NEW YORK — Battered by the winds of a pandemic, social unrest and an especially contentious election season, America is now poised to answer a call to repentance and restoration signaled from the lighthouse of a grassroots church movement known as “The Return: National and Global Day of Prayer and Repentance,” — now set to kick off one day earlier, with a newly added worship and prayer service called “The Return: Next Generation.”

Scheduled for Sept. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. ET on the National Mall in Washington, DC, the special service known as “The Return: Next Generation” welcomes the general public, young people, families—all can join as a precursor to the main gathering of “The Return” on Sept. 26, which will draw tens of thousands in person and online.

The Return: Next Generation will be honoring our military, law enforcement and Mike Lindell will be launching his new national addiction Lindell Recovery Network, national music artist Danny Gokey and other artists, alongside a moving key note message given by Nicky Cruz.

“The Return” – 5 Rs

Attendees should enter the special Sept. 25 gathering at 12th St. and Madison Drive and are encouraged to observe appropriate social distancing, aided by fencing provided by the crew of “The Return: Next Generation.” Food trucks and portable restroom facilities will be available.

In ancient times, the Greeks referred to kairos to mean “opportunity,” a sailing term that literally means “toward the port.” At the precise moment, sailors used it to describe when the tide and winds were favorable to make it safely to port. They would set their sails to take full advantage of it. Pastor Kevin Jessip, along with New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Cahn — co-chairs of “The Return” — believe Sept. 25 and 26 represent America’s kairos moment.

“When God is at work, as He is now, we must wake up to that opportunity, set our sails to His favor, and ride in His boat, using the wind and tide,” Jessip said. “The time has come for each of us. We have been called to seize the moment! We are at the threshold of the greatest move of God in our time.”

Jessip believes the opportunity is time-sensitive and demands courage of the American church, and that the moment could easily be lost by those who hesitate.

“‘Opportunity’ implies ‘the right moment which may only last for a moment,’” Jessip said. “Kairos means a God-given opportunity is being offered to mankind at a specific moment in time. However, the word also implies there is a risk of faith. In other words, as time moves on, the opportunity can be missed.”

That’s why Jessip and Cahn, along with many Christian leaders throughout America, are urging people to attend “The Return: Next Generation” worship service on Sept. 25 in person or online, as well as the main Sept. 26 gathering that will call the American church to prayer and repentance.

“We are living in a Kairos moment today,” Jessip continued. “We believe that working together in unison under the leadership of Jesus Christ, we will be honoring the appeal of the apostle Paul when he said in Romans 15:5-6, ‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity amongst yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’”

Cahn recorded a special video about the event, which already has nearly two million views. In addition, online resources are available, including videos and downloads for individuals, pastors and churches. Daily devotionals also encourage personal repentance and consecration.

“The Return” is for all believers who love the Lord from all denominations and backgrounds. Leaders already on board with “The Return” include Jonathan Cahn and Kevin Jessip (co-chairs), Mike Lindell, Michele Bachmann, Pat Boone, Dr. James Dobson, Mark Gonzales, Robert Morris, Marcus Lamb, John Kilpatrick, Pierre Bynum, Gen. William Boykin, Carter Conlon, Bishop Harry Jackson, Alveda King, Anne Graham Lotz, Pat and Gordon Robertson, Kevin and Sam Sorbo, Stephen E. Strang, E. W. Jackson and many more supporters listed at thereturn.org/faith-leaders/.

“The Return” is set for 40 days before the presidential election, and on the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, in the days of America’s founding and dedication to God. Surrounding the “The Day of Return” on Sept. 26 at the Washington Mall will be 10 days, known from ancient times as the Days of Awe, to be set as a special time of prayer and repentance from Sept. 18-28.

Coordinated events within “The Return” movement will also take place throughout America’s cities, towns, houses of worship and homes, as well as in multiple countries around the world, as many believe the nation has been given a critical window of opportunity to repent and return to God.

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

By Dennis Daily
Special to ASSIST News Service

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (ANS) — As a journalist who was raised in a Catholic home and went through 12 years in Catholic schools — and, like many Catholic boys,

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

thought he wanted to be a priest at one time – I am watching closely the events that are happening in the wake of the resignation of the Pope.

I awakened to the headline, “Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy.” For there it was in black-and-white in the Washington Post, “Citing failing strength of ‘mind and body,’ Pope Benedict XVI stunned his closest aides and more than 1 billion Catholics by resigning on Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years and ending the tenure of a formidable theologian who preached a gospel of conservative faith to a fast-changing world.

“Keeping with his reputation as a traditionalist, Pope Benedict delivered his resignation – effective Feb. 28 – in Latin, to a private church body in Vatican City. ‘I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me,’ he said. ‘For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter.'”

On hearing this news, I was startled for several reasons:

First of all, since this is only the second time in 2,000 years that a Pope has called it quits, I realized instantly that this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Actually, it’s a once-in-many-lifetimes kind of thing.

From a pure journalistic standpoint, this was QUITE a story.

Secondly, I began to realize all the things that must be going on in the Vatican to prepare for the election of a new Pope.

I’m fortunate, when I was in high school, a nearly ordained priest came to the parish and he taught religion to us. You have to remember that most Catholic kids, and others who go to religion-sponsored schools, have to attend a religion class every day. No Sunday school for us Catholic kids.

The young priest assigned to my high school would eventually, in later years, go on to teach at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that this youthful priest was a real rebel — a fire-brand.

He had spent his seminary time at Collegium Canisianum, located in beautiful Innsbruck, Austria.

It’s funny, after all these years, I can still remember his mailing address there, when he went back for a while as part of a project: Tschurtschenthalerstrasse 7. I guess had his school been on White Street of Alps Boulevard I would have never remembered its address.

Actually, Kress was more than a fire-brand. Some in the parish thought he was a radical. His sermons were full of questions and doubt that troubled many of the older members of the parish.

One week, after wondering aloud from the pulpit if there really HAD been a “Great Flood” and if the “Noah Story” were just a great parable, my own grandmother went to the pastor, Kress’s boss, asking that he be sent to some other parish.

Part of his reasoning about the existence of a Great Flood was based on similar stories in myriad other cultures. He seemed to be more excited about relaying the liberal Catholic thought in which he was immersed during his time in Innsbruck, than delivering a traditional sermon that would warm the hearts of the congregation.

But, that was Father Kress.

The reason he enters the story here, is that during those years in Austria, Kress had worked among many members of the Catholic Church there who were helping to prepare for the Second Vatican Council … that great assembling of religious leaders of all stripes, from around the world. It had been called lovable Pope John XXIII.

Kress’s seminary years were spent during an intense period of debate within the church. The conflict, of course, centered on whether the liberalization of the Church was indeed necessary.

John Paul XXIII had used an Italian word to describe what he wanted to do at the council; that word was “aggiornamento,” or “updating.” But the then roly-poly Pope who, while a bishop, had saved the lives of countless Jews who would have been swept up in the Holocaust, wanted more than an updating. He told media that he wanted to “open the windows and let some fresh air into the church.”

Liberals in the church in Europe were thrilled at the Pope’s announced intentions. They were even happier when John XXIII invited observers to the council from every known religion in the world.

Conservatives were worried that the Church would make a decidedly leftward shift. The church had already begun to look more catholic (with a small “c”) and more universal in John XXIII’s time; he had increased the number of bishops and cardinals from Third World countries and worked for the canonization of saints from lesser-known areas of the world.

So, we students in the 1960s, during the Vatican Council, were given a running play-by-play of what was going on in the halls of the Vatican by someone who had been in the thick of planning for the multi-year re-examination of the status of Catholicism.

We would watch news reports and Father Kress would point to the TV screen and say: “Oh, look, there’s Cardinal Konig,” or, “There’s Cardinal Frings.”

Kress had worked with these men, especially with Frings. The cardinal, who was from the archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, had graduated from the Canisianum and maintained close ties with the school.

Frings, at the time, was one of the closest of confidants of another priest from the region, a teacher and writer who, at the time, was perceived to be on the liberal bandwagon.

That priest was Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, today’s Pope.

Frings and Ratzinger and two other liberal thinkers, Hans Küng and Edward Schillebeeckx, were Fr. Kress’s heroes.

