Category Archives: News

Persecution in the U.S.? Hardly compared to Iran. Please read.

Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in prison in Iran for apostasy.  He is scheduled to be executed for not adhering to Islamic law, unless he recants his faith in Jesus Christ, he will be the first Christian executed in Iran since 1990. 

This is outrageous.  You can do something to stop it.  Presently a stay of execution has been ordered.  However, more pressure must  be put on the Iranian government in order to keep our brother in Christ alive doing what he was built for.  Please make your voice heard, both in Congress and before the throne of our Heavenly Father.

A Washington Post article concerning this situation can be found here.
Congressman John Boehner issued the following statement here.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has this article regarding Pastor Youcef.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback tweeted the following message: IRAN:Pastor Yousef #Nadarkhani is about to be executed for his faith.Please protest this! http://bit.ly/mQ0FDv

The following letter was written by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhanito his church in June 2010.  It was translated from Farsi to English.  Simultaneously, my heart was encouraged and distraught.  Encouraged because I believe in a big God who wants his word preached in such a dark place.  Encouraged because we can have a part in the saving of a life for the Kingdom.  Distraught because of the wickedness that dwells on our planet.  Distraught at how easy folks fall away in the U.S.A. from Christ, church, family, and relationships for much, much less compared to this.  Help us Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers. Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement.

For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out. As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.

Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.

I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

We are passing by special and sensitive days.They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.

Therefore he (the true believer) does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering. Because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.

Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

How can it be possible for a believer to understand these words?

Not only when he is focusing on Jesus Christ with adapting his life according to the life Jesus lived when he was on earth? As it is said ” O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

Have we not read and heard: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests, and they have to face those same tests in a more difficult manner, because no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests, and gain victory.

Therefore in the place of Christ’s followers, we must not feel desperate, but we have to pray to God in supplication with more passion to help us with any assistance we may need.

According to what Paul has said: In every temptation, God himself will make a way for us to tolerate it.

O beloved ones, difficulties do not weaken mankind, but they reveal the true human nature.

It will be good for us to occasionally face persecutions and abnormalities, since these abnormalities will persuade us to search our hearts, and to survey ourselves. So as a result, we conclude that troubles are difficult, but usually good and useful to build us.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must be more careful than any other time. Because in these days, the hearts and thoughts of many are revealed, so that the faith is tested. May your treasure be where there is no moth and rust.

I would like to remind you of some verses that we nearly discuss everyday, (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.) but as long as our human will has priority over God’s will, his will will not be done.

As we have learned from him in Gethsemane, he surrendered his will to the father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

What we are bearing today, is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because neither he has tested us more than our faith and our endurance, nor does he do as such. And as we have known from before, we must beware not to fail, but to advance in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, And consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to his name. He said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon.”However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Discipline yourself with faith in the word of God. Retain your souls with patience. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.

May you are granted grace and blessings increasingly in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

Yusef Nadarkhani
Lakan Prison in Rasht
2/June/2010

Talk about Jesus

I was flipping through the channels late on Saturday night. The TV is hardly ever on on Saturdays, much less at 10:25 PM.  My sermon was all finished, I was printing it, and just brushing my teeth, readying for bed. Sports on 9news usually comes on right at that time, I wanted to see how the Rockies did. All sports stories were told except one, I missed the Rockies score. Probably doesn’t matter much, they are so far behind, it wouldn’t matter if they win every game here on out through the end of the season.

I digress.

A preacher is often asked to pray before a NASCAR race for safety, etc. Well, a Southern Baptist brother has caused quite a stir when he prayed a collection of sentences that would seem quite out of the ordinary. His prayer can be seen and heard here

This morning the media world, sports world, TV world, radio world, Southern Baptist world, religious folks world and anyone-else-who-may-care world has been ablaze and turned upside down by the words of this pastor.  He has been interviewed by radio stations, TV stations, ad infinitum.  His “smokin’ hot wife” has even been interviewed.   I am certain his elders have been harangued to fire him.

Was his prayer sacriligious?  Was it satire?  Was it disrespectful?  Was it hyperbole?  Was his prayer a prayer? 

No amount of money could have been paid to advertise and draw attention to Jesus and prayer than what this pastor has done.  His church could not have come up with a better scheme to get people talking about Father, Jesus, prayer, and kingdom issues than this.  I am certain he thought long and hard, counseled with others, and counted the cost for what he did.  It really was brilliant.  More people are talking about it.  The entire prayer has been shown over and over again for thousands of folks to see.  They are hearing the whole thing from “Heavenly Father… to … In Jesus name.” 

In an age when media is blocking that stuff out, we have a situation where they are broadcasting it far and wide.  In an attempt to mock and ridicule, they are actually promoting conversation.  Folks who would never be talking about Jesus and prayer, are, much less even think about it.

So my thought for Monday morning is- let’s be creative and radical.  Let’s figure out tricky and clever ways to get people to talk about Jesus, ask questions about Jesus, and then live for Jesus.  Hats off to this gutsy preacher for what he did.

Boogity, boogity, boogity.

Relief Aid for Japan

Japanese Tourboat rests precariously on one of only a few remaining structures left in Otsuchi, Japan.

Parts of the island of Japan are now nearly 8 feet from where they were just a week ago.  A record breaking earthquake along with a record breaking death count and physical devastation has hit our world like never before.  With our ability to receive vast amounts of information at break-neck speed, the impact of this natural disaster is so much greater than many of us can fathom.   Our ability to watch a mud wave roll through towns, farms, and countryside is beyond surreal.  There was nothing any of us could do to stop it.  It destroyed everything in its path.

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Donation ‘Thank You’ from Kiwi Pastor

 

Donation Thank you from Kate Cremisino on Vimeo

I received this video thank you on Facebook just a bit ago. How stinkin’ exciting to think that our resources can be gathered, transmitted, distributed, and operating with such speed and precision. What a blessing it is to be a blessing to friends and fellow kingdom-subjects down-under.

“Castle Rock Bible Church in Colorado donated money our way to help people here after our recent earthquake. So far we have used some of that money to donate goods to this relief effort through Grace Vineyard Church, which has a set up a food/supply bank at the beach campus, in a badly-affected area. This is a THANK YOU from the beach campus pastor, Sam Harvey. “

News from Our New Zealand Friends

Check out this video from today by a Pastor David MacGregor, the pastor of Grace Vineyard who has mobilized a crew working on earthquake response:

I just received a Facebook note on my personal page from our friends Noah and Kate Cremisino.  Their house is sitting smack dab over the epicenter of the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.  We were so blessed to have been able to help them with an offering which far exceeded anything I could have imagined it could have been.  They have been helped so much that they are using the funds to help out the community.  Here is her FB note from just a few minutes ago:

Tell your church THANKS! We are starting to give out your church’s donation todays—buying food in bulk to give to a relief center in the hardest-hit area of “New Brighton”. This church opened a distribution center because this area has no operating stores and getting across a severely damaged town takes half the day. And with job losses due to damaged buildings and the city center closed, money is tight.

Thank you everybody.  Pastor Mark.