By Michael Youssef
ASSIST News Service

Atlanta, USA (ANS) – We are living in unprecedented days. At such a time as this, I have found myself asking, “Lord, in the middle of this global panic, what are You saying to Your people?” There’Michael Youssef pastor shares view on God and COVID-19s only one place to go to find an answer, and that is the infallible Word of God.

The prophet Joel spoke to God’s people, Israel, during a time of economic crisis. A tiny army of locusts was devouring the land, destroying everything in their path. Today, we are living during the modern-day equivalent of this crisis. COVID-19 is a tiny virus. You can’t see it with your eyes, yet it is sweeping across the globe and destroying everything in its path. In this context, the words of the prophet Joel serve as a warning: The crisis we are facing pales in comparison to the coming Day of Judgment.

I believe that this crisis is God’s loving wake-up call to our nation and world. It is God’s loving warning. It is God’s gracious invitation. For if we are not prepared to deal with a virus, what will we do when we face the Day of Judgment?

Read how God pleads with His people in Joel 2:12-13 — how He pleads with us today:

“Even now,” declares the Lord,

“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Rend your heart and not your garments.

Return to the Lord your God,

for he is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Praise God, Joel’s prophetic words tell us what to do during times like these. Through this passage, Joel is saying to us, “Don’t waste this crisis. Don’t waste this dress rehearsal. Let this be a reminder of the coming Day of Judgment when God will shake everything that can be shaken.”

Through this crisis, God is calling us to do things:

  1. Tear away the idols from our hearts

Ultimately, it is our hearts that need radical change, not our circumstances. It is our hearts that need transformation, not the economy. Have we placed our hope in money, possessions, or safety rather than in God? Is prayer something we only do when we are in trouble? Is worship something we only do when it is convenient? Our greatest need today is to “rend our hearts” — to confess the idols we are clinging to instead of Christ.

God wants us to be serious about acknowledging our personal idols and tearing them out of our hearts through repentance. Doing so will allow us to face any crisis, whether COVID-19 or the Day of Judgment, with confidence. Why? Because we are ready. We are prepared. This crisis is an opportunity for us all to turn to God and prepare our hearts to stand before Him — before it’s too late.

  1. Lead others to worship and bow down to the living God

Now is the time to sound the alarm to every person who will listen. We must remind both the lukewarm and the lost about the shortness of our earthly lives and the endlessness of eternity. Smooth-talking or positive thinking will never adequately prepare people for the day when they will stand before God and “give an account . . . for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).

I encourage believers everywhere to take this time to call your family around you for a time of prayer and repentance. Rededicate yourselves as a family to serving God. I know that as we so humble ourselves before Him, our Lord will respond and bring revival to our land. He longs to show mercy, and He responds to the genuine cries of His children. Let us never forget that.

May God bless us, keep us, and draw us closer to Himself during this time of great shaking in our nation and world.

About Michael Youssef

Michael Youssef is an American pastor and televangelist. He is the senior pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, and the executive president of Leading the Way.

About Assist News

Assist News exists to inform, educate, and inspire by distributing news about what God is doing in the USA and globally.

By Evangelist Alveda King
Special to Inside The Pew

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose… A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away…” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 KJV

In the last several days, we’ve had so many things changing that we’re having to pray hard to keep up. Certainly, President Donald John Trump is moving forward with the agenda; as he is keeping

his promises to make America great again. What with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and approaching departure of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, we can expect more transformation.

Justice Kavanaugh and his beloved family have survived a trial by fire, and he is entering into a heightened season of public service. Ambassador Haley is seeking a well-deserved break from service to humanity to attend to her family for a season. Who can blame her? Well done Madame.

We’re living in a time that when we wake up we can either ask and say: “What is happening today? Let me turn on the news.” or we can ask and say, “What’s going to happen today? Let me tune in to God.” Your outcome will be guided by your perspective. My pastor Theo McNair at Believers Bible Christian Church often teaches that we should ask God to bless our perspective.

I’m saying all this to point out that as the world is moving on around us, we should be asking ourselves, “What are we going to do in the process?”

Please check out these two audio clips (Audio One and Audio Two) of some reflections; and be encouraged as you move forward. Begin to look at your day with a new perspective. There’s a song, “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord, I Want to See You.” Pray with open hearts, eyes and arms.

The world is out there; and we step into it all the time. What are we going to do with and about the events around us? Are we going to make the world a better place or are we just going to see problems and have problems? God uses people to make history. God uses people to accomplish divine purposes. Let’s join together, pray and actually become part of the solution.

For more on, Evangelist Alveda King, visit civilrightsfortheunborn.com.

 

Special to Inside The Pew

“Our Black politicians did it to us again,” the Rev. William Owens, the president of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), said passionatelycoalition-of-african-american-pastors during a press conference Feb. 13 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He was referencing what he and 20 other national black leaders felt was the worst representation by the Congressional Black Caucus demonstrated during the televised State of the Union Address.

The tone set by the caucus angered numerous national black leaders, prompting many groups to convene in Washington, D.C. to address what they considered was a severe misrepresentation and a disservice to the achievements of blacks in this country.

Owens joined by over 20 national leaders such as Stephen Broden: Senior Pastor Fair Park Bible Fellowship, President Protect Life and Marriage; Dr. Alveda King (Civil Rights For The UnBorn); Bishop Leon Benjamin (Coalition Of Leaders United); Shirley Husar (CEO Urban Game Changers); the Rev. Dean Nelson (Frederick Douglas Foundation); the Rev. Derek McCoy (Urban Cure); Dr. Randy Short (International Human Rights Association For American Minorities); Dr. Johnny Hunter (Life Education and Resource Network); Jonathan Alexander (Liberty Counsel Action); Suzzanne Monk (Political Pundit from Chicago); Johnny Rice for Congress (D.C.); and Kenneth McClenton (President of Exceptional Conservative Show) joined forces to expressed their disappointment and mismanagement of the People’s power entrusted to the Congressional Black Caucus.

“The disgrace before the global community by the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) during the State of the Union Address was the worst I have ever witnessed in my life as a black father, educator, civil rights activist, and man of faith. Our elected officials’ demonstration of childish behavior; sulking in their seats, texting, pretending to be disinterested, was distasteful. We did not elect children, we thought we had leaders,” Owens said.

Collectively the leaders called to question what they characterized as “foul demeanor” and demanded either the caucus start “REPRESENTING or GO AWAY.” Also, CAAP launched an online petition “CROSSROAD” that will be hand-delivered to black caucus members’ offices to demonstrate the will of the people. Individuals are encouraged to sign by visiting www.caapusa.org.

In addition, the multifaceted group rolled out its new 2018 Black Agenda to counter the fallout among younger blacks who have lost interest in political engagement in hopes of inspiring civic engagement. To attract a younger demographic, the group is utilizing social media platforms to promote the hashtag #representorgoaway. Many of the speakers at the press conference extensively expounded on what numerous officials don’t want known about the current effectiveness of the caucus.

Owens and others indicated, “What began 46 years ago in March 1971 has morphed into the greatest breach of trust in the black community since Reconstruction. Our precious black children are not on the minds of the Congressional Black Caucus, they care more about the rights of undocumented immigrants and football players who don’t stand for the National Anthem than they do about our families and precious children.”

Various group leaders made strong pleas to the black community to embrace this position with openness and to hear the total message citing, “We, meaning Black Americans, have been sidelined by traitors in Washington.”

Owens also mentioned that last year his media relations office contacted Congressman John Lewis, the Rev. Al Sharpton (who purports himself as a civil rights advocate for the voiceless), and Attorney General Jeff Session pertaining to the documented research conducted by Yale University researchers published in USA Today in 2016. The article detailed racial bias and poor treatment of preschool-age black children, with special emphasis on black boys. CAAP requested several meetings to initiate a national dialogue, but was met with resistance.

“Not one elected official or civil rights leader has responded to date or called for an inquiry. This is a shame. If our children are not protected at this tender age, what kind of future will exist for them when lawmakers don’t care enough to take up the just cause to fight and utilize the power of their office? My office sent copies of the Yale research to many and to this very day, no serving black politician in Washington, black news reporters (and we reached out to many) and sadly, even the black clergy, have responded. This is really tragic,” Owens said.

Unfortunately, this issue is very personal to Owens and his wife, Dr. Deborah Owens, whose then 4-year old son experienced racial discrimination in his preschool. The Owens’s, after documenting many instances which they cited were deeply troubling, immediately removed their son after school officials failed to correct the problems in a timely manner.

Owens said he thought his son’s troubles at his preschool were isolated until he discovered the article published in USA Today in 2016 written by Yale University Researchers citing this was a national problem. He also said it was alarming to read that black teachers were worse than whites.

To date, over 50 online groups have attached their support to this cause. Join the conversation and sign the CROSSROAD petition. Visit www.caapusa.org.

Top: Coalition of African American Pastors logo.

Inside: Members of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) at a recent press conference.