Shortly before the first session of the council opened, Frings had given a speech in Genoa, about the First Vatican Council. It called in 1868 by Pope Pius IX, ostensibly to deal with a quickly changing world in the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Frings looked at the impact of that first council and wondered if Pope John XXIII was simply re-opening an old concept, putting a modern-day “aggiornamento” spin on it.

When the Pope was informed about Frings’ speech, he summoned the clergyman to the Vatican. The session was not negative, as Frings had feared. John XXIII actually liked the speech. Frings thanked him. He didn’t tell the Pope that the speech had been written by his friend, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger.

After leaving high school, and those five-day-a-week sessions with Fr. Kress, and the daily play-by-play of what was happening in Rome, my thoughts of the Second Vatican Council faded.

Occasionally, I would have dinner with Fr. Kress, during the time that both he and I lived in Washington, DC.

I remember one evening when he wondered what had happened to all the fire-brand liberals of the European church over the years. He told me that many of them had “converted” to the conservative cause. One of them was the man who would one day become the first German-born Pope in a long time … and who would startle the world by resigning.

There will be a lot of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” over why Ratzinger is leaving his post. As a close adviser to the late Pope John-Paul II, the current Pope saw his predecessor grow weaker and weaker and shakier and shakier, while still trying to minister to his flock.

I am sure that Pope Benedict didn’t want to be that kind of Pope.

It will be interesting for all of us, though, to see what kind of role a former Pope will play in society. The last time anyone had a chance to witness that was 77 years before Columbus first sailed to the New World.

 

Dennis Daily is a lifelong journalist and radio news anchor and programmer. He spent 20-years with UPI (United Press International). During most of his tenure there he worked for the now-defunct UPI Radio Network. During several of those years he served as the network’s Religion Editor. He previously worked as a national spokesman for the USDA in Washington, was a Congressional Press Secretary, all-news anchor and producer for “The Larry King Show.” Long associated with religious programming, Daily returned to his hometown in southern Indiana for 26 consecutive years to anchor and produce five hours from four churches on Christmas Eve. For several of those years the broadcast was relayed around the world via Armed Forces Radio. After his two decades with UPI he went back into local radio in California’s San Joaquin Valley. He now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., where he is semi-retired. He continues to do freelance radio work, voicing daily reports on various topics. Dennis also produces the Religion & Ethic s Minute based on the stories of the ASSIST News Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at: newscaster@earthlinknet.

 

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Based on the success Cullen Jones has displayed in swimming, one would find it hard to believe he almost drowned at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Penn., when he was 5 years old. But, Jones turned the horrific event into a positive. He learned how to swim, and 20-plus years later, he became a gold-medal winning swimming champion in the 50-meter freestyle at the Beijing summer games in 2008.

Jones, 28, the second African American in history to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming (400-meter freestyle with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale), places his faith, courage, and hard work in a children’s book titled “Speed to Glory: The Cullen Jones Story” (Zonderkidz; $6.99), currently in bookstores.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the North Carolina State University alum will participate in the men’s 100-meter freestyle (July 31 heat), men’s 400-meter relay (July 29 heat), and men’s 50-meter freestyle (Aug. 2 heat) at the 2012 summer games.

Written by Natalie Davis Miller, the book is truly inspirational. Whether it is swimming or in life, Jones wants readers to understand that commitment and trusting in God goes a long way.

Miller said Jones, who lists Proverbs as his favorite book in the Bible, attended church as a teen with his father and mother, the late Ronald Jones and Debra Jones. Although he is unable to attend church on a regular basis, Cullen Jones still devotes time in his schedule.

“I call on religion in every aspect of my life, whether I’m at the OIympic Games representing the USA or about to get on a plane to an event,” Jones said.

In the chapter “Finding Faith,” Miller said Cullen Jones keeps faith at the core of his daily life.

Jones also addresses the stereotypes about African American swimmers which exist. In chapter 12, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones,” Miller describes how Jones came to create his swimming initiative, Make a Splash With Cullen Jones. In August 2010, Jones was taken aback by the drowning of six African American children in the Red River in Shreveport, La. This event prompted the gifted swimmer to partner with the USA Swimming Foundation and ConocoPhillips to help minorities across the country learn how to swim. In addition, Jones provides free to low-cost swimming lessons to children.

“Speed to Glory” is a simple read with a strong message: honor the steps His has provided to you, work hard, and always give back to others.