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

American Christian Connection
August 22, 2022

Fox News' Shannon Bream: 'God Often Allows Us to Walk through Valleys – for Our Own Good'

The newest host of Fox News Sunday is crediting lessons God taught her during a low moment in her life for her new role, saying the Lord "often allows us to walk through valleys" for "our own good." Shannon Bream last week was named permanent host of Fox News Sunday to replace Chris Wallace, who left in 2021 for rival CNN. Her first show will air on Sept. 11. Bream, in a series of social media posts, looked back fondly to a time she was fired as a turning point in her career. "Y'all, I got fired from my first tv job, by a man who told me I was the worst person he'd ever seen on tv," she tweeted. "He also told me I'd never make it in this business. I was humiliated. I cried ... a lot. I prayed ... a lot. That man did me a favor.

New Texas Law Requires Public Schools to Display 'In God We Trust' Posters

A new Texas law orders public schools to display posters with the national motto "In God We Trust" in a prominent place. Senate Bill 797, proposed by Texas Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes, requires schools to display "In God We Trust" posters – which must be donated by a private donor or purchased by the school with private donations. The display must also feature the American flag and the Texas state flag. No other additional "words, images, or other information" are permitted to be included on the poster. "The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God," Hughes tweeted last week. "I co-authored the bill in 2003 that allowed schools to display the motto, and last year I authored the "In God We Trust Act," which requires a school to display the motto if there is no cost associated with the display," he continued.

God Wanted Me When the Foster-Care System Didn’t

I bounced from home to home before finding the Father my heart yearned for.

America claims to not have orphanages, but our group homes are actually quite similar. Growing up, I lived in one with nine other young women who had absorbed a message of worthlessness from the foster care system. The rules were strict. Cameras watched us from every corner of the house except our bedrooms and the restrooms. The school was on the same property as the home, which meant we weren’t allowed to go very far very often. On Sundays, however, we were allowed to go to church, which at least afforded a brief respite from the sterile group-home environment.

This Week's Thought

by Brad Campbell

Just a thought to help start your week.

One of my favorite sights in New Orleans would be the trolleys running up and down Canal Street.  Although I’ve never ridden one, I’ve watched many.  They are identified by the red paint color and the ringing bells.

New Orleans can provide a sensory overload of sorts.  There is so much to see.  Now, granted, I have seen some things there that should never be seen.  There are so many sounds, too, especially the loud jazz music played on the street corners or by a group of individuals marching down the middle of the street, oblivious to the vehicles trying to make their way through the mobs.  But I’ve also heard some things and had some things said to me there that should never be said.

I’ve witnessed the throwing of the beads during the parades, I’ve felt the downpour of drenching rains while caught walking through the French Quarter, I’ve seen the public drunkenness and all states of dress or lack thereof.  I’ve also been witness to the smells of New Orleans, from the wafting odors of fresh beignets, very strong coffee, and fried alligator to the very unpleasant smells of public nastiness unworthy of mention.  And yet, through it all, it is such a fascinating place to visit.

Our lives are full.  Parts are pleasant, but some are far from it.  There is the sweet smelling blessing but also the nose burning smell of sin.  There are the beauties in our world, such as the ornate St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, and then there are the unpleasantries of the bums sprawled out in the middle of the public walkways.  Life brings a variety of experiences to us.  And each and every one of them make us who we are today.

New Orleans wouldn’t be New Orleans without every single one of the things I mentioned above.  Every one of those things enhances the experience.  Every one of the things we go through, or even step in, in our lives enhances our witness.  The nastiness helps us appreciate the beauty.  The sour smells help us appreciate the sweet aromas.

As you meander through the back alleyways of your week ahead, be ever mindful of the sounds you hear, the sights you see, and the places you step.  You just might not truly appreciate the beauty of life without them.

Just a thought.

Living in the 'Eternal Now'

by Jim Denison

A robot dog with a rocket-propelled grenade strapped to its back has been unveiled at a Russian arms fair. Two high school students in California have identified two new scorpion species (as though we needed any more). 

First Lady Jill Biden presumably receives the best medical care available in the US and is double-vaccinated and double-boosted against COVID-19. However, she recently tested positive for the virus and will quarantine in South Carolina, where she and the president are vacationing. Of course, President Biden recently contracted the virus twice as well.

And a new study warns that a disastrous megaflood causing more than $1 trillion in losses could be on the way in California. The chances of such a crisis have doubled in recent years, according to the report.

These stories all illustrate our mortality, whether from warfare, disease, or natural disasters. This moment is the only moment any of us is promised. Jesus could return later today, or we could go to him.

However, my purpose is not to depress us but to encourage us. Since we have only this day, we are free to focus fully on this day. When we do that, we experience the eternal significance of present faithfulness.


Western culture from the ancient Greeks to today has viewed history as a line on a page. We have a past, a present, and presumably a future. By contrast, an Eastern mindset has historically been more cyclical, following a reincarnation motif. Contemporary secular society is intensely existentialist, picturing our lives as random, chaotic dots on a white board.

But there’s a fourth option.

Theologian Paul Tillich spoke of the “eternal now.” He pointed to the fact that God is present in each moment of our lives. In fact, we might say, all of God there is, is in this moment. 

That’s because he is the Great I Am (Exodus 3:14), not the “I Was” or the “I Will Be.” He created time and he transcends it. As C. S. Lewis noted, if we think of time as a line on a page, God is the page.

As a result, we can live fully for God today in the knowledge that every moment we spend serving God is a moment that will echo in heaven forever. Our lives will be “gold, silver, [and] precious stones” leading to “reward” (1 Corinthians 3:12-14).


Then, when we die, we don’t. Jesus was adamant: “Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26). When we take our last breath here, we take our first breath there. We close our eyes here and open them there. We step from death into life, from time into eternity.

No wonder the Bible says, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

Paul wrote 2 Timothy in the clear knowledge that he would soon be martyred for his faith. In fact, he stated that “the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6). But later in the epistle he testified, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom” (v. 18).

Note that the apostle saw death as “rescue” from the present evil world. We should see it the same way. Death does not win—we do. The sea does not win when the sailor is rescued from it and brought safely to shore. Those still on the sea cannot see him on land, but that makes him no less alive. 

Someone said of a loved one that they “passed away.”

A friend corrected them: “Actually, for them, the world passed away.”


So, let us embrace this day with conviction and courage. Let us see the cultural challenges we face as opportunities to serve Jesus faithfully. Let us remember that the highest price we may one day pay for our faith is worth its cost and so much more.

Frederick Buechner, one of my favorite writers and theologians, stepped from time into eternity last Monday. He described the relationship of death to eternal life this way: “What’s lost is nothing compared to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”

As a result, he encouraged us: “In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.”

Called to Be Faithful in the Here and Now

by John Stonestreet and Timothy D. Padgett

Perhaps the strongest antidote for optimism or for misplaced faith in our fellow man is watching the news. Of course, much of the media we consume is voyeuristic, so in a sort of supply-and-demand scenario, bad news makes headlines more than good news. At the same time, this is more than a problem of clickbait filling our newsfeeds. A series of events in recent years suggests that our cultural center cannot hold much longer. 

Not decades but just a few days ago, prominent novelist Salman Rushdie was stabbed, not in some “shady” part of the world, but in public at a lecture in upstate New York. Also, dogs in San Francisco are becoming hooked on meth. Apparently, human excrement is so common in public areas, pets have learned where to go for a quick high from the residue of addicted residents. Radical ideologies continue to dominate headlines, which few outside of ivory towers had heard of until a few years ago. They are now compulsory at some schools. And, those who challenge the new orthodoxy are often ostracized from what is an increasingly impolite society. Healthcare now involves practices that, until yesterday, would’ve rightly been considered abuse, including children having otherwise healthy organs turned inside out.

Clearly, the state of our world is largely rotten. For some Christians, this indicates that the end is nigh. Particularly in the last century or so, many books and sermons have declared that we are living in the last days, so the best we can hope for is to go down fighting this increasingly fallen world.

It’s easy to forget in all these headlines that things have been bad before, in some ways even worse than today. In that time and place, God called His people to keep the faith, commit to the tasks at hand, and steward the time they were given by remaining faithful. Sometimes they won against the forces of darkness and death. Sometimes they lost. Either way, their calling remained the same, and God’s Kingdom marched on. 

William Wilberforce was among those followers of Christ who faced down great obstacles. He deserves all of the recognition he receives as an archetype for faithful Christian engagement in the world. Eventually, because of his efforts, he won a long battle over the entrenched power of slavery in the British Empire, what he called one of the great aims that God had set before Him. But none of it happened in a day.

Wilberforce began his fight against human bondage in the late 1780s, but he did not see the fruit of his work for decades. The slave trade wasn’t banned until 1807 across the British Empire and was not fully brought to an end until 1833, just days before he died. How often must he have wondered at his impossible task? How often did he consider giving up?

Closer to our own time and less well known is a story out of Russia. Detailed in a new book by Matthew Heise, The Gates of Hell: An Untold Story of Faith and Perseverance in the Early Soviet Union tells of the trials of Lutheran Christians living under the newly founded Communist tyranny. The book is encouraging and heartbreaking at the same time. The constant determination of these Christians to be faithful to their Lord in the midst of some of the 20th century’s most intense persecution is encouraging. Yet, by all earthly terms, their resistance absolutely failed. They fought to retain their freedom and their faith, but few managed to even retain their lives. 

They had no way to know their story’s end—that all were wiped out by atheist totalitarianism. Regardless, they were faithful to the end.

Our task is no different. We don’t know if ours is a Wilberforce moment, when the enduring faithfulness of God’s people standing athwart the tides of history will push this world back to reality. Or if this is a Russian Lutheran moment: We will lose our lives in our quest to be faithful. What we do know is that Christ has called us to this time and this place. As Gandalf said to Frodo, when he wondered why he should have to live in such times, being meant to be here and now “is a very encouraging thought.”

So, whatever comes, great victories or the full evaporation of progress, our task is the same: faithfulness, not success.

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