitions of mindfulness described earlier. Whenever we try to heal ourselves, and not abdicate this responsibility completely to doctors, each step is mindful. For example, we question destructive categories of disease (such as the image of cancer as a death sentence). We welcome new information, whether from our bodies or from books. We look at our illness from more than a single perspective (the medical one). We work on changing contexts, whether it is a stressful workplace or a depressing rather than a positive view of the hospital. Finally, the attempt to stay healthy rather than to be “made well” necessarily involves us with process rather than outcome.
      What fun it has been journeying through this book together. As we bring this study to a close, I am reminded of Ellen J. Langer’s words in the introduction.
      Many who have read the manuscript…have found, as I have, that thinking about mindfulness and mindlessness has altered their views of the world…
      I hope you have found this to be true and have felt a positive transformation in your thinking, as I have. We’ll be starting another book club after the holidays. Keep your eye out for an announcement about the next book.

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      The transformation of a Reluctant, Self-sufficient Missionary

      By Georgia Johnson
      Special to ASSIST News Service

      KIEV, UKRAINE (ANS) -- I was arguing with God, a foolish thing to do if you are a believer in Jesus Christ and want Him to be Lord of your life. After three short-term trips to Ukraine visiting a Christian orphanage, I was now feeling God pulling me to live there full time.

      Dinner at my rented apartment with three Ukrainian orphan teens
      How could God ask me to leave my family and home? I was not ready to take that giant step. I prayed that God’s desires would become my desires, believing quite the opposite! In just a few months, I was amazingly preparing to go. My American life was packed into a 10 by 10 storage unit and my new Ukrainian life in 3 suitcases. I needed only 3 suitcases, because I would be there for only one year. Just long enough to learn Russian, right?

      From my previous visits, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I had to focus my mission work on the Christian orphanage where the children had made a remarkable impact on my heart, learn the language, then return to America and resume my short-term mission trips. Since I had it all figured out, there was no need to raise support or get training or find a missions team to join or any of the normal things that missionaries do before they go marching off to the mission field. I was a self-starter therefore I would be a self-supporter. Wasn’t I going to be there for only one year?

      My first exposure to Ukraine had been a shock. My friend, who had been in missions work there for 8 years, raved about how beautiful it was. Driving in from the airport, my eyes saw only tall, ugly, concrete buildings with dilapidated balconies and windows. Arriving at the apartment where we would stay, we were greeted with the odor of urine, garbage and cigarettes in the tiny elevator and hallways. The apartment, thank goodness, was clean and airy but the beds and chairs were hard and uncomfortable. Could I do this for a year?

      Marschrutka (minibus) ,my transportation
      around town
      The first few full-time months were more than challenging. Adjusting to and shopping for new food, using the phone, learning to take public transportation, exchanging money, and starting language lessons confronted me daily. I was stressed and each time I left the apartment I prayed, “Jesus, please don’t let anyone ask me any questions and please don’t let me get lost.” In all my Christian experience, I had never been more dependent on God’s guidance and protection. Could I trust God to truly take care of me?

      Through Bible studies, church and language studies, I was beginning to meet more and more wonderful, hospitable, warm-hearted Ukrainians. Many spoke a little English and wanted to practice when they realized I was American. They were interested in why I had come to their country. Often they had stories of relatives who live in America or Canada. They were always willing to help, give directions or answer my questions if they could.

      I am reminded of my first excursion on a marshrutka, a small mini bus. My friend had given me the Russian phrase to ask the driver to please tell me when I needed to get off. After boarding, I valiantly approached him and haltingly asked my question. He just shrugged his shoulders. I was panic stricken. By now the bus was moving away and I had no idea where I was going. I stood, rooted to the spot, and prayed, “God please send me an angel, someone to help me.” I felt Him telling me to take a seat. There was only one left. I made my way down the aisle and sat down. I turned to the lady next to me and softly asked my question in Russian once again. Her answer was like music to my ears. Not only was she going to the same place I was but I UNDERSTOOD the words that she used!! That was one of many confirmations from the Lord that I was safely in His Hands. He was beginning to show me just how dependable He could be.

      My Russian language class

      Unexpectedly, my roommate situation did not work out and I was forced to find an apartment and live alone. Fortunately, there were other American missionaries to help me with language, documents and the move. Now life got harder. This was a Ukrainian apartment, not modified to American standards. Would I be able to live here? Could I afford it? Would I be able to manage all alone? God again and again reminded me, “I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you.”

      The challenges were increasing daily. Taking a small bus to and from my language lessons, purchasing food in the open market and paying for it with foreign looking money was scary. Because I did not understand the amount owed, I would hold out a handful of coins and let the vendor take what he or she required. Taking the bus was scary too. Often there was standing room only on a jerky, bumpy ride. Recognizing when to get off was especially challenging with dirty, steamy windows as the cold weather arrived. Paying the bus fare was interesting too. If you got on and the bus aisle was full of standing riders, you just passed your money to the person in front of you and hoped it would eventually get to the driver. Amazingly, it usually did and often change was sent back down the line to the originating fare payer. Life was a daily humbling experience. More than once, I was yelled at when I did not respond or looked confused by what was said to me. God, what am I doing here?

      God was stripping me of all my self-sufficiency. I desperately needed HIM!! I prayed and read my Bible every day looking for comfort and peace in this strange world. But the biggest challenge was yet to come. Hearing from other missionaries about needing to move every few years, because the owner of the apartment wanted to move back in or sell, caused me some concern. I did not have a team of people who could help me do that. And now, living alone, I had purchased a washing machine, dishes, pots and pans and other necessary apartment stuff. The next move would be more than 3 suitcases. My apartment landlord spoke only Ukrainian and I had great difficulty communicating with him. He also had some strange, drunken friends who came to my door one afternoon asking for him. My rented space was cold and drafty in the minus winter temperatures. Already I had discovered that Russian was going to take more than a year to learn. It was time to think about owning a place of my own. Was this what God wanted me to do?

      Some friends of mine were searching for an apartment to purchase. Inviting myself along with them as they visited potential places, I saw one that I really liked. It was on the 14th floor, an end unit, meaning that I would have windows facing in two directions with cross breezes and only two neighbors rather than 4 or 5. When my friends eventually decided against it, I made an offer. Is this the right decision, Lord? Dealing with the apartment buying process was another challenge. Fortunately, my real estate agent spoke English and had worked with other missionaries. She was confident and competent.

      I, however, was not. Transferring funds from one bank to another in the US is one thing. Crossing the Atlantic is quite another, especially if your money is in a credit union with no experience doing this. It turned out that they had programed their interbank system to require 9 digits for the bank ID, since all US banks use 9 digits. The Kiev bank used only 8 digits. After three days of trying to make it work, I was frantic and running out of time. Emailing my daughter in America, 10-hour time difference, I desperately prayed she could transfer the money from her bank. She emailed the next day saying it was done but that it would take 5 to 6 business days. Monday was a holiday in America and my funds were due in Kiev on Wednesday. I prayed even more fervently.

      God’s affirmation for buying the apartment arrived on Monday morning with a call from the Kiev bank. The money had arrived! It was a day of rejoicing, proving once again – “Nothing is impossible with God!” (Luke 1:37), including the transformation of a reluctant, short-term, self-sufficient missionary into a long-term, God-dependent servant. God’s plan, apparently, was for more than just a year. OK, Lord, I accept that!

      Georgia Johnson is a missionary to Ukraine ministering to adult orphans. While living in Kiev, she started a mission work for orphans who were preparing for independent living and higher education in the university. Her ministry is now helping the adult orphan children of a Christian Ukrainian family in Mariupol, Ukriane. She is a grandmother of 6, five boys and one girl, and mother of 2 daughters. Georgia has a BS in Management Information Science from Sacramento State College and a MA in Marriage Family Therapy from San Francisco State. She is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist in the state of California. She can be contacted by e-mail at: