Monday, September 26, 2011

Courageous Movie Portrays a Different Kind of Courage

By Meg Korpi and Rusty Wright
Special to Assist News Service

MOUNT HERMON, CA (ANS) -- Courageous begins as a fast-paced police drama with plenty of heart-pounding action, and a spine-tingling surprise within the first three minutes. Good-natured banter and comic mishaps had us laughing, but the movie quickly reveals an introspective side that portends more than levity and brave guys in uniforms chasing bad guys in do-rags. 

Indeed, Courageous tells a grounded, human story that focuses on the crucial role of fathers. It intertwines action, humor, pathos, male bonding, a couple of insightful women, and five complex main characters to portray ordinary men evolving into modern-day heroes who find the call to valor in their everyday lives.

Jesus, false preacher

By: gateroadmusic

Has the thought ever occured to you that if Jesus were on earth preaching today He would be labeled a false preacher by religious salvation-by-works advocates? Why? Because Jesus' message would be in direct contradiction to theirs. As a matter of fact, the religious salvation -by-works proponents of Jesus' day (the Pharisees) did precisely that very thing; label Jesus as a false preacher and reject the message that He offered. What was this message that was opposed and scorned then, and would be today, that Jesus offered to those that were lost?

Read more... 

Article Source:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Movie Shows it Takes Courage to Be a Father

New Movie Shows it Takes Courage to Be a Father:

By Michael Ireland
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

ALBANY, GA (ANS) -- In the new independent movie COURAGEOUS, from the producers of FIREPROOF, FACING THE GIANTS and FLYWHEEL, four men share one calling: ‘To serve and protect’ -- both at work and at home.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RELEVANT Magazine - Why are Christians Unoriginal?

RELEVANT Magazine - Why are Christians Unoriginal?:

'via Blog this'

Marine engineers can change hearts for eternity?

Mission Network News: Many Christians believe you have to be a preacher, evangelist or church planter to make a difference for eternity.

The Logos Hope, an outreach of Operation Mobilization, needs engineers to help impact lives for eternity through their ship ministry. Read more...

Churches - Gospel for Asia - Gospel for Asia

Churches - Gospel for Asia - Gospel for Asia:

Imagine that you feel called to start a Bible study. You spend time researching study guides and planning a schedule that works well for everyone. Figuring out exactly where your group will meet isn't even a concern—your church likely has plenty of available rooms to choose from. Read more...

Christian Business & Shekinah | Christian Business Greater Seas

Christian Business & Shekinah | Christian Business Greater Seas:

I believe very strongly that God has an intense heart for business and that Christian business will one day be a commonplace facet of our faith instead of a niche badge worn by progressive marketplace Christians. However, even as we indulge ourselves in Christian business content we often forget one very important thing at the office: Shekinah. Read more...

Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera: Now Number One in Saves, and He Knows Who Really Saves

Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera: Now Number One in Saves, and He Knows Who Really Saves:

The quiet, unassuming future Hall-of-Famer Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera (originally from Panama) reached a milestone in Major League Baseball history when on Monday, he broke the all-time “saves” record, getting his 602nd. ‘I couldn’t dream about this. It’s a tremendous journey. I have to thank God,’ he says. Read more...

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr: A Marriage Made in Heaven

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr: A Marriage Made in Heaven:

Now their Soldiers of the Second Coming are back in business as they perform at the MFI Thirteenth Annual Praise Brunch in Beverly Hills. Hollywood marriages are not known for their longevity. So, in a business that eats marriages for breakfast, the McCoo/Davis union is a remarkable accomplishment. Read more...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Iranian Youth Searching for Answers; Open to the Gospel Message - Christian Newswire

Iranian Youth Searching for Answers; Open to the Gospel Message - Christian Newswire:

SANTA ANA, Calif., Sept. 20, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing to address the annual United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, a significant number of Iranians, many from a younger generation, are dissatisfied with the status quo and are searching for answers to the issues they face. As a result, many are coming to Christ. Read more...

Stealing Norton: Do You Work at Your Art? | The High Calling

Stealing Norton: Do You Work at Your Art? | The High Calling

This post is an excerpt from L.LBarkat's new book,Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing...

Friday, September 16, 2011

‘Open Arms’ in ‘South Central’

A Former Prosecuting Attorney and his wife are now providing ‘hope’ to the needy people of South Central Los Angeles, birthplace of gangs like the ‘Bloods’ and the ‘Crips’

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

SOUTH LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- During my 50 years in ministry, I have had the privilege of speaking all over the world, from North Korea to Vietnam, Uganda to Malaysia, but on Wednesday (September 14, 2011), I had a most unique preaching experience that I will not soon forget.

An earlier picture of the 'Bloods' in
South Central Los Angeles
Along with my wife, Norma, I went to the Open Arms Christian Fellowship in South Central Los Angeles, often abbreviated as South L.A. as the name “South Central” had become almost synonymous with urban decay and street crime.
South Los Angeles is considered to be the forefront for gang warfare and poverty in the “City of Angels,” with so much gang violence and crime. It was the birthplace of many gangs famous for their notoriety such as the “South Side Florence 13”, “18st”, the “Bloods”, and the “Crips”.
In my sermon, I preached about why God can use failures, citing the text found 1 Corinthians 1:27, But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (King James Bible).
“Tonight, if you feel you are a failure, you are in the right place, because God can now use you in a mighty way to reach out to the people of this area,” I said.

Cathy and Doug Kelley pictured
in their tiny apartment 
(Photo: Dan Wooding)
Before the service, Doug and Cathy Kelley, who had moved to California from Montana in 1998, and have now made this unique area their home, showed us around their House of Hope ministry which is home to some 80 men and women, many fresh from prison, some even from San Quentin. At this place, the Kelley’s and an experienced staff, say they are able to “help other people excel.”
Doug added, “The House of Hope gives practical help to the helpless homeless and addicted. It gives a vision for living life without drugs, alcohol, or prison. We help each client to build a plan for the rest of their life.
“Those coming to the House of Hope have been told that they are not good enough; that they have failed; that they will never make anything of themselves. None-stop relapses are an urgent reminder that we need to do more. Willpower alone will not set people free from the power of drugs and alcohol. Through prayer and counsel, we believe that each person’s potential will be declared.”
Doug and Cathy are so committed to helping those in such desperate need, that they have moved into a tiny apartment which is located over their church, Open Arms Christian Center, at 8874 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003. They have lived in this 540 square foot accommodation now for about two years.
“Believe it or not, we are very contented living here and we don’t look upon it as any big sacrifice,” said Doug in an interview. “We’re happy because the Lord loves us and we’ve got purpose and we’ve got passion!”

One of the House of Hope ladies
getting her hair fixed 
(Photo: Dan Wooding)
Doug went on to say, “We have zero tolerance for drug or alcohol usage and zero tolerance for racism. For instance, we have people come in from prison and they’ve been into the white supremacist thing while inside, but we teach them that we don’t believe that the skin color issue should ever affect anything, because God’s trying to change the color of our hearts.”
Over the years, God has used Doug and Cathy to start businesses, plant churches, participate in politics, and befriend the Body of Christ as well as raising four children.
Doug then told me about his background and how this eventually led him and his wife to do this challenging work in such a difficult area which they say they both love.
“Both Cathy and I are native Montanans and we lived in Montana for fifty years before we moved down here to Southern California about twelve-and-a-half years ago,” he told me in an interview for my Front Page Radio program.

Pastor Doug speaking (Photo: Dan Wooding)
“I wasn’t trained to be a pastor, but rather to be a lawyer. I came to Christ in September 1970; the very time I entered law school. I graduated from law school in 1973 and became a prosecuting attorney and also had a private law practice that made some money.”
He went on to say that, despite his financial success, “the call of God was much stronger than the call to be a lawyer and so, in 1980, I started to be an almost fulltime pastor.”
Doug Kelley explained, however, that he also continued his legal work in Montana for nearly 20 years, representing home schools, private schools and pastors from all denominations, but his first love was his Christian work in which he helped to plant churches not only his native state, but also in Canada and the Philippines.
“We ended up in Southern California by divine appointment,” he continued. “God told me one time, in our prayer closet – it was just a kind of an impression, not an audible voice – that He was going to use us to take people ‘trained in the wilderness’ and help them in their journey.”

The worship team in action at the church (Photo: Dan Wooding)
The couple, first of all lived, in Burbank where Doug worked for a mission organization as the Director of Development and then, after a time, they moved to Westminster, Orange County, where they had another “mini mansion.” Both homes, they said, had “huge swimming pools.”
I was intrigued to find out why they had moved from beautiful Orange County, to their tiny apartment in which they often hear the sound of gunfire, so Doug shared with me the story of how he first of all began the church along with Cathy.
“We started it on September 9, 2001 when we still living in Burbank,” he recalled. “I remember the date vividly because it was just two days before the 9/11 assault of the Twin Towers in New York City.”
Doug said that they had initially run the church out of their Burbank home, and then had leased space from a local Presbyterian Church for the Sunday morning service.
“Our people were coming up to Burbank from the city and we were working with a transitional housing ministry that was really given over to working with people coming out of prison and coming off the streets,” he said. “The Lord had just given us a real strong mission statement which is ‘to give hope to the broken-hearted.’
“We consider ourselves as ‘World Christians’ who live in South Central. We are taking the burnt, beaten, stones that have been crushed by life and are trying to reinvigorate them with the ‘Washing of the Word’ and put them together into a church of ‘Living Stones’ that have also been burned.”
I then asked Cathy to tell her story:
“Doug and I met at a Christian Bible study in a college that both of us attended for the first time,” she said. “Actually, it was the only time we went to that group and the rest is history! We have now been married for about 39 years.”
Cathy went on to say, “Being involved with the House of God has always been our first love and the church that we have here is probably only about 100 people, with probably sixty-percent African-American, twenty-percent Hispanic, plus other races that make up the last twenty-percent. I would describe it as an ‘independent Charismatic church.’ We have always been ‘brand x’.”

Norma and Dan Wooding pictured with a young boy from a Nigerian background who attended the service
Doug then said, “Here at the church, we teach the people that they need to find their potential in Christ; that life here on earth is a dot -- we’re here today and gone tomorrow – so we need to serve the Lord with everything we have in us. That’s why we’re in South Central; we want to serve the Lord and serve our generation.”
Cathy described what it was like living in South Central in this way, “Life here is exciting. Our children think that we should be a ‘little more retired’ and ‘living in a nicer place,’ but we really feel that when you are where God wants you, that’s the nicest place in the world.
“We have had some interesting things happen to us. For instance, our church is located between two motorcycle clubs so we have a very lively street especially on Saturday nights when they turn ‘wheelies’ in front of the church. It is also common to hear gun fire at night.
“When we first moved in, we had a shooting right in front of the church. It occurred just as I was pulling up in front of the sanctuary and I saw a guy running across the street clutching his leg after being hit by a bullet.
“Recently, I had our car battery stolen out of a locked parking lot for the second time in about a week. These are just some of the petty irritations of the world here.”
When I pointed out that some people might think they were nuts to move into such an area, Doug Kelley said, “Well, we really believe that God wants us to live where we can do the most good. I have had some significant success in my life and some would have thought that we should be working with the ‘up and outers’ rather than the ‘down and outers,’ but to me, this move is a divine appointment.
“God has called is to work in this area and He picked our congregation and we have found that we just love people. God has a favorite race -- the human race -- and we don’t care whether they’re black or brown. Whoever they are, and whatever their background, we just pour our hearts out to them the best way we can.
“Most of the ladies we work with, have been prostitutes, and most of the men have been in prison, but these things don’t shock us anymore the way they used to.
“When I was a prosecuting attorney, I put people in prison and now we just hug them and love on them. We also cry with them and laugh with them. They’re our friends and it’s not like we’re the big white people. I tell them, ‘I’m dad and dad’s going to spank you if you need a spanking and praise you if you need praise.’

A member of the congregation (Photo: Dan Wooding)
“It’s an interesting ministry. Our whole desire is to see people saved.”
When asked if the work wasn’t dangerous, Doug smiled and said, “We haven’t had anyone threaten us yet, per se, but we did have guy bring a gun to church one night saying that he was going to shoot somebody. We also had another young missionary from Canada that got a gun pointed at the back of his head.
“We’ve had some things like this, but you we don’t think on those terms because we’re on divine assignment and when the time is over, it’s over, and no devil, no gun, no evil thing, can stop us and nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
Besides their work in South Central, the Kelley’s are also involved in church planning in Mexicali, a city in Baja California, Mexico.
“I’m down there at least once a month,” said Doug.
Cathy then made an appeal for helpers to come and join them at the church and also in their rehab work.
“We have so many opportunities for service here in the inner city,” she said. “We have people here that just need a friend; they need a listening ear; and probably my main ministry what is listening. There are so many people that have never had anyone to love them and just put an arm around them and listen to them as they pour out their hearts, and people could do just that.”
Doug added, “We’re in the city of the Azusa Street Revival* and our heart is that God is still the same today as he was in the early 1900s. So we’re praying for a real outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a transforming of lives that people would sovereignly be changed by a movement of the Lord.”
* The Azusa Street Revival was a historic Pentecostal revival gathering that took place in Los Angeles, California, and was led by William J. Seymour, an African-American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 14, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. The revival was characterized by ecstatic spiritual experiences accompanied by speaking in tongues, dramatic worship services, and inter-racial mingling. The participants received criticism from secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at that time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th Century.
For more information this dedicated couple, just go to their website which is:
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.

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. You can follow Dan 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.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The new song in heaven: going beyond the 12-tone scale

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- Composers lament the same frustration as they attempt to avoid repetition in their music. After 2,000 years, the limits of the 12-tone scale leave musicologists with a hunger for something more.

Anne Ortlund
“They have come to a dead end,” observes Anne Ortlund, the popular Christian author and speaker. For 15 years, Anne was the organist for Dr. Charles Fuller's radio broadcasts. Her hymn "Macedonia" was chosen as the theme hymn at the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin.

She believes the worship that Christians will experience in heaven will go beyond our imaginations – and outside the limits of our current musical scale.

In the ancient world, only five notes were used. “The earliest people groups all sang the same five-point scale. The slaves who came to America still sang five-note songs that came from their past,” Ortlund says. “The old Celtic songs and even some Chinese music still has five notes.” Because all these ancient cultures used the same five notes, she believes the five-note scale must have preceded Babel, going back perhaps to the Garden of Eden.

Then, something amazing happened in the first century A.D. “When Christ came and the church was born, they stepped up to a 12-tone scale that no ears had ever heard before,” she notes. “It was so exciting for them.”

“That’s the way it will be in heaven,” Ortlund continues. “We will step up to something new – a new song -- that we’ve never heard before, yet it will be based on something from the past.”

Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and the founder of  He is available to speak to groups about the plight of the church in restricted countries, to share stories and testimonies from the mission field, and to preach the gospel.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Author Discovers God's Forgiveness and Restoration after Abortion

ENUMCLAW, Wash., Sept. 6, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Since its legalization on January 22, 1973, the topic of abortion has gained steady, if not tumultuous news coverage. The U.S. Census Bureau reports 1,242,000 abortions for 2006 alone. According to the Guttmacher Institute, "Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion." 

Gladys Billups, author of "Chosen" (WinePress, 2011) shares her personal experience with abortion, and the emotional devastation that ensued. She also details other painful moments and sins in her past and how God was able to redeem those and restore peace in her life. Billups' message to readers:

"You can find forgiveness and healing in Christ after the most life-altering sins. The mistakes we make in life can lead us back to God. You are not the first person to love God and sin against him - look at the lives of people in the Bible, look at me. Stop running from God - He wants you to get to know him. God, the creator of everything, has chosen you to be in relationship with Him."

Chosen emphasizes God's grace in the face of our darkest moments and ugliest sins. Billups dedicated her book "to those who have made mistakes in life and wondered if they were worthy of God's favor, forgiveness, and restoration."

Gladys Billups is a Missionary at Oak Grove Baptist Restoration Ministries (OGRM), a volunteer counselor at Comfort Care Women's Health, and she also leads Bible Study groups both at her church and other churches in the community. Gladys graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology and Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. She has been married for 15 years and has two children. She is a member of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Shenandoah Valley Emmaus community, and the American Society of Safety Engineers. Gladys and her family make their home in Shenandoah Valley.

For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview, please contact Josiah Williams by phone at 360-802-9758, by email at, or by fax at 360-802-9992. To purchase a copy of this book or call 877-421-7323.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finding the Strength to Persevere Through Life's Toughest Struggles

MIAMI, Sept. 6, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- "There are certain events that occur in the early stages of a person's life that can have an incredible impact on them, emotionally, physiologically, spiritually and socially", according to a revolutionary new book by Kingsley Grant. 

In his new book, "This Was Not Supposed To Happen", he tackles issues such as: incest, abortion, suicide, friendship, love, lust, promiscuity, forgiveness, rape and others. He uses his experience as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and years of ministry, in offering hope to victims of sexual trauma. Included within the book is a wealth of helpful suggestions to family, spiritual leaders and others in their efforts to be supportive and understanding of these victims.

Kingsley shares his own story of sexual violation in conjunction with that of Tamar and her brother Amnon, found in the Old Testament book of Second Samuel. As you read the book, you will be captivated by the plots, deceit and lies woven within the fabric of the story.

One of the things that was not supposed to happen is the way her plans turned out. 

Like any helpful, loving, and caring sister, Tamar was asked by her dad to make a meal for her supposedly sick brother. This was a well thought out and rehearsed plan that he and his cousin - Jonadab, orchestrated. Everything had to work just right. He knew he only had one opportunity. Once he was able to deceive his dad to go along with the plan, he knew he was well on his way. All that had to happen was for Tamar to show up. She was about to walk into a trap that would forever change her life, as well as the lives of other family members.

About the Author
Kingsley is the author of the popular "10 Day Devotional for Retreats and Mission Trips", Conference Speaker, Certified Motivational Life Coach, Workshop Presenter, and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He is president of Helping Families Improve, Inc. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and adult children.

Kingsley graduated Cum Laude from St. Thomas University with his Masters Degree. He is currently weighing his options of where to pursue his PhD.

For more information or to request Kingsley's services, please contact him at (786) 236-3602 or visit his website and/or blog at,

New ON 9/11 Channel on Call on Faith Tells Stories of Transformation & Healing

All-Video Mobile App Commemorates Tenth Anniversary

New York, NY—They were the faces of America: banker, firefighter, professor, sales clerk, administrator, baker. Then on one September morning, their lives were transformed in unimaginable ways as they moved forward out of terror and tragedy. Now they share their remarkable journeys in a special tenth-anniversary commemorative channel on the all-video mobile app Call on Faith.

The ten storytellers of 9/11 include:

Phyllis Rodriguez—A teacher in White Plains, NY. She lost her only son in Tower One but transcended grief and bitterness to reach out to the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the infamous "20th Hijacker"
Stanley Praimnath—As one of the few to escape from the offices of Fuji Bank, he felt called to change his life and left the trading desk for the pulpit of a little church in Queens, NY
Rais Bhuiyan—Far from Ground Zero in Dallas, a would-be avenger attacked this retail clerk and killed his co-worker. Though blind from a gunshot to the eye, he worked to save his assailant from death row.
Dan Holdridge—With the Pentagon in flames, he lay just a few feet from dozens of the dying, knowing his life could never be the same. Now he travels the nation urging his audiences to take up "Weapons of Mass Appreciation."
In addition to these and other stories, ON 9/11 offers meditations and original prayers from a variety of traditions for the tenth anniversary.
Sample selections can be seen at

Call on Faith, the only all-video inspirational app, delivers over 200 videos, which are refreshed monthly. It is programmed by Odyssey Networks, the nation's largest multi-faith coalition dedicated to producing media that enriches spiritual life and promotes tolerance. Its content includes inspirational insights, advice on better living, interviews about new and notable books, personal stories of faith and compassion, and prayers and reflections from the world's great faith traditions. A new channel Meditation with Tim Janis, pairing the music of Mr. Janis with stunning videos of natural wonders, was added in July.

Additional Call on Faith channels are programmed by ten of Odyssey's member organizations:United Church of Christ, First Radio Parish Church of America ("Daily Devotions" with Peter Panagore), Chicago Sunday Evening Club ("A Few Good Minutes"), Seventh-day Adventist Church ("Mad about Marriage" and "Voice of Prophecy"), Episcopal Church, Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters (Spirit Boost), Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Baha'i, Day-1 and CoExist Foundation. These member channels deliver inspiration and guidance from unique faith perspectives, appealing to a wide range of spiritual seekers.

Call on Faith is available for download through or at iTunes, Blackberry World or Android Market or Amazon, Nook, and on Sprint.
For more information on Call on Faith go to
About Odyssey Networks
Established in 1987, Odyssey Networks is a service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, Inc. It has over 100 denominational, organizational and individual members, representing Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Baha'i, Sikh, and Hinduism. For more information

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Contemporary Christian Artist and Speaker Cede is Back and Looking to Book Your Next Youth Event

OLD BRIDGE, N.J., Sept. 5, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Based out of New Jersey, Cede is a Christian hip-hop artist and Biblical teacher who loves to make music but, predominantly, his desire is to use the gifts God has given him to reach youth. Whether it be through small groups, youth events, or retreats, every opportunity is customized to fit your specific needs and requests. His heart is to effectively communicate the word of God in order to give today's youth an anchor of faith to firmly cling to amongst the confusions of life.

Cede's heart is to adequately convey scripture through means of relevant artistry. His entertaining and doctrinally sound hip-hop makes way for his dynamic, engaging, and solid biblical teaching. As a graduate from Philadelphia Biblical University Dave Berkey, the voice behind Cede, has a desire to direct people of all ages back to the Word of God as our final point of authority, and True testament of who God is. Cede believes that it is the Holy Scriptures that lead us to Christ, but if no one ever directs us to the Scripture, then there is no way to truly know Christ. This initiated his passion to share with youth. Cede's prayer is that the Lord would use him and his talent as a tool to challenge and encourage the next generations of youth to ascertain the Word of God as the foundation of their lives.

Cede explains, "There are so many different ideas floating around concerning life and its meaning. I truly believe that we must first get back to the basics of the Word of God being our final authority and allow Christ then to give us our meaning, direction and purpose."

Cede has had the opportunity to share with a number of youth groups, and at a number of events in the past. As he believes this is what the Lord has called him to do, he would love the opportunity to share with your group as well, in the near future. For more information about who Cede is, what he does, and how to book please visit or call (484) 614-7706 Attn: Dave.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A New Life at Joy Junction

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

Luther was an alcoholic, but a functioning one.

He said he was living in a two- bedroom apartment with a significant other, her daughter and two granddaughters.  At that point in his life, he was doing mostly day labor.  It paid the bills, but it could still get rough, especially if he wasn't able to find work for that day.
Luther decided that he needed something a little more stable.  A friend of his knew there was a position open as a cook at a local restaurant.  Three weeks later, he was finally hired.

Luther worked there for three months, until the alcohol started to take an even more insidious hold on his life. 
He said, "Stress got me.  The nerves all combined together, and drinking helped me not care anymore."
Luther was eventually fired, with the drinking playing a major part in his termination. At that point, Luther said, he knew he had to get a job quickly so he could keep pace with the bills.
Luther said he landed a job at a local janitorial company, where, for about six months, he cleaned offices.  This time he quit the job, because it was getting too stressful.
He said, "It was all nitpicking and people saying I wasn't doing my job.  I said 'rather than argue about it, I'll just leave.'"
From there, Luther said, he increased his drinking.  
In late Oct. 2010, Luther had had it.    Step by step, he left everything behind; walked out of the apartment, walked out of his jobs, walked out of his kids lives.  He went to the streets.  His only stable companion during this time was beer.
Eventually, the beer failed to give Luther the comfort he needed, and he graduated to a more potent addiction: crack cocaine.
He said, "I was spending about 150.00 a day on crack."
Hitting up friends, panhandling and money obtained from selling cans helped fund Luther's addiction.
 Luther said, "I would go out 'canning' everyday, and that was just for one habit.
During this time, Luther was living wherever he could.  Sometimes he would stay at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission.  Other times he would just camp anywhere he could find. 
When winter came, Luther stayed at the Westside shelter, a winter shelter run by the Albuquerque Rescue Mission and funded by the City of Albuquerque from November to March.
He said, "Whenever I got enough money, I would stay in a hotel room for two or three days, but then, back to the streets."
Luther knew about Joy Junction from talking with Albuquerque's  homeless population, and had been to the facility over a decade prior.  However, he had no idea how large it was, nor the amount of services offered.
Luther said, "Everything out on the streets was changing.  People were 'defriending' each other.  People were no longer being nice to their fellow homeless friends.  It was becoming very dangerous to be out there."
He continued, "I was getting tired.  I was starting to slip into (more drugs).  I knew that I could get to the West Side, or I could call Joy Junction.  I told God that whichever bus came first is the one I would get on."
Joy Junction's van arrived first.
Luther said, "I was so drunk.  When I (arrived) ... I don't even remember who was there.  I was so drunk I don't remember what was going on.  All I do know is that I was SO scared of the heroin, that I knew I had to stay.  I had to get off the streets.  I didn't really feel anything when I first got to Joy Junction.  I was fading in and out."
Luther got signed in, and was shown to his spot where he would spend the night.
The first thing he did when he woke up the next morning was to ask if Joy Junction had a recovery program. After hearing a description of our program from a staff member, Luther was very interested.
He said,  I knew I needed it.  I was tired of the drinking and all that.  I was REALLY afraid of the heroin."
Currently in his fifth month of the program Luther is doing well. His program assignment is helping residents with their needs. Much like he was when he came through the door, Luther now helps those same scared people understand  they are safe.
Luther is thinking about life after Joy Junction.
He said, "I see a good future without drinking or anything.  I am ready to go out there, and work with people, and let them know what Jesus is all about."
Luther's caring attitude isn't reserved for his program assignment.  Through the day, when not on duty, he can often be seen helping those in need, whether it be residents, people in the program, staff, or even volunteers.   He is always there to offer a helping hand and a smile.
Luther said, "I would like to get back together with my family.  My drinking caused me to walk out.  I am now going to see them on the weekends.  I am trying to get myself situated, so that I can be there for them in the future."
Amen, Luther. We're glad that we can play a small part in your recovery.

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."

Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Labor is important for individuals and nations

By Bill EllisSpecial to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) -- A special Labor Day has been celebrated in many parts of the world. In the United States and Canada, it is observed on the first Monday in September. It is a day in which both owners and workers can all participate and neither one has much success without the other.

President Grover Cleveland called labor “The capital of our workingmen.” We live in a critical day when millions do not have a job. Unemployment continues to climb higher. At some job fairs thousands show up to compete for hundreds of jobs. It is extremely discouraging when a person who wants to work cannot find a job.

Someone suggested, “If you do not have a job, then your job is to find one.” Easy said. Difficult to do. In 1991, Chuck Colson and Jack Eckerd, two men acquainted with work and helping others find jobs, cooperatively wrote a book for Word Publishing that they titled, Why America Doesn’t Work. It dealt with this statement, “How the decline of the work ethic is hurting your family and future – and what you can do.”

Here are some reasons why people are not working.

1. There are no jobs available for which they are qualified.

2. You must be qualified to do the jobs that may be available where you live.

3. Some are ill, crippled and not physically, mentally or emotionally able to work.

4. Millions are allergic to work. Their grandparents, parents, siblings and other family members have been on some kind of welfare for many years and apparently have no intention of working. They will avoid work as long as possible.

5. In recent weeks, from various sources, I have heard it said that we live in the midst of an “entitlement generation.” Millions somehow believe that they are entitled to have what millions of others work to obtain.

6. We all may be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but not to a perpetual “free ride” at the expense of those who choose to work. St. Paul had a message for every generation, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Nobody wants to deny food to those who cannot work. It is our responsibility to care for them. Those who are forever lazy and will not even pick up a peace of paper as a job, even though they are able, may be encouraged to work a little if they become hungry enough. I tell my wife, Kitty, “If I do not eat, it is because I am not hungry. She is my all-time favorite cook. Able-bodied people will usually work for food and other necessities when they become hungry enough.

Colson and Eckerd quote Lance Morrow as saying: “As American productivity, once the exuberant engine of national wealth, has dipped to an embarrassingly uncompetitive low, Americans have shaken their heads: The country’s old work ethic is dead.” We can hope it will be resurrected soon.

Helen Keller, one of the greatest of all Americans, said, “The world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

Let us all join together in doing all we can to help provide a productive job for others. A job where they can work and produce for themselves and their family. Let our county, state and national leaders know that we expect them to remove the artificial barriers that rob others of the opportunity to work. Jobs are created at the ballot box.

I have noticed: Poor people do not hire other people. Be grateful for those who can employ others. I certainly am as I continue to work long hours each day.

Bill Ellis

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

For information on becoming a subscriber to the Ellis Column for your newspaper or magazine, you may contact him at: BILL ELLIS, P.O.Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560 or by calling: 304-757-6089.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Love that Keeps on Growing

When Disaster is at the Door Should We Prepare for the Worst, or Just Trust God?

By Beverly Caruso
Special to ASSIST News Service

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- Some disasters give no warning. But many times there are clues and awkward moments—or even days—or months, before disaster comes. What should one do—prepare for the worst, or just trust God? How we respond can certainly affect our relationships.

Fires in the Southern California mountains
The first hint that things weren’t normal came on the Monday afternoon breeze. Pete and I had always lived in a suburban setting but, together with our daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Dean, we had moved five years earlier to a rural canyon in the high desert of Southern California. To fire country. I quickly learned that country folk can’t count on the sounds of fire engines to report potential trouble. At the mere hint of the smell of smoke, we dash outdoors and check the entire sky.

My 85-year-old mother, nearly deaf, and legally blind with macular degeneration, lived in her mobile home 300 steps from our door. Debbie and Dean’s house sat between us.

Most of the time I enjoyed the fresh air during my every-couple-of-hours-check on Mom. I said hello to our chickens and called out a greeting to the flock of ducks who keep the weeds cleared in our small orchard. On this early May afternoon I scanned the sky, looking for the source of the smell of smoke.

A plume was rising directly to the north, heading slightly east. I sighed a relief when I realized it was miles away. We spent a vigilant afternoon and evening watching the sky and listening to the local news. Then with darkness there was a glow beyond the second ridge away. But the glow continued to move toward the east.

Debbie was out of town, so Dean secured their family pictures and important papers. Pete reluctantly put our irreplaceables in the car trunk “I don’t think this is necessary,” Pete said. “There are angels here to protect us.”

Still, Pete made sure the garden hoses were attached and ready. We agreed that I would get Mom in the car and leave if the fire came closer. Pete and Dean would stay to fight the fire; and if necessary go to the lower field where the animals have eaten away everything flammable.

Courageous pilots fight the fire

At dusk we watched some our closest neighbors evacuate. After Mom went to bed I sneaked in and got her "life and death" medications and my back up computer CDs.

No sense in her fretting, I rationalized. She can't see the smoke so I won't let her know there's a problem unless or until it really becomes a problem.

After watching the 11 o'clock news, we went to sleep. We learned the next morning that Dean had stayed up till 3:00 monitoring things. Now he headed off to work.

By early Tuesday afternoon eight police cars were stationed at the entrance to our canyon’s dirt road awaiting orders to begin evacuations.

Throughout the day I saw fire engines and support vehicles pass by on the main road below us. There were three plumes of fresh smoke just over the second ridge farther to the east. I found the roar of scooper airplanes and helicopters carrying water from the nearby lake to be a comfort.

We got phone calls all day from friends watching from their more distant places around our desert lake community. Some offered to bring trucks and help us pack and get out. They all said they'd be on standby—and be praying. Our nearby town was named in news reports, so emails arrived from distant family and friends to assure us they too were praying.

By evening we calculated the fire to be perhaps two miles away. Pete seemed to be amused by my concern, “God will not let anything bad happen to us.” I wasn't scared, nor alarmed, but very alert. But I longed for Pete’s level of faith. Yet we were prepared. Important documents, photos, and computer backup files were in the car trunk. And hoses were ready for use.