 

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST News Service

MONTREAT, N.C. – American evangelist Billy Graham – a confidant to presidents, a guiding light to generations of American Christians and a world-billy-graham-preachingtraveling preacher who saw millions give their lives to Christ, died Feb. 21, at the age of 99.

Graham, who was known as “America’s Pastor,” passed away at his home in Montreat, N.C.

“The skinny preacher with the booming voice evangelized to nearly 215 million people over six decades and prayed with US presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” said CNN. “Several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, relied closely on his spiritual counsel.”

He was the reason I got into journalism

But on a personal side, it was 50 years ago in London, England, when I got my first job in journalism. It was with The Christian, an historic British newspaper that the Graham Association had bought and modernized.

I’ll never forget my first day in their Camden Town, London, office, when the editor, Dr. J.D. Douglas, welcomed me on board the paper, and then told me that my first interview would be with Coretta Scott-King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was to speak at St. Paul’s Cathedral at his Memorial Service.

It certainly was an amazing way to start my career in journalism, but sadly, after a year there, the paper was shut down by the BGEA for so-called “financial reasons” and we were all out on the streets. I was married with two sons to support, so it was quite a shock.

Fortunately, I soon secured another position on a local newspaper in London, and not long after the closure of The Christian, I was reporting on an event in the West End of London, where Billy Graham was to speak to the stars of many of the big shows in Theatre-land there.

When he arrived, Mr. Graham went around the room introducing himself, and when he got to me, the 6 foot 3 inch evangelist said, “Hi, I’m Billydan-wooding-billy-graham Graham. What is your name?” Without thinking, I said, “Mr. Graham, my name is Dan Wooding. You may remember that you fired me a few weeks ago.” There was an embarrassed look on Billy Graham’s face, as he tried to explain that it wasn’t his decision to close the paper, but that of his board.

After that I finished up working in the British tabloids, and I never thought I would every work for Billy Graham again, especially during a period when I had lost my confidence as a journalist, feeling that God couldn’t really use a former tabloid-journalist.

Norma, my wife, and I had moved to Southern California with our two sons, Andrew and Peter, from the UK ten years earlier, and we had eventually launched ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times), as a ministry to help persecuted Christians around the world.

As ASSIST began to grow, I had decided to just concentrate on running the ministry. After all, wasn’t that more spiritual than being a journalist?

Or so I thought at the time!

But it all changed when I received a phone call from A. Larry Ross, who was then Billy Graham’s press officer, in which he said, “Dan, you know that Mr. Graham has been going to Russia for years now.”

“Yes, and we are running a pen pal ministry with new believers there,” I cut in, thinking that he wanted to know more about our Bridge of Friendship Russia program.

Larry said politely that he thought that was “very interesting” and then added, “Mr. Graham has been invited to Moscow to hold a crusade there. It will be the first time that he can openly invite people to receive Christ.”

He paused for a moment, and then said, “We’d like you to come and join our media team and use your journalistic skills to report on this historic dan-wooding-bill-ruth-grahamMission to Moscow.”

I felt all the air being sucked out of my lungs when he then added, “We feel your tabloid skills could be used to portray what is going to happen there. When could you get on a plane to Moscow?”

I stammered my thanks and said that I would be honored to go and so he said arrangements would be made for my air ticket and visa and he would like me there “as soon as possible.”

When I put the receiver down, Norma looked at me in a strange way.

“What’s up?” she asked. “You have gone as white as milk.”

“Larry Ross wants me to fly to Moscow to join his media team and use my journalistic skills,” I said, trying to take in what was being asked of me.

I also recalled how, sometime after I had moved to America, someone I was working with had told me that I really “couldn’t write” and I believed that. I had figured that my tabloid past had been a complete waste of time, and could not be used by the Lord.

Norma smiled and said pointedly, “It’s a good thing that Billy Graham doesn’t know that you ‘can’t write.’” I smiled weakly in response.

Within a few days, the tickets and the visa had come through and I drove to Los Angeles International Airport to fly to Moscow, via Frankfurt, Germany.

After checking into the President Hotel, a formerly secret place that had been built for communist leaders visiting Moscow like North Korea’s Kim Il-sung, I went to bed to get a good night’s sleep and prepared for an exciting three weeks.

It was amazing as Billy Graham’s historic Moscow crusade, held in October 1992 in the indoor Olympic Stadium which, twelve years earlier, had been the site of the Moscow Olympic Games that the United States had boycotted, was quite incredible.

I spent three wonderful weeks meeting with Billy Graham along with Larry Ross, and worked on the various news releases that went out around the world, the first of was called, “A Miracle in Moscow.”

And it sure was that. What a crusade it was to report on! Each night eager Muscovites filled the 38,000-seat stadium to hear Billy. On the first evening inquirers coming forward signed 10,641 cards of commitment; on the second evening 12,628 signed. On the closing Sunday afternoon 50,000 persons had jammed into the stadium, and apparently the fire authority didn’t limit them. Another 30,000 stood outside in the freezing cold where a huge television screen with audio echoed what was happening inside. The number of decision cards signed was 19,417.

A highlight was being able to film the Red Army Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which still sends shivers down my spine. Another, which I will never forget, was when, on the final night, Joni Eareckson Tada, who had been sitting in the wheelchair section of the stadium, was brought up onto the stage, to share her extraordinary story, and was interpreted by a blind Russian translator. By the way, Mr. Graham was suffering from Parkinson’s disease when he spoke, and it was illustration to me on how God can use anyone, despite their disabilities, for His Glory.

When I got home, I then knew that I had to re-start my journalistic career and so I began the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) as a first step.

I had finally realized that God can use even an ex-tabloid journalist to spread the word about what He is doing in His World. I would also work with him as a writer at his overseas crusades in Germany and Puerto Rico, and also wrote the cover story on Billy and Franklin Graham for the Saturday Evening Post.

Billy Graham was an extremely humble man who could never understand why God chose him, —  a boy from a farm in North Carolina — to preach thebilly-graham-kim-il-sung Gospel to the world, yet he was welcomed by many world leaders including Queen Elizabeth and even Kim il-Sung. As we had both been to North Korea, we would have long chats about whether Kim il-Sung had given his life to Christ after Billy had talked with him. Billy was even planning to go back to go fishing with Kim and told me, “I was going to challenge him out on the lake to give his life to Christ, but then he died and I didn’t go.” So we will never know this side of heaven, what happened to the North Korea leader who had a Christian mother.

Some years ago, he showed me around his log-cabin home on the top of a mountain at Montreat, N.C., and I marveled how simple it was. No palace for this man, who has now left this earth, but is finally in a better place, but what a legacy that he has left behind.

Billy was devastated when he lost the love of his life, Ruth, in 2007, when passed away from pneumonia and degenerative osteoarthritis, but now he will has been reunited with her in heaven, and also the millions who found Christ because of his ministry.

Thank you Billy Graham!

Photos

Top: Rev’s. Martin Luther King Jr., left) and Billy Graham in 1957. (Photo courtesy of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association).

1) Billy Graham preaching. 2) Dan Wooding talks with Billy Graham during his crusade in Essen, Germany. 3) Dan Wooding chats with Billy and Ruth Graham at their home in Montreat, N.C. 3) Billy Graham with Kim il-Sung in North Korea.

Dan Wooding, 77, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents and is now living in Southern California with his wife, Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 55 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California.

By Grelan A. Muse Sr.
Inside the Pew

President Donald Trump has declared that, “We are saying Merry Christmas again.”

Sadly, some people are afraid to say Merry Christmas. In a move not to offend anyone, believers opt for the generic “Seasons Greetings” or “Happymerry-christmas-manger Holidays.” Those two greetings lack individuality. But, there is no subjectivity when it comes to Merry Christmas. When the greeting is spoken, we know exactly what it means. Do Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1: 30-33, and Matthew 1:18-25 sound familiar?

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, appeared on FOX News’ “The Story With Martha MacCallum” on Dec. 21 to explain that Trump’s stance on Merry Christmas is a “breath of fresh air.”

“So the president coming to the forefront and saying, ‘Look, we’re going to say Merry Christmas again,’ it is a signal to say, You know what, it’s OK to express yourself on religious issues in our culture,’” Perkins said.

Society may or may not say it isn’t acceptable to say Merry Christmas, but Christians have to stand confident in their beliefs. Say Merry Christmas with joy in your heart!

Americans Overwhelmingly Prefer Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays, According to New Marist Poll

By more than 20 percentage points (59 to 36 percent) a majority of Americans prefer the greeting “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays,” according

*Results do not add up to 100 due to rounding (PRNewsfoto/Knights of Columbus)

to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.

The nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) who prefer Merry Christmas is slightly higher than last year’s 57 percent.

This survey of 1,074 adults was conducted Nov. 6-Nov. 9, 2017 by The Marist Poll. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. The results were balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey 1-year estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region.  Results are statistically significant within ±3.0 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

Grelan A. Muse is founder of Inside The Pew and Pew Talk Radio. Contact him at pewnews@aol.com.

© 2017 Inside The Pew