Samuel Rodriguez First Hispanic to Offer Keynote at MLK Memorial

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The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez will be the first Latino leader to serve as the keynote speaker for for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service.

The special event which serves to observes the civil rights movement leader's birthday, will be held on Monday. King Center CEO Bernice A. King called Rodriguez an “electrifying orator and “one of the most dynamic and inspiring proponents of the social gospel in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), turned down a request to participate in President Obama's inaugural services in order to speak at the event, which is the nation's 'flagship' ecumenical religious observance on the MLK holiday. Read more...

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Fear Leads to the 'Dark Side', Not God's Will

As a little boy raised in the church, I was often confused by the words of certain songs. For instance, whenever the song “Bringing in the Sheaves” was sung, I thought we were singing about bringing in the “sheeps.” I always wondered where we would get these “sheeps” and why we wanted to bring them in anyway. Spiritual themes, whether spoken or sung, can easily confuse the simple mind of a child; and while I learned quite early that “sheeps” is not even a word, the topic of God’s will continued to be a point of confusion for a long time. 

I remember another song we used to sing, usually after a missionary had told depressing stories about the hardships and toils of the mission field: “Jesus, use me / Oh, Lord, don’t refuse me / Surely there’s a work that I must do / And even though it’s humble, help my will to crumble / Though the cost be great, I’ll work for You.”

As wonderful as those words are in and of themselves, there was something about the combination of the lyrics, the music and the context that made me afraid of God’s will for my life. I thought He must have something simply dreadful for me to do. I just knew He was going to send me deep into the jungle where I would live in a mud hut, survive on a diet of grubs and wind up being eaten by cannibals.  Read more...

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American-Iranian Pastor Faces Death Penalty for Naming Christ

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional and human rights law, announced Wednesday it is representing the wife of an Iranian-American pastor who is being held in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith.

Saeed Abedini, who converted to Christianity, has been indicted by an Iranian court and is facing formal charges that could result in a lengthy prison term or possibly even the death penalty. The ACLJ, which is providing legal representation for his U.S.-based family, is also launching an international campaign calling on the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and Congress to demand the release of Pastor Saeed.

“This is a very troubling pattern that we have seen inside Iran—Christian husbands and fathers who are punished for their religious beliefs,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ. “What makes this particular case so much more disturbing is that Pastor Saeed, who was born and raised in Iran, has been granted U.S. citizenship. He's been in prison for nearly three months simply because of his Christian faith. Read more...

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Cultural Engagement Involves Rules

If you want to learn about engaging the culture, go to New York City, stand in Times Square and simply look around. In fact, try not to look around. The multitude of flashing iconic images representing the latest music, art, movies, fashion and personalities virtually scream in your ear, every day influencing an increasingly homogenized global culture. Just like earthquakes can produce massive waves that travel thousands of miles from their origin, Manhattan produces a cultural tsunami that reaches all the way to Manila.

A recent meeting in New York with an executive from a major TV network confirmed my sense that as Christians, we are still lagging behind in the culture wars. In essence, this producer told me, “Christians aren’t shaping the culture in America; the culture is shaping them.” Read more...

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Summit Life-Changing Program Turns 50

In celebration of a half-century of life-changing, Christian worldview education, Summit Ministries will hold a dinner Celebration on October 20 in Colorado.

Under the leadership of new president Dr. Jeff Myers, Summit Ministries has provided a significant impact on the youth that it trains with its summer conferences and adult training programs. In a recent study, Summit’s Turning the Tide: Evidence of Impact Study, it was found that graduates of Summit Ministries affirm a Biblical worldview at four times the rate of the average born-again Christian. Graduates also experience up to a 429 percent growth in spiritual disciplines and positive habits of cultural engagement.

Summit grads not only understand their own Biblical worldview better after their experience at Summit training courses, they alsobetter understand many other major worldviews and topics covered during the course of the training. And when Summitstudents graduate from Summit’s programs, they show demonstrable increases in political activity. Read more...

Benevolence Shows a Love for Jesus

“Do not forget or neglect to do kindness and good, to be generous and distribute and contribute to the needy … for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb. 13:16, AMP)

Being radically generous and helping others is easier than you may think. I have asked people to share practical ways we can show love, have read books, searched the Internet, and been aggressive on my own journey to find creative ways to help others. Below are some helpful ideas to remember in your daily life and as you think of ways your church can show love in action. Read more...

Do Something

A Servant’s Heart Pleases God

Some people you meet change your life forever.

When I met Abeba, a beautiful, sweet and special little girl in one of our Joyce Meyer Ministries feeding programs in Ethiopia, she was severely malnourished. Her little body was swollen, already in the shut-down mode of starvation. Many in her village were starving, but she was one of the worst cases.

The thing that blew me away about Abeba was her joy. Despite how much pain she was in from malnutrition and her living conditions, Abeba’s smile always glowed. I had the opportunity to give food to Abeba’s mother for Abeba and her nine brothers and sisters. They were visibly happy and thankful just to have something to eat. Often, the food our ministry provides in this region is the difference between life and death for many of these children and families. Abeba now had a new shot at life. Read more...

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Ralph Winter: The Impact of Storytelling

Ralph Winter is among a rare (and elite) group of film professionals who have produced some of the largest budget movies in Hollywood history. With a résumé that includes the Star Trek, X-Men and Fantastic Four feature-film series, along with I, Robot, Planet of the Apes and many others, his movies have grossed more than $2 billion at the box office. The bottom line: Ralph Winter knows how to tell a story.

For the May-June issue of Ministry Today Magazine, we asked Winter, a longtime Christian who spends as much time mentoring a new generation of Hollywood professionals as he does on a movie set, to sit down with us and share his principles for storytelling that impacts an audience. The gospel is the greatest story ever told, and as leaders we have a responsibility to tell it in a way that resonates with people as they hear God’s story of rescue, redemption and restoration of His creation. Here, Winter unpacks for pastors what makes a good story—and good storyteller—in the 21st century: Read more...

Joel Osteen: Gospel Communicator

In the late 1980s, I was asked to direct a series of prime-time TV specials from Lakewood Church featuring pastor John Osteen. The producer who invited me was his son Joel, who at the time was producing his dad’s TV program and leading the media ministry for the church. In 1982, Joel left Oral Roberts University at the end of his sophomore year to help his father launch the growing TV ministry nationally. For the next 17 years, Joel produced his father’s program, growing it into one of the world’s most successful media ministries. 

During that time, Joel and I became close friends as well as colleagues. I was invited back many times, and after Joel took the helm as senior pastor at Lakewood, we created a new TV outreach, which would become the most watched inspirational program in history. To date, his TV broadcasts reach 10 million U.S. households each week. Read more...

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