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American Christian Connection
August 15, 2022

100 Million Encounter Gospel through Billy Graham Internet Ministry: 'They’re Desperate for Hope'

More than 100 million people worldwide have been confronted with the Gospel through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's internet evangelism ministry known as "Search for Jesus," according to new data from the organization. The Search for Jesus ministry, launched in 2012 as a way to reach people with the Gospel online, marked its 10th anniversary this month with new data: 100 million people have visited the ministry's websites, and more than 3 million have indicated a decision for Christ and received follow-up.

Lila Rose calls on lawmakers to help make America 'a friendlier place for families'

A prominent pro-life activist is calling on lawmakers at both the state and federal levels to embrace policies that will help make America “a friendlier place for families” as many legislators allied with her movement remain hesitant to support such initiatives. In an interview with The Christian Post, Lila Rose, founder and president of the pro-life advocacy organization Live Action, discussed the state of the pro-life movement and what laws she would like to see enacted to make life easier for women and their children now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Kentucky pastor helps over 300 residents traumatized by deadly flooding

'Without the strength of the Lord, there is no possible way'

When rain waters that seemed heavier than usual began to fall in eastern Kentucky roughly two weeks ago, Pastor Brad Stevens of the Church of God Worship Center in Clay County said he wasn't afraid. As he laid down to rest that night, Stevens said he remembers thinking, "It is just water after all." However, to his great surprise, the next day, on July 27, upon waking up, Stevens realized it was still raining just as hard as it had been the night before. As the rain poured with record intensity, the waters ravaged neighboring communities and caused extensive flash flooding.

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.

3 Reasons We Should 'Do All to the Glory of God'

by Jim Denison

The school board in Fargo, North Dakota, has voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before their biweekly meetings, ruling that the Pledge does not align with the district’s diversity code. The board’s vice chairman explained that the problem is two words: “Under God.”

The words “under God” were added to the Pledge in 1954 by a joint resolution of Congress and have withstood numerous legal challenges over the years. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, upon signing the bill, stated: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.”

How many of our leaders today believe that “spiritual weapons” are “our country’s most powerful resource”?

The Fargo school board certainly does not. In fact, the board’s president recommended that members replace the Pledge of Allegiance with a “shared statement of purpose” which she thought was more appropriate for their work.

In other words, rather than being “one nation under God,” they will be “one nation under us.”


While our nation slides ever further into moral relativism and missional chaos, many of our geopolitical enemies are choosing the opposite course. Consider Iran as an example.

Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed roughly ten times Friday as he prepared to speak at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. His family said yesterday that he remains in critical condition in the hospital. Rushdie was taken off a ventilator over the weekend but is being treated for multiple wounds and may lose his right eye.

His attacker’s motives are not yet known, but an initial investigation suggested he had posted on social media about his support of Iran. He may have acted in response to an edict (known as a fatwa) by Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 calling for Rushdie’s death.

Rushdie’s novel, Satanic Verses, is considered blasphemous by many Muslims. The fatwa calls for Rushdie’s murder and offers a $3 million bounty for anyone who kills him. It has never been revoked by Iran’s leaders.

An Iranian government official denied today that Tehran was involved in the assault, but he added that his country considers “[Rushdie] and his supporters worth [sic] of blame and even condemnation.” The front page of a newspaper in Tehran said yesterday that Rushdie had gotten “divine vengeance” and claimed that former President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, his former secretary of state, “are next.”

In related news, the Justice Department unsealed charges last week against a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for attempting to arrange the murder of former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Mike Pompeo and former State Department Iran policy coordinator Brian Hook have received extended Secret Service protection due to Iranian threats as well.


A perceptive essay in the New York Times explains why Iran remains such a threat to the US. Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, reminds us that the 1979 Iranian revolution was fueled by religious fundamentalists focused on anti-Americanism. From then until today, the regime’s rulers have made their opposition to the United States central to their nation’s revolutionary identity.

Whether the issue is Iran’s nuclear program, its sponsorship of terrorist regimes in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza, or its geopolitical ambition to rebuild the Persian Empire, the ideological pattern is clear: America is the “Great Satan” who must be opposed for the sake of Iran’s survival. Iran’s entrenched leaders depend on this “threat” to legitimize their power, unify their military, and forestall meaningful reforms within their country. 

I am reminded of an observation a perceptive friend shared with me many years ago. He noted that to motivate people to your cause, do three things: (1) convince them they have an enemy; (2) convince them they cannot defeat their enemy; and (3) convince them you will defeat their enemy if they vote for you, give you money, or do whatever else you want them to do.

This strategy has empowered Iran’s leaders for more than four decades. The despotic rulers of Russia, China, Cuba, and North Korea are similarly fixated on the “threat” of the West. This missional focus enables and protects their leadership despite their manifest failures to enhance the lives of their people.


On one hand, we have the West’s relativistic insistence on tolerance of all truth claims (except those considered “intolerant”), to the demise of truth and the forfeiture of missional focus. On the other, we have autocratic regimes that focus missionally on external threats (usually America and the West) to enhance their personal power at the expense of their citizens.

Scripture offers us a third way: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Let’s consider three reasons we should embrace this missional command.

One: God cannot empower any other purpose, because to glorify anyone or anything ahead of himself is to commit idolatry. As a result, when we seek to glorify God, we position ourselves to experience his omnipotent power and omniscient leadership. When we don’t, we don’t. 

Two: He made all that is, which is why “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). (For more on the stupendous magnificence of God’s creation, see my latest website article, “Supergiant Betelgeuse has unprecedented stellar eruption.”)

Three: He purchased our eternal salvation. We should therefore respond with gratitude: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

I plan to say more tomorrow about living for God’s glory. For today, let’s close with advice from the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (4 BC–AD 65): “Adopt once and for all some single rule to live by, and make your whole life conform to it.”

What “single rule” will you live by today?

Why the Church is Still Christ's Plan A

by John Stonestreet and Timothy D. Padgett

Recently, the Colson Center announced an upcoming Breakpoint course entitled, The Essential Church: Why Christians (and the World) Still Need the Church.

The responses we have received just to the title reveal a lot about where people are in regard to the Church.

“Dear John, ‘What is the Church for?’ It used to be the Body of Christ. And the Bride of Christ. Being conformed into His Image. They were to ‘love one another.’ Despise is closer. ‘What is the Church for?’ Well ... I have no clue anymore.”

“The nutjobs and con artists have run people away: Get rid of them and maybe people might come back.”

“I had to quit hanging out with other Christians so I could hang out with nice people again.”

“What is the Church for? To psychologically abuse people, particularly children, with indoctrination into its religion of FEAR.”

Some critiques of the Church are nothing more than personal grievances that they’ve elevated into blanket condemnations. Some critics didn’t appreciate learning the truth about their behaviors, beliefs, and lifestyles, which they then chose over Christ. Condemning the Church becomes an act of self-rationalization, not justice.

Others, of course, have more legitimate complaints. Christians have not been there for them at crucial points in their lives and families. And far too often, the Church has imitated the world in its worst depravities, and then, rather than expose sin within its ranks, closed them, protecting the institution or its leaders from being held accountable.

While there are times (like now) that Church scandals seem to add up, a recent joke turned meme on social media notes that, at least historically speaking, this is not really new. “There are two kinds of Paul’s epistles to the early Church,” the meme goes. “One is, ‘I always thank God for you and His unsearchable blessings in Christ.’ The other is, ‘Why can’t you sick weirdos be normal for just a minute?’”

A great hymn of the 19th century tells a similar story. In “The Church’s One Foundation,” Samuel John Stone proclaims Christ to be the security and preserver of His Bride, despite its obvious brokenness. This verse in particular speaks volumes.

Though with a scornful wonder

Men see her sore oppressed,

By schisms rent asunder,

By heresies distressed,

Yet saints their watch are keeping;

Their cry goes up, “How long?”

And soon the night of weeping

Shall be the morn of song.

These beautiful words describe the tension of life between Pentecost and the Second Coming, and underscore something hotly debated today, even among Christians. Despite the painful reality of sin’s enduring power in its members, the Church is essential, not only for Christians but for the entire world.

Despite all these critiques—we could add so many more— Christians must see the Church as essential because Christ does. As a former colleague used to say, “the Church is Plan A, and there is no Plan B.” Jesus didn’t call us merely to embrace a set of theological proofs and wait for the end of the world. To be Christian is not just to believe in Him for personal forgiveness and meaning and then to live a moral life.

When Christ saves us, He saves us into a movement, His Body, His redeemed people. Somehow, joining together with other frail saints is part of His plan to restore our hearts and minds, make all things new, and glorify the Father which is in heaven. We stick with the Church not because it is perfect, but because it is His plan.

Because of this and the current confusion about the Church, we invite you to ponder with us what it means that the Church is essential, especially now when it does not always seem as if it is. For a gift of any amount this month, you can join this online course hosted by theologian-in-residence Dr. Timothy Padgett, and it will include thought leaders like Collin Hansen and Dr. Peter Leithart. To give and register for this course, please go to

After describing the church’s obvious faults, Stone then, in the very next verse of “The Church’s One Foundation,” proclaims this:

The church shall never perish,

Her dear Lord to defend

To guide, sustain and cherish,

Is with her to the end

Though there be those that hate her,

And false sons in her pale

Against a foe or traitor,

She ever shall prevail.

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