I maintained that doing nothing to prepare would be presuming upon God. “Bad things do happen to Christians,” I reminded Pete. “I know that God knows whether to let it come this way.

Anyway, we don't always know in advance what God's strategy is in every situation. What if He doesn't come through for us like we want or you expect?” I asked. What if the wind picks up—or shifts and the houses are destroyed?

I wondered. “Is it a lack of faith to ask the ‘what if’ questions? Especially when there is a potential life-threatening situation at hand? When does ‘acting in faith’ -- or not acting as the case may be -- become presumption?”

Pete was listening and perhaps rather reluctantly had done his share of the preparation work, but I knew that he was convinced that God was going to protect us. I had a feeling Pete was accommodating me, but I chose not to dwell on it.

As I prepared dinner on Tuesday evening I watched flames come over the ridge about two miles away. The fire had now burned about 80 degrees around us. By the time we ate, the flames were in a line part way down that mountain. I remember thinking, It's really quite a pretty sight if one doesn't think of the destruction it can cause. But what if the wind suddenly turns and we never even eat this dinner?

Shortly after dusk Dr. Dan and Mary, a couple from our church, arrived. A former forest ranger in this area, Dan knows the hills and back roads here well. By using a topographical map he’d brought along, he helped us evaluate the mountain ridges and locate fingers of the fire and smoke we were seeing. One burning ridge was only one mile away, perhaps even less. Flames and smoke were visible for about 150 degrees around us. But all was yet outside our canyon.

How shall I break the news to Mom? I wondered as Mary and I sat in the dark with Mom on her porch. I could see fires in two directions. Then Mom casually said, "I didn't know there are houses on that hill beyond Debbie's house.”

There was no keeping the facts from her any longer. “Those aren’t house lights, Mom. That’s a fire.”

Just as if on cue, Dr. Dan walked over to the porch and pointed another direction to a closer row of flames “Watch that bright red dot. That’s a firefighter. He’s going to start a new little fire. It’s called a backfire and will keep the main fire from reaching the houses on the road below.”

As Dan and Mary drove away a while later, Mom said, “How good of God to send Dr. Dan just in time to tell us what we’re seeing.” We watched in wonder as the firefighters worked their way across the hill. With no breeze, the smoke rose straight into the sky. She was fascinated.
All seemed well—until after midnight.

I’d been asleep, but awakened at 12:30. Upon opening my eyes the mountain a mile away was all aglow. I slipped outside and was watching it with Dean when Pete came out. Mom had phoned in tears. The fire had rekindled the memories of her house fire in 1978 in which she lost many things that were precious to her. I had Pete come with me and we prayed with her for God to give her peace. After cups of hot chocolate together, she soon settled down and went to sleep as I slept nearby.

As I returned from Mom’s the next morning, I breathed deeply the clean, cool air and looked around. No fires. No smoke. The fire had burned over 16,000 acres, wrapping at various times around 180 degrees of our canyon. “Ah! Thanks Lord, for the firemen and the others who worked so hard to protect us. And thanks, Lord, for keeping the wind down.”

I anticipated the backfires leaving things looking black and dismal all around us. But there was little evidence of change to the hills surrounding our canyon. Only upon a closer look could one tell there had been fires on the hills. Not all the brush was burned, so there was even some green foliage evident.

Pete teased me again that evening about the boxes in the car’s trunk. Now they needed to be carried back into their places on the storeroom shelves. I had long before made labels for them in big bold letters: EVACUATE.

“I told you the angels would protect us,” Pete chided.

Then I read to him the verse in Proverbs from the New Living Translation: “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences,” Proverbs 27:12.

“I know, Honey,” he said with a twinkle. “I took the steps of action in order to bring peace to my wife. And you took every precautionary step because of the way God made you.”

I’m thankful Pete and I had learned to appreciate our differences and let them work for us, rather than allowing arguments, anger, or frustration with one another to add to what was already a stressful few days.

Now our nation -- even the entire world -- is living in danger. Let’s work to be patient with one another as we are obedient to God’s promptings and take whatever precautions we see necessary to be prudent.

Bev Caruso, and her husband Pete, have served the Lord together for over 50 years. They pastored two churches for a total of 35 years and have preached or taught in 35 countries: in schools and colleges, barrios and offices, prisons and jungles. Whether encouraging weary pastors or missionaries or praying for the sick, speaking through an interpreter or teasing with their grandchildren, their love for God and His people shines through. They recently coauthored: Keeping It Fresh—A Love that Keeps on Growing based on the Marriage Enrichment Seminars they team-teach. The Caruso’s continue to teach and preach. They have three grown children, eight grandchildren, and currently nine great-grandchildren. They can be contacted at: Or visit their