Remember the song, Don't Stop Believin'? It was described by AllMusic as “one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock.” It’s been the best-selling digital track from the 20th century with over seven million copies sold in the US. Not bad for a guy who started out playing the accordion! We are talking about Jonathan Cain, member of the band, Journey, since 1980.
Cain is a Chicago native who has loved music from an early age and has also had a strong connection with his father growing up. In an interview with CBN News, Cain described the impact his father had on his life. He said, “My father was a very spiritual man who taught me how to pray at a very young age. So I took Jesus into my heart.”
We never know about the crossroads we will encounter in life. While Jonathan’s young life rested on a foundation in God, his faith was shattered at the tender age of eight when calamity struck. It so happened that on December 1, 1958, the school he attended--Our Lady of the Angels--had caught fire. Tragically, 100 children and 3 nuns died. Looking back, he said, “Here I am only 8 years old and I am standing there watching it helplessly, praying that Jesus might save the day . . . We had no counseling and we were told not to talk about it. It sort of pushed me away."
But God’s plan for Jonathan was already in the works. He was not only spared of this catastrophe by escaping, but his dad stepped in to help shape Jonathan’s life. In addition to being a spiritual role model, he encouraged Jonathan to channel his energies into music, and that became Cain’s sustaining force for many years to come.
In the mid-nineties, Journey released an album called, Trial by Fire. Steve Perry worked closely with Cain on the project. The story is that one day, Perry brought a Bible with him into the studio. That triggered Cain into realizing that he had lost his relationship with God, and he yearned to have it back.
Soon after that, Cain found himself traveling by plane to a certain destination when he met a young women on the flight who just happened to be a pastor. They struck up a conversation that became quite deep. Finally, he asked her, “Is it possible that that little boy could find the Jesus that he knew. Is it possible that I can feel that?” She answered and said, “The Lord has something for you.”
The lady went on to lead him back to God. And to add to God’s blessing, the couple continued their relationship long after their flight had ended. They eventually became husband and wife.
Isn’t God good!? When the Lord gets involved in a person’s life, everything changes. And He is a God of encouragement, too.
Cain had a wonderful father in his life who tried to always steer him in the right direction. When Jonathan used to call home feeling all defeated, his dad would say, “Don’t stop believin’.” Then God reminded Jonathan through his friend and band-mate, Steve Perry, that His Word stands true. And finally, the Lord sent to Jonathan not only a pastor to talk to, but a wife!
From One of the Greatest Bands
in History Comes a Reminder
to Never Give Up Hope. In this long-awaited memoir, complete with color photographs, songwriter and keyboardist Jonathan Cain takes us on an odyssey from center stage with Journey when all America was listening to songs like "Don't Stop Believin',""Faithfully," and "Open Arms," to his hope and faith today. He tells of the thrilling moments when
the music came together.
(Click image to purchase.)
Jonathan Cain, longtime keyboardist and rhythm guitarist in Journey, is no stranger to writing songs about belief. He helped co-write Don’t Stop Believin’, one of the best-selling hits of all time. Now on his new Christian album, What God Wants to Hear, Jonathan shares personal songs about his faith journey.
“This is a small way of giving back what the Lord has given me over the years,” Jonathan says. “As a result of the Lord blessing me and blessing Journey, this is my offering back to him.”
To love God and serve Him is one of the highest goals we can have. Where do you fit in? If you’re willing to ask, God will show you His plan for you.
The Smith Wigglesworth devotional is a book comprised of some of the greatest messages Smith preached from the 1900s to the 1940s. One of those messages is featured below just the way he wrote it. It’s the story of Berry the Hangman: he was an executioner in a small town in England. Here’s the story in Wigglesworth’s own words:
There was a notable character in the town in which I lived who was known as the worst man in town. He was so vile, and his language was so horrible, that even wicked men could not stand it.
In England, they have what is known as the public hangman who has to perform all the executions. This man held that appointment, and he told me later that he believed that when he performed the execution of men who had committed murder, the demon power that was in them would come upon him, and that, in consequence, he had been possessed by a legion of demons.
His life was so miserable that he decided to kill himself. He went down to a certain train depot and purchased a ticket. English trains are much different from American trains. In every coach there are a number of small compartments, and it is easy for anyone who wants to commit suicide to open the door of his compartment and throw himself out of the train. This man purposed to throw himself out of the train in a certain tunnel just as the train coming from the opposite direction would be about to dash past; he thought this would make a quick end to his life.
There was a young man at the depot that night who had been saved the night before. He was all on fire to get others saved, and he purposed in his heart that every day of his life, he would get someone saved. He saw this dejected hangman and began to speak to him about his soul.
He brought him down to our mission, and there he came under a mighty conviction of sin. For two-and-a-half hours he was literally sweating under conviction, and you could see a vapor rising up from him. At the end of two-and-a-half hours, he was graciously saved.
I said, “Lord, tell me what to do.” The Lord said, “Don‘t leave him. Go home with him.” I went to his house. When he saw his wife, he said, “God has saved me.” The wife broke down, and she, too, was graciously saved.
I tell you, there was a difference in that home. Even the cat knew the difference. Previous to this, the cat would always run away when that hangman came through the door. But the night that he was saved, the cat jumped onto his knee and went to sleep.
There were two sons in that house, and one of them said to his mother, “Mother, what is up in our house? It was never like this before. It is so peaceful. What is it?” She told him, “Father has gotten saved.” The other son was also struck by the change.
Collected from the writings and teachings of Smith Wigglesworth, these daily devotions bring you right to the heart of God. The simple yet inspiring words of this well-known evangelist offer a dynamic message for each day of the year--a message of fullness of divine power.
I took this man to many special services, and the power of God was on him for many days. He would give his testimony, and as he grew in grace, he desired to preach the Gospel. He became an evangelist, and hundreds and hundreds were brought to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through his ministry.
God saved Saul of Tarsus at the very time he was breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, and He [had now] redeemed Berry the hangman. He will do it for hundreds more in response to our cries.
Thought for today: The grace of God is sufficient for the vilest, and He can take the most wicked men and make them monuments of His grace. (Devotional: September 9th.)
Born in the 1850s, Smith Wigglesworth started his preaching career around the turn of the century in Britain. He became Americanized in the 1920s and continued his pursuits as an ordained Assemblies of God minister. He is considered as one of the pioneers of the Pentecostal movement.
JUST A DREAM
Ravi Zacharias is considered to be one of the greatest intellectual minds in Christian thought and apologetics, yet he describes his early life as having been “punctuated by failure.” And he said one of his greatest downfalls was that he didn’t like to study! How can that be?
Growing up, Ravi did not lack in material things. His father was a well positioned senior employee of the Indian government in New Delhi. He was prominent, influential, and powerful. But like some higher class people in society, there were unspeakable things going on in Ravi’s home that bred discouragement in him. And so Ravi became poor in spirit.
It all started when Ravi was born. His father was away in England for months and didn’t see his new son until Ravi was almost a year old. In an interview with Youth For Christ, (YFC), in 2014, Ravi said his dad “. . . had very little time for us kids. It’s not that he didn’t care. It was just his personality.”
By the time Ravi became a teenager he knew he didn’t like studying and he didn’t like books. All he wanted to do was play Cricket and Tennis. But India is a very competitive society. High schools and colleges publish test scores in the newspapers for all to see. So those who have not done well academically are publicly shamed. That’s why India has the highest rate of suicide in the world
Of course Ravi’s father was very displeased, thinking Ravi would bring disgrace to the family. Because of his uncontrollable temper, Ravi was constantly being beaten and thrashed for his under-performance. His brothers and sisters would say, “Ravi, I don’t know why Dad has it ‘in for you.’” His siblings and mothered suffered under his dad’s heavy hand, too, but Ravi got the worst of it; in fact, his dad almost permanently crippled him at one point in his life.
By age of seventeen, Ravi had had enough. He pocketed some poison one day, that he had snatched from the science lab at school. The next day, his family had left the house and he found himself alone except for the household servant. He shut himself in the bathroom and blended together a potion. As the mixture frothed in the glass he gulped the whole thing down. He started vomiting almost immediately and in that moment, he let out a desperate cry that reached the ear of the servant. Ravi doesn’t remember the rest, but he says he woke up in the hospital, fighting for his life.
At that time, Ravi’s parents were “nominal, non-practicing Christians.” He said, “We were Christian but it didn’t mean a thing.” Now a few months before this suicide attempt, Ravi’s sisters invited him to a Youth for Christ rally. He didn’t want to go but he did because he heard there was food there.
The speaker that night, Sam Wolgemuth (President of YFC), spoke on John 3:16. Ravi said “He looked like a man I wished I were like.” His saintly qualities impressed Ravi. There were hundreds there when the invitation was given, but only Ravi went forward. He felt alone. And he felt confused even after speaking to the altar counselor. None-the-less, he knew something spiritual was stirring within him. And when asked why he came forward, Ravi said, “I want what that man (Sam) has.”
In Walking From East to West, Zacharias invites you to follow him on a journey through his life: to see and smell the neighborhood in India where he grew up, to feel a mother’s love and the consternation of a harsh father … and the lure of a rebellious soul. He has traveled from the East to the West, and then back again to answer skeptics’ penetrating questions about the meaning of life and the existence of a God who is there for his children. He explains how Jesus Christ is the one who came to give you life to the fullest.
So now fast forward to his hospitalization. While laying in his room, a man stepped in to visit him. It was the YFC singer, Fred David, from the rally, months ago. He handed a Bible to Ravi’s mother and told her to read from John, chapter fourteen. “Jesus said, ‘Because I live, you shall live also,’” (verse 19). Ravi cried out in desperation: “Jesus, if you are who you claim to be, take me out of here. I will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth.” That moment changed his life. He said, “After I prayed that prayer, I walked out of that hospital room five days later, a totally different man . . . it was an eternal transaction . . . anybody who knew me said, ‘What on earth happened to that man.’ [Even] his father couldn’t explain it.”
It is wonderful to know, that during Ravi’s father’s senior years, he became dramatically changed through his profession of faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. And he also apologized to Ravi for all of the hardship he had caused him. Only Christ has the power to truly change lives. Where do you stand with Him today?
The Music and Life of
Fanny J. Crosby
Giftedness seems to descend through family lines. Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted at organizing, or running a business, or drawing and art work, or singing? Remember the well loved crooner, Bing Crosby? You’ll never guess who he descended from: the great Fanny J. Crosby.
Miss Fanny was very musical. She learned to play piano, organ, harp, and guitar. But you need to know one more thing . . . she was blind.
When Miss Fanny was just six weeks old, she caught a cold and developed inflammation of the eyes. In those days–the early 1800s--folks did the best they could. So they applied mustard poultices to her eyes, hoping to relieve the discharge, but the treatment seemed to have damaged her optic nerves instead. Modern doctors believe her blindness was congenital.
Crosby said, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for allowing it. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”
Fanny Crosby was an only child, born March 24, 1820, about 50 miles north of New York city. From the age of ten, she memorized five chapters of the Bible each week; by age fifteen, she had memorized the four Gospels, the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, the first five books of the Law known as the Pentateuch, and many of the Psalms.
Miss Fanny married Alexander van Alstyne, Jr. In the summer of 1843. In 1859, they had a daughter named Frances who died in her sleep soon after birth, probably from SIDS. It is said that Crosby's hymn, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, was inspired by her death.
Crosby is one of the most well known hymn writers in history. In fact, she was known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers” and the “Mother of modern congregational singing in America”, with most American hymnals containing her work. She wrote more than 8,000 hymns and Gospel songs. Books containing her lyrics sold over 100 million copies and Crosby donated most of her royalties to worthy causes.
Some publishers were hesitant to have so many hymns by one person in their hymnals, so she used nearly 200 different pseudonyms during her career.
Miss Fanny, in describing her hymn-writing process said, “It may seem a little old-fashioned, always to begin one’s work with prayer, but I never undertake a hymn without first asking the Lord to be my inspiration.” She aimed to reach a million people for the Lord, and prayed her hymns would bring men and women to Christ.
Throughout her life, Crosby was described as having “a fear of wealth”. She never set prices for her speaking engagements and "what little she did accept she gave away almost as soon as she got it". She and her husband also organized concerts, with half the proceeds given to aid the poor. She said, “From the time I received my first check for my poems, I made up my mind to open my hand wide to those who needed assistance.”
This classic reprint is an account of Fanny J. Crosby’s life as told by herself, as only she could tell it. Though millions have sung her hymns, this book will help you get to know Fanny personally. Read it today!
(Click image to purchase.)
Some of Crosby's best-known songs include, Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour, Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home, Praise Him, Praise Him, Rescue the Perishing, and To God Be the Glory.
Crosby met and was praised by John Quincy Adams, President James K. Polk, and President Grover Cleveland. She died at Bridgeport, February 12, 1915 after a six month illness resulting in a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 94. Her family erected a very small tombstone at her request which carried the words, “Aunt Fanny: She hath done what she could; Fanny J. Crosby”.
Fanny J. Crosby was a true hero for Jesus. Her testimony serves to challenge every believer to dedicate and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christian believers do the work of God, people’s lives change. Are you a Christian? If so, how are you serving Him today?
Jimmy Clanton was a teenage idol back in the late 50s. One of the songs he wrote, Just A Dream, catapulted him to super stardom; of course there were other songs too. His records charted in the U.S. Top 40 seven times! But this particular song--on the Ace Record label--reached number four on the Billboard chart and sold almost two million copies. Imagine that!
Jimmy grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In high school, he played in a band called The Rockets. They played everywhere the doors opened to them. Then in 1958, he and his band traveled to New Orleans to make their first record. They also auditioned for the President of Ace records who was very impressed and signed Jimmy to his label as a solo artist.
That summer, Just a Dream, hit the airwaves and Jimmy Clanton became an
overnight success. His single sold over 1,750,000 copies in just a few weeks. Jimmy was also invited to American Bandstand, where he received his first gold record from Dick Clark.
In an interview with MyBestYears.com, Jimmy was asked what it was like to become so famous so quickly. He replied, “It was a whirlwind that is still hard for me to believe, even after all these years.” he added, “Elvis Presley, after hearing Just a Dream, invited me to Graceland for a visit.” The two became good friends over the years.
From then on, Jimmy Clanton was a household name. He performed with many greats like Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee, the Platters, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Frankie Ford, The Beach Boys, and Chubby Checker to name a few.
Clanton honed his acting skills as well. He played lead roles in movies like Go Johnny Go, and Teenage Millionaire. And if that isn’t enough for one lifetime,
Clanton was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame, which also has inducted such performers as Tex Ritter, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top and B. J. Thomas. Then in 2007, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
Additionally, Clanton received several awards for his music. His best songs were, Just a Dream, A Letter to an Angel, Ship on a Stormy Sea, and Venus in Blue Jeans. Each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.
In the middle of all these accolades and awards, there is one more thing that stands out about the great Jimmy Clanton. It is reported on Wikipedia, that Jimmy had a “religious conversion” in the 1980s. As he explained to MyBestYears.com, God pursued Jimmy in a very special way. Here’s his story:
Since it was first published more than twenty years ago, The Way of the Heart has helped millions of men and women cast off the anger and greed that trouble the world–and find love, compassion, and peace in the heart of God.
(Click image to purchase.)
“I happened to be home and watched a Christian television program. It was a real miracle, because where we lived at the time in Pennsylvania, our home was in a valley, and there was no cable or anything. We didn’t have a satellite dish or anything. Television with the “rabbit ears” was spotty, at best. Anyway, the person on the TV really spoke to me. My wife Roxanne and my girls had been praying for me for some time, and their prayers were definitely answered. Before the television program was over, I prayed to accept Jesus Christ into my life. It was the beginning of so many new directions.”
Jimmy is still performing today. Most recently, this author saw him perform live at the Artists Music Guild Awards Show. But briefly meeting him off camera was special too, because at once, I could tell he loves Jesus. It showed in his mannerism and in the way he spoke to others. That in itself is a wonderful testimony. It attests to the fact that no matter how much one accomplishes in life, no matter how big of a star one might become, no matter how well known one is or how much money one has, each one of us needs Jesus. The Lord makes such a difference in people’s lives. Like Jimmy says, “It took a lot of time to get cleaned up, and I'm still a pilgrim on the path, so to speak, but God has sure done a lot for me.” How about you?
JUST A POOR INDIAN BOY
A DOCTOR'S JOURNEY
Dr. Greg Lehman
w w w . K a t h y V e e r . c o m
A MIRACULOUS CONVERSION
(James) Berry The Hangman
LOOKING FOR HIS FATHER
The Life of Steve McQueen
A MESSIANIC JEWISH RABBI
Last week we told you about Roy Rogers and Dale Evans; about their lives and how they met and married. Now Dale was a believer in God when she married Roy, but he was not. The Bible does not support believers marrying unbelievers, but Dale only used the Bible for emergencies so she thought she was “off the hook”. She had met Jesus when she was ten years old, but had not submitted to His Lordship.
Shortly after they married, a crisis arose. Roy's children were rejecting her as their new mom. On top of that, Republic Studios told her she could no longer star with Roy because they were married. Dale knew how to turn to God in a crisis but failed to carry through. When Dale shared her problems with her adult son, Tom, he suggested she go to church and bring the children with her, so she did.
The sermon that Sunday was "The House That Is Built On the Rock." The message spoke to Dale's heart as God began to draw her to Him. She returned home to find Roy gone on a hunting trip. That night while alone, the pressure built until she bowed her knee to God, confessed all of her sins, and submitted to His will. She told God she would give her life to Him the next time the church doors opened. The following Sunday, she met God at the altar, and rededicated her life to Christ.
Roy noticed the difference in Dale and asked her what had happened. She told him about her renewed life in Christ. She knew he was not a believer but she didn't pressure him.Instead, she and the children set an example. The household was soon filled with praying and hymn- singing. The girls noticed that Roy didn't say grace, and Linda, age six, asked him, "Don't you know how to talk to God, Daddy?" Roy was the odd man out in his own family.
One night at a home party for Roy's movie crew, some of the women noticed a change in Dale and asked her about it. She explained she now had new responsibilities in the Lord. Roy came in half way through the conversation and misunderstood. He thought she was complaining about the late night party. He told her bluntly, "If you have a problem, this is no place to talk about it!"
She was hurt and later cried, and Roy felt guilty that he had stained their relationship. He had a lot to think about as he stood looking out the bedroom window. It occurred to him that his money may be gone one day and the fame of being a movie star wouldn't last forever. He wanted his kids to remember him for things that mattered. He said, “I want to be the daddy who took them to church on Sundays and helped them learn how to live a good Christian life.”
The next morning Roy announced, "If you are going to church, I’m going with you." Later in the service, he was moved about the decision he needed to make. At the invitation, he turned to Dale and said, "Mama, I'm going down there.” At that point, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were featured in over a hundred movies and had the Roy Rogers Show on radio and television from 1951 to 1957. Roy was billed as "King of the Cowboys" and Dale as "Queen of the West." They had a loyal following of 1.75 million boys and girls registered in their fan club. They had over 360 types of Roy Roger's merchandise, and sold two million comic books and records. Roy was a big name business tycoon, who was second in sales only to Walt Disney.
Roy and Dale had a daughter, Robin, born August 26, 1950. She was born very weak, with health problems including a congenital heart defect. Robin died two years later. After her death, Roy and Dale decided to adopt children rather than have anymore. They touched many lives with their benevolence and kind Christian walk. (They wrote a book about the precious daughter they lost, called "Angel Unaware"; see above).
Rogers died of congestive heart failure on July 6, 1998; he was 87. Evans died of congestive heart failure on February 7, 2001. She was 88.
We’ve all heard Jeff Foxworthy’s “red neck jokes” but did you know he volunteers at a downtown mission every week? Actually, he’s given his time to several charities over the years like volunteering his time to kids with cancer and Wounded Warrior. That’s because Jeff cares and he also knows when he’s serving others, he’s serving Jesus.
In a 2013 YouTube presentation, Jeff shared a story about how he came to serve in a homeless mission. A young man, Joshua invited him to a lunch there one day. The young man was only 22, so Jeff wondered how he came to be homeless at such a young age. Joshua described his life growing up. His mother killed herself when he was 10. The following year he lost his brother to suicide. That left him and his dad. Things were O.K. for awhile, but when Joshua entered his second year of college, his dad killed himself. By this time, Joshua got tired of hurting so he soothed himself with a crack addiction and that’s how he ended up on the street.
This story really had an impact on Jeff. He said, “But for the grace of God, I could be him.” Before he knew it, Joshua asked him, “Jeff, would you be willing to bring a weekly group Bible study to some of these guys?” He wondered, “Why me?” But he agreed. After a couple of weeks, he realized these men didn’t really want to participate, so he had to come up with a way to draw them out.
Jeff asked them, “What is the Bible?” One man said it was just a book of rules. So another decided if that was the case, let’s just throw the book in the garbage. So they slid the trash can over and tossed in the book. But no one was comfortable with that as a hush settled in the room. Then a big burly guy named Wayne, stood up and fetched it back out. He said, “Man, don’t do that.” But the first guy said, “Well if it’s just a book of rules, why should that bother you?”
Wayne replied that his mom had passed away a few years ago and left him $70,000. He never had that much money before and said he lost his mind. So he got two girlfriends and blew through it all. The short of it is that he became homeless and was only able to hang on to a few of his possessions. One of those was a Bible his mother had given him. It was very special because of the personalized letter she had written on the inside flap. So of course he was devastated when he discovered it was lost. Here he was now with no money, no job, no girlfriend, no home, and addicted to crack . . . and the Bible was gone.
A year and a half later, Wayne gets a temp job cleaning out an apartment building, one hundred miles away. He and another fellow were removing trash by the bagful and at the end of the day, there was just a little pile left on the second floor. He started sifting through it when he found a book near the bottom. He opened it and there was the letter from his mom, just the way she wrote it in his childhood Bible.
Wayne said, “I fell down to my knees and I just started sobbing. I said, if God is chasing me this hard, I’m going to stop running. And that’s why you can’t throw [this book] in the trash can.”
Wayne has been “clean” for three years now and he’s helping other guys transition off of the streets. About the Bible, Jeff says, “It is more than a book. There really is life in there for people.” And it’s a book that Jeff Foxworthy lives by, every day of his life. That includes advice about how to spend money. He says, “It’s not my money anyway. It belongs to God.”
A fun and challenging way to dig into the Bible. In fall 2012, The American Bible Challenge, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy aired and built up an audience of 2.3 million viewers in just nine weeks! By taking on unique questions spanning all of Scripture, a daily reader was released. Using many of the questions from the first season as a guide, each day features an inspiring lesson along with five challenging Bible questions to take you deeper into Scripture. Are you ready to jump in and take the challenge?
(Click image to purchase.)
As for his ministry, Foxworthy revealed in a 2012 interview that “rather than going and sitting in a service for an hour every Sunday and that being the extent of my faith, it's more important that I live it out. I lead a Bible study with homeless guys on Tuesday mornings . . . I have done it for years.”
According to Foxworthy, if addicts among the group successfully complete treatment, the organization will house them for a year, and offer counseling and support in reuniting them with their estranged families.
What would Jesus do, you ask? I think Jeff Foxworthy knows the answer to that question. So as a Christian, how are you serving the Lord?
MOVED BY COMPASSION
Fred Rogers was the man behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, a 1960s children’s program. Although Rogers was an ordained minister, he didn’t want to be a preacher. He had a steadfast love for young children and once said, “One of my main jobs is to help children through some of the difficult modulations of life.” That was his motivation and he believed children deserved more from television than was available at the time. He felt strongly called to minister to them.
Growing up, Rogers had every childhood disease on the planet. That resulted in many lonely hours spent in his bed, recovering. He was lonely for other reasons, too. He grew up in a home where showing one’s emotion or true self was frowned upon. He had to hide his fears, anxiety, and anger. So he turned to music as his first language. He learned to express his feelings through “piano fingers”.
Later, Rogers attended seminary. He had come home from school at one point, before beginning his senior year. That’s when television had just come out. It was new and it impressed him so much that he paused his education for awhile and went into show business. He started a show called The Children’s Corner. After a season, he became dissatisfied with it and headed back to finish school and get his ordination.
Rogers then began the program, Mister Rogers, on CBC Canada in 1962. And by 1968, he moved his program to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and called it Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The “neighborhood” Fred created was a place of safety, acceptance, and understanding for children. And out of that came a true sense of relationship and community for children everywhere. But the program did not reflect a fantasy world of “happily-ever-afters.” Rogers introduced current day conflicts into his scripts like the Viet Nam war, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and the segregation of blacks. These were very real and scary subjects but Rogers brought them to light to help children deal with these issues in positive ways. His message was always peace, love, kindness, or triumph.
As Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was up and coming, so was the Public Broadcasting Network, (PBS), who’s mission was dedicated to “enriching man’s spirit”. But in 1969, Nixon took office and wanted to cut PBS funding in order to pay for the Nam war. He also threatened television stations with contrary political views. So Rogers went before Congress to fight for twenty million dollars for educational television. Instead of lobbying with boring statistics and philosophical speech, he shared the lyrics from one of the children’s songs he wrote. When he had finished, Senator Pastore said, “That is wonderful . . . you got your twenty million dollars.”
Rev. George Wirth said of Fred Rogers that he communicated love right into children’s hearts without ever preaching a sermon or announcing that he was a minister. He practiced a “living Christianity” and modeled the idea of loving your neighbor and loving yourself.
Released June 2018
Runtime: 94 minutes
For over 30 years, Fred Rogers,
an unassuming minister, musician, composer, puppeteer, writer and producer, was beamed into homes across America in his beloved show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Watch this fascinating account
of his career.
(Click image to rent or purchase.)
I Rogers said this about love: “Everyone has inherent value . . . I think those who make you feel less than who you are: I think that’s the greatest evil . . . Love is at the root of everything. All learning, all parenting, all relationships. Love or the lack of it. And I don’t think children can grow unless they’re accepted exactly as they are.” He felt this was the most deeply spiritual assignment he could have because he was shaping the minds of young children to accept values–biblical values–that would establish them for life. That was Rogers’ core message throughout the 1765 shows that he wrote and produced.
Fred Rogers was asked to address the events of 911 to help people grieve through what had just occurred. He said, “No matter what our particular job [is] . . . we all are called to be . . . repairers of creation. Thank you for what ever you do, where ever you are, to bring joy, and light, and hope, and faith, and pardon, and love to your neighbor and to yourself.”
Jesus said there are only two commandments we should follow. First, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself’,” (Mark 12:30, 31; NIV). Fred Rogers lived that love every day of his life. What about you?
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WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR
YOU MIGHT BE A RED NECK!
Jonathan Cahn was raised in the synagogue. But when he was just eight years old he became an atheist. He said, “I looked and I saw the film strips about God moving and talking in the Bible, but I never saw the reality in the synagogue. The Rabbi never got up and said, ‘Hey, God spoke to me today.’ So I became an atheist. I said, ‘There is no God.’”
Born in New York State, Cahn was raised in a reform Jewish home and attended the synagogue frequently. But his religious life did not satisfy his soul. His young mind apparently found no rest because four years after becoming an atheist, he had lost all faith in Atheism. He started seeking and said, “There’s got to be more; there’s got to be a reason.” He began to devour books of every kind from religion to science.
One day he picked up what he thought was a UFO book, but it turned out to be one of Hal Lindsey’s books: The Late, Great Planet Earth. When he realized it he said, “God tricked me!” Even so, he read it through and learned about all the prophecies of the Bible that had come true, like how God had brought Israel back to their homeland.
Jonathan was inspired and turned to the Old Testament, the only Bible in his household. He read the prophecies about the Messiah, born in Bethlehem, and dying for our sins. By the way, he thought all that was of the Catholic religion, but there it was in his Bible.
The God of heaven was revealing the truths of His word to young Jonathan and he started believing and telling his friends. He explains in his testimony that he wasn’t yet “saved”. He hadn’t taken that step. But he believed! In fact, during one of his speech classes in high school, he got up and started preaching the Gospel--as a Jew. He was even leading people to the Lord!
Then Jonathan thought to himself, “I can’t just do this. If the Lord comes again, I have to be right with God. I’m not right.” He deduced that to be right though, he would have to surrender everything and go live in a monastery or something, and that would be the end of his life. That was kind of shocking to him so he said, “God, I don’t want to do that . . . I’ll make a deal with you. If you give me a long life, I’ll accept you when I’m about to die on my death bed.”
Shortly after that, Cahn almost got killed, twice! The second incident was more amazing than the first. He was in his car, waiting for a train by the railroad tracks. It was in the dark of night, so he didn’t realize he was actually on the tracks when the train hit him. In that moment he said, “All I could do was cry out to God.” The car was destroyed but Jonathan walked away without a scratch.
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Jonathan said, “O.K. God . . . can we renegotiate that deal I made? I’ll accept you now when I’m 20.” He further explains that when he turned 20, he went up into the mountains, (because that’s how you’re supposed to do it, he thought. He found a rock and knelt down upon it, and gave his life to the Lord. Thus he became a Messianic Jew!
This would be a good place to end the story, but there’s one more twist that shows just how amazing God is. Jonathan returned with his “shofar” (horn) to this same spot, years later after he had been in ministry. He found the same rock where he was saved and celebrated that decision as he spent time with the Lord. Later, he was telling his congregants about it and they informed him that this particular spot had been dedicated to Satan and was a meeting place for witches. The rock was their altar! Suddenly, Jonathan remembered some graffiti he saw there that said, “No Jew shall enter these sacred grounds.” Jonathan said, “For 2000 years, you [Satan] haven’t wanted Jews to come to Jesus, (because he knows when that happens, that’s it for him) . . . Too late Satan. It’s already happening. After 2000 years, the Jewish people are returning . . . returning to their land and they’re returning to their Messiah, Yeshua-Jesus: the hope of Israel!’”
Can you say “Amen, hallelujah?!”
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DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'
Changed Lives Through Christ Archives
This is a story about a lady named Laura and a man called “Charlie”. It was the week before Christmas and Laura had prayed about how she could help make a nice Christmas for our troops overseas. She visited www.anysoldier.com and found a list of what was needed.
Laura spent the next two months gathering donations from schools and the community. Her wish was coming true; she gathered so much she worried about the cost of mailing but Laura was determined to mail it all.
She arrived at the post office. There, an elderly, silver-haired gentleman held the door for her. He asked her where the packages were going, and if she had family in the military. As he learned of her mission he asked why she was doing this. Laura explained how she had asked God to help her bless the soldiers and how He had directed her. Then Charlie asked what he could do. Laura said a couple of dollars to go toward the shipping would be nice. He said he would help.
While packages were being weighed they talked a bit about life, soldiers, family, work, and religion. Then Laura went next door to get a coffee. When she returned he was still there. Charlie began to share that he was a veteran and had also proudly served our country years ago. He knew how important a package from home could be.
The clerk completed his tally. Laura was shocked. The packages would cost $170 to ship! She didn’t have that kind of money. Without hesitating Charlie paid for the entire mailing! Laura was stunned and tried to refuse his help. But a lady standing nearby said, “Don’t refuse his offer. It would ruin a blessing for him.” Charlie agreed. So Laura accepted the blessing with a grateful heart and all the people in the store had tears in their eyes. It was a wonderful thing, that a complete stranger would fulfill her wish to help our troops, so far away from home at Christmas time.
VISIT AND GIVE
Then Laura had another surprise. Charlie handed her $500 for future mailing expenses. Laura was speechless. This man’s love, compassion, and willingness to give was saintly. Others in the room were also a witness to this tender, giving side of the human spirit. Laura thanked Charlie again as he disappeared into the night saying, “Merry Christmas to you all.”
Laura put her extra funds to good use. The next day she went shopping and brought another batch of packages to mail. The fee was almost $500. Charlie had given enough to cover the entire amount and more.
This has been a story about Christmas Charlie. But it takes someone like Laura to find a "Charlie sized blessing". God is looking for Laura’s and Charlie’s in this world. It takes a sensitive person to hear God’s call and be willing to answer it. There are no shortage of needs, though. And our deployed men and women in uniform who protect us have sacrificed being with their families and loved ones during Christmas and through the year.
Would you like to be a Laura? Do you know any Charlie’s that would be willing to help. Maybe you’d like to take that role. Either way, please take a minute to go to visit www.anysoldier.com and be a blessing to our military heroes. It would be a wonderful thing to do.
The Cross And the Switchblade is a title well recognized. The book, by David Wilkerson, was written just after his early years as a young preacher. He grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania