Weekly encouraging news and information for Christians in the United States of America.
View this email in your browser

American Christian Connection
October 3, 2022

At Least 76 Dead from Ian, Rescue and Recovery Ongoing: 'Everyone Needs to Do Something'

It's unbelievable devastation, much like a war zone. That's what residents in parts of Florida are facing in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, and survivors here in Fort Myers are desperate for help.

At least 76 people are confirmed dead as rescue crews are still searching. So far, more than 1,600 people have been rescued. The National Guard has deployed helicopters to fly rescue missions to people who are still stranded on Florida's barrier islands. 

Here at the Legacy Marina in Fort Myers, the devastation is stunning, with boats stacked one on top of the other from the storm surge. 

Cleanup is underway, but that could take months. Thankfully, Operation Blessing is here helping rebuild and distribute urgently needed supplies, restoring hope to those who need it most. 

Why We Love ‘The Chosen’ So Much

The Chosena multiseason look at the life of Christ through the eyes of his disciples, has garnered more than 50 million fans in 180 countries with its engaging and affecting storytelling, according to producers. Even viewers initially skeptical that anything good could come out of the Nazareth of Christian entertainment have found themselves hooked by The Chosen’s imaginative scripts and high production value.

Director Dallas Jenkins has raised the bar for the quality of religious-themed entertainment. The show has broken crowdfunding records, raking in $10 million for the first season and attracting $12 million from 125,000 people for the second season, which wrapped up with the season finale on July 11.

But it’s not merely higher-quality filming techniques or the relatability of actor Jonathan Roumie’s portrayal of Jesus that accounts for The Chosen’s power. It comes from its convincing portrayal of each disciple’s transformation of desire. Characters who have small hopes at the beginning of the show evolve into people who want great things. As we watch the disciples change, we are drawn into the mystery of their transformation in Christ.

This Christian Converted to Islam, but Then He Met Jesus in a Supernatural Dream and It Changed Everything

Mike Westerfield was in crisis mode. Raised as a "religious Christian," Mike was involved in his church and even preached on occasion. But when he had no answers for the Muslim inmates who were giving him Islamic literature at a Florida prison, he did the unthinkable. He converted to Islam.

"I ended up abandoning Christianity and embraced Islam. I was a Muslim for 12 years and attended an Islamic University for some time in hopes of becoming a Muslim imam or scholar. After about 7 years of being a faithful Muslim, I started rethinking Jesus' role after learning more about Islam, its deception, and lies." 

"I started looking back into my old books on Christian apologetics from a Bible college I attended and began reading the Bible..."

"In 2012, I ended up having a dream about Jesus and in it I was covered in his blood!  I couldn't understand why I had this dream but it was truly amazing and I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Jesus' blood filled the scene in my dream. I tried to run from it, but it covered me entirely!  I felt such peace and love, and Jesus' dark brown eyes pierced my soul!" 

"I called Abdu Murray and told him about my dream, and he was shocked! The night I had the dream, he and Josh McDowell had prayed that Jesus would appear to me in a dream and show himself to me!"

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

Fall is definitely in the air where I live.  Our daytime temperatures have been in the 70’s and low 80’s, and nighttime temps in the upper 40’s.  The house air conditioner hasn’t kicked on in over a week.  As I sit typing this, the birds are singing, the morning sun is warming the earth, and God’s blessings are too numerous to mention.

I consider one of those blessings to be that I am from a family (on both sides) of hard workers of the land — people who spent many an hour outdoors plowing & planting, picking & gathering, and chop chop chopping with the hoe.  I distinctly remember my parents telling me of their memories from this time of year spent in the cotton fields like the North Mississippi cotton patch in my photo this week.

Modern-day machinery changed the way cotton was picked many years ago, but my parents are from the generation that picked cotton by hand, one cotton boll at a time.  My mother recalls seeing her father teary-eyed at how much cotton was wasted and left behind when the machines started being implemented into the picking process.  There is definitely something to be said for working with the hands and getting our best job done.

As these cooler days creep in and this year begins its final quarter, there is a time to reflect on the year.  How much goodness did I plant?  How many seeds of the Gospel did I sow?  How many rows of folks have I walked among, sharing the Son-shine and thirst-quenching waters of His love?  How many times have I dragged out the old hoe and chopped away at those pesky weeds of doubt and despair that seem to pop up everywhere?

Am I doing my best job in His fields?  Or will I stand at the end of the lonely row teary-eyed over all those who have been missed?

You may not see much when you see a cotton field, but I see His blessings on my life, and I’m so very grateful.

Just a thought.

The Songs of Suffering

by Elizabeth Elliott

God’s ultimate purpose in all suffering is joy.  Scripture is full of songs of praise that came out of great trials.  The feat of the Passover commemorated God’s deliverance from the long slavery Israel had endured in Egypt.  The last day of the Passover was to be a pilgrim feast, according to God’s command, so that they could tell their sons what God had done for them when He brought them out of Egypt.  The sacrifice of the firstborn male of every animal and the redemption of every firstborn son were signs of this great delivery, sacrifices of thanksgiving. 

When God miraculously saved His people from the chariots of the army of Egypt by driving back the sea all night with a strong east wind, the people put their faith in Him and in His servant Moses, and all sang a song together.

I will sing to the Lord, for he has risen up in triumph;
The horse and his rider he has hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my refuge and my defence,
He has shown himself my deliverer.
He is my God, and I will glorify him.

Exodus 15:1-2

The song goes on for pages, recounting the Lord’s marvelous power, love, and mercy.  Miriam the prophetess took up a tambourine and the women danced while Miriam sang.  The greater the peril they had been in, the greater the joy of deliverance.

The terrors and privations of their long journey through the wilderness had to be endured, but how much more wonderful the promised land would be as a result.  Who can enjoy the fire who has never been cold, or cold water who has never been thirsty?

The heartbreak of the prodigal’s father turned into dancing, singing, and feasting when the son came home.

The angels in heaven sing more joyfully over the repentance of a single sinner than over ninety-nine who need no repentance.  

The woman who loses a small coin is so ecstatic to find it that she calls on her friends to rejoice with her. 

And the virgin Mary, a humble village girl, sings her Magnificat:

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord, rejoice, rejoice, my spirit, in God my Savior; so tenderly has he looked upon his servant, humble as she is.

Luke 1:46-48

Do People See Christ in You?

by Jim Denison

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are visiting Puerto Rico today and Florida on Wednesday to view areas devastated by Hurricane Ian. There have been eighty-seven confirmed deaths from the storm as of this morning, but the number is expected to rise.

Meanwhile, a cultural storm is brewing that is devastating not just a part of our country but our entire society.

The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade one hundred days ago yesterday, which was a historic victory for life. However, of all the massive consequences so far, one is especially foundational: the “culture wars” are coming home. States and local communities are taking ownership of morality issues on unprecedented levels and in unprecedented ways.

Let’s consider some examples.

Last Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 107, which David French explains this way: “A child can cross state lines to obtain ‘gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care’ and obtain immediate protection from efforts from parents to bring their child home.” In short, if your child goes to California for sex-change surgery, there is nothing you can do to stop them once they get to the state. The order even blocks parents from receiving information about their child’s treatment.

This is just one of the ways many in our secularized culture are seeking to dismantle the family and overturn traditional morality.

A Wisconsin school board is going forward with sex ed curriculum that teaches lessons on gender identity to elementary school students. A New Jersey law forces schools to teach LGBTQ history. The New Jersey Department of Education has imposed sex education standards requiring school districts to teach middle school students about sexual activities I will not describe here.

One author even has a book titled Abolish the Family.

This trend is extending into Christian denominations as well. The United Methodist Church and many of its local congregations are more affirming of LGBTQ ideology than ever, though many local congregations remain committed to biblical orthodoxy. The same is true for the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and numerous other mainline denominations. Even some Baptist churches are embracing LGBTQ ideology over biblical sexuality.

If you stand for biblical morality, expect to face the opprobrium of society as a result. As one example, the Supreme Court’s approval has sunk to historic lows after its abortion ruling.

How should followers of Jesus respond most redemptively?

Secular people are unlikely to be persuaded by biblical arguments. I assume that a Muslim could not persuade you to adopt Islam based on verses from the Qur’an.

So, following Paul’s example in employing Greek logic and quoting Greek philosophers to persuade Greek philosophers (Acts 17:22-31), we need to understand those we seek to persuade. Let’s begin with the reasoning used by secularists who oppose biblical morality.

For advocates of California’s new law protecting children who seek “gender-affirming” therapies from intervention by their parents, any parents who oppose such therapies are abusing their children. Abortion proponents believe the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe victimized women by denying them “reproductive freedom.”

More Americans than ever before believe that people who oppose same-sex marriage are just as discriminatory as people who oppose interracial marriage. It is conventional wisdom today that LGBTQ rights are just as valid and vital as any other minority rights.

Now, let’s use secular evidence to show our secular friends that secular morality is not working. For example:

  • One consequence of the “sexual freedom” movement is a horrific upsurge in sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis.
  • In response to federal recommendations that all adult Americans ages nineteen to sixty-four be screened for anxiety, the Wall Street Journal headlines “The Next Pandemic: Anxiety Over Life Itself.”
  • A 2021 poll found that just 49 percent of Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic about the state of the world, a low point since the survey began in 2009

I plan to discuss several biblical responses in tomorrow’s Daily Article. For today, let’s close with this fact: to persuade people that they need what we have, they must want what we have.

Advertisers work hard to convince people who don’t need a new car that we want a new car. Otherwise, we’ll be content with what we drive. The same is true of our souls. If people see Christ in us, the “God-shaped emptiness” in their souls will be drawn to our Lord.

So, how can we live in such a way that others see Christ in us?

John, Jesus’ beloved disciple and best friend, counseled us: “Whoever says he abides in [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). This is both biblical and logical. If I abide in Christ (John 15:5) and his Spirit thus controls my life (Ephesians 5:18), the Spirit of God will make me more like the Son of God (Romans 8:29).

Therefore, I can determine the degree to which I follow Jesus by the degree to which I imitate Jesus. So can the world.

Are you confident that the people who meet you today will see Christ in you?

If not, why not?

Join the conversation on our Facebook page
Copyright © 2021
American Christian Association

P.O. Box 15011  |  Hattiesburg, MS 39404

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
American Christian Association · P.O. Box 15011 · Hattiesburg, MS 39404 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp