Tag Archives: ASSIST news

Ellis: Life is worth living because our Redeemer lives

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By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service

SCOTT DEPOT, W.V. – Centuries bring unbelievable changes to human life. What there is to know about life has grown with quantum leaps Bill Ellisfrom one century to another.

One nagging question existed before Job gave it verbal significance centuries ago, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

Life would be dismal and bleak if it abruptly ended with no hope for anything beyond. Charles W. Koller, brilliant author, world famous teacher of preachers and seminary president said, “Death is not the end of life – only an incident along the way of everlasting life.”

In 1999, I listened to Gary Coffey, chaplain of the Putnam General Hospital, Hurricane, W.V., deliver an inspiring message which he titled, “Live as though He’s risen”, based on Luke 24:1-12. He was speaking primarily to hospital personnel, and those who do all they can to alleviate suffering and bring people back to good health.

Speaking of the problems we may face in life, Gary said, “When faced with the most difficult situations, what we said we believe is no longer what we expect.” He followed with this story.

“How different were the Jews who were hunted during the reign of Nazi terrorism. Written on the walls of their secret refuge underneath the Cologne Cathedral (Germany) were these words: ‘I believe in the dawn, even though it be dark; I believe in God, even though He be silent.’ “This is resurrection faith.

Being nailed to a cross, as Jesus was, and remaining there until death came was the common way for criminals to die. That was their sentence after being found guilty of crime. It was a torturous death. A terrible way to come to the end of life. No wonder Job and others wanted to know, “Is there anything more? Is this how it all ends?”

Easter is celebrated annually as the “day of days, the queen of Christian festivals.” It is never earlier than March 22 or later than April 25. It is only mentioned once in the Bible, in the King James Version. Most other versions refer to the day as Passover.

King Herod was persecuting the church. He had killed James, the brother of John, with the sword. He put Peter in jail, “Intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4).

Easter is not only the most important of all Christian days, but it is also the oldest of the Christian festivals. St. Paul writes, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast” (I Corinthians 5:7-8).

In every country of the world, Easter is celebrated in the hearts and minds of believers. In some places, it cannot be done openly and freely as it is in America.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes the sting out of death, the victory out of the grave. Bill and Gloria Gaither, our good friends of 60 years, wrote in one of their songs: “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

If you want to know more about living forever and the resurrection, read John, chapters 11 and 20 and I Corinthians 15 in the New Testament.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest fact of history. In fact, all history as we know it, is dated on the authority of His resurrection.

I want to live forever. That hope is assured through my faith in Jesus Christ. It is guaranteed by His resurrection. With St. Paul I can say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

 

Jerry Mathers is still the ‘Beaver’ after all these years

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

Jerry Mathers will always be remembered as the loveable “Beaver” Cleaver from the immensely popular TV show, “Leave It To Beaver,” but the actor recently said in an interview that Hollywood needs to create more family-centered programming.

“I think it’s very important that we still have movies that families can go to see like I did when I was a kid on Saturday mornings,” Mathers told ASSIST Ministries founderJerry Mathers Dan Wooding.  “We should be able to let our kids go to the movies and not really wonder what they’re going to be seeing. It is something that I think our kids deserve.”

Mathers showed his support for attended the 15th annual MOVIEGUIDE Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood on Feb. 15.

The actor told Wooding, “Adults should be able to see whatever they want to see, but I believe that there should also be some programming that you can take your children to and not walk away and go, ‘Ooh, I wish I hadn’t seen that’, especially when they’re young.”

The Sioux City, Iowa, native played Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, a suburban boy who always seemed to find himself in trouble. Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont, both deceased, played Beaver’s parents, June and Ward, and Tony Dow played Beaver’s older brother, Wally.

Clockwise from left, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Hugh Beaumont, and Jerry Mathers

Wooding said in his article, when the series was not renewed at the beginning of the 1963-64 season and many of the series stars wanted to move on to other projects, Mathers entered Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and from there he served in the Air Force National Guard (1967-1969). He was mistakenly reported as killed in action during the Vietnam War, but all of his duties were stateside. After leaving military service he attended and graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 1973 with a BA in philosophy.

Mathers said family-friendly TV and movies are a niche market that needs to be filled with people with great ideas that need to be supported. Therefore, parents can take their children to see the movies and not end up disappointed.

Learn more about Mathers at www.jerrymathers.com and MOVIEGUIDE at www.movieguide.org.

Proposed U.S. tax reforms could devastate charities

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) — The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is considering comprehensive tax reforms that will directly affect charitable giving – including

Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas

“limiting the tax rate against which contributions may be deducted; a dollar cap on total itemized deductions; [and] a floor below which contributions may not be deducted.”

The restrictions could be devastating for charities like SAT-7 (http://sat7usa.org), which broadcasts Christian satellite television to over 15 million viewers in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as our ministry, ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) – www.assistnews.net.

On Feb. 14, Ruth Thomas, VP for Finance and Administration at SAT-7 USA, testified at a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, D.C. She discussed the far-reaching importance of charitable deductions, as well as the integrity and efficiency with which non-profits like SAT-7 operate.

“Non-profits have struggled since 2008 because of the Recession. To hamstring the public’s generosity at this point would severely impact the good work of thousands of non-profits to change the law in such a way that limits the ability of non-profits to do good with well-established efficiency and effectiveness will mean that needs will go unmet, or must be addressed by more government spending, with less efficiency,” she told committee members.

Thomas manages the SAT-7 USA office in Easton, Md. She has been with the organization for 10 years. As a non-profit finance officer, Ruth works with the President, Board of Directors and International CFO to maintain a high level of transparency and accountability to SAT-7’s donor base. She ensures that the internal workings of accounting, marketing and development operations at SAT-7 are functioning properly.

SAT-7 has achieved a 4-star rating with Charity Navigator© for the past three years, has had BBB© accreditation since 2011, and is a member in good standing with ECFA® since 1999.

“Please join us in praying for the wisdom and discernment of the House Ways and Means Committee members, as they consider possible reforms for charitable giving tax laws,” said a spokesperson for SAT-7 USA.

To read more about the hearing, please go to: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=318995

Christian leader beheaded as Islamists terrorize Mali

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By Charles Gardner
Special to ASSIST News Service

TIMBUKTU, MALI – A Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa.

Christians have fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh Sharia Law has already been imposed amid

For his safety, Tim Yattara and his family have fled their home country.

reports that churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed.

The news comes in the wake of a military coup in the country, one of the effects of which is that sanctions applied from outside has cut off electricity supplies, further delaying reports of the latest upheavals along with desperate pleas for help.

Among those affected is British Bible college graduate Timothee (Tim) Yattara, who recently returned home to his home country in a bid to help spread the gospel in this remote – and now dangerous – part of Africa located on the edge of the Sahara.

Yattara has fled with his family to Bamako, the country’s main city some 400 miles away in the south-west, but without the money to rent a house.

“We have escaped in the wake of horrible death threats as the Islamists have a list of all the Christians in Timbuktu whom they intend to execute by beheading. As proof of their intentions, one leader has already been killed in this way and some churches in Gao have been demolished. Most Christians have already fled for safety, but Sharia Law has been imposed all over the north.

“As refugees in Bamako, life is very difficult for me and my family as we are in desperate need of finance, just to pay for shelter and safety,” he said.

Already suffering famine through drought, Mali is being terrorized by Al Qaida and associated rebels said to be claiming the northern part of the territory as their homeland.

Only last week we were reporting that Timbuktu was surrounded by tents inhabited by impoverished people who have fled the countryside in the wake of the spreading famine, exacerbated by rising unemployment and massive inflation with many struggling to find food and work.

And with a government now overthrown by a coup, the security situation has been made even worse by rebels from Libya loyal to their former leader Col Gaddafi.

Tim knows nothing is impossible with God, however. As reported on ASSIST News last week, he was miraculously raised from the dead through the prayers of his family when he was a little boy. (See: www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12030149.htm)

Christian converts arrested in raid on Iranian house church

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By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service

Thirteen Christian converts have been arrested following an attack by security authorities on a house church in Iran. Three of them are being held in custody at an unknown location, according to Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com).

According to the news agency, on Feb. 21, at 7 in the evening, security authorities raided a home dedicated to be used a house church and seized all 13 gathered there for worship. To date, no precise news is available regarding some of these detainees.

Mohabat News says that during this incident, security authorities who were wearing plain clothes transferred these Christians to an unknown location while insulting and abusing them.

The authorities also invaded and thoroughly searched the detainees’ homes and confiscated some of their personal belongings.

Numerous Christian converts have already been arrested in various cities in their house church gatherings, homes or workplaces by order of judicial and security authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a result of the continued anti-Christian wave in Iran during past months.

Now, in addition to Ahwaz, Shiraz, Esfahan and Tehran, this ongoing wave has reached the city Kermanshah, 526 KMs west of Tehran, in the western part of Iran.

A knowledgeable source told Mohabat News that the Christian detainees may have been transferred to a building in Hafezieh Junction in Kermanshah or 22-Bahman Street which is known as the location of security and intelligence forces.

The source said that nine of these detainees were released the next day after their photos were taken, their details and fingerprints recorded and they signed a disclaimer stating they would not attend any Christian gatherings.

Mohabat News also received word that Ms. Azadeh Sharifi was released on February 28 after enduring 8 days in custody. As yet, no detailed information has been received regarding the way she was released.

Three other detainees, Mehdi Chaghakaboudi, Mojtaba Baba-Karami and Shirin Ghanbari, however, are still being held. Some of the named Christians had also been arrested by security authorities before.

Prior to this, on Jan. 2, 2010, the official Pentecostal church of Assyrians in Kermanshah was also closed by the order of the judicial and security authorities for spreading Christianity among Farsi-speaking Muslims and for preaching the gospel. Security authorities also arrested the pastor of the church, Wilson Isavi on Feb. 2, 2010. He was temporarily released on bail after 54 days in Dastgerd prison in Esfahan.

Mohabat News states: “With the growth in the number of Iranian converts to Christianity in recent years, and the increased pressure by the Islamic government on Christians, especially Christian converts, the Islamic Republic is seeking to stop the growth of house churches in Iran by any means.

“The Islamic Republic considers the growth of Christianity as a religious threat against its national security and is greatly concerned about the spread of the truth of the gospel among the people.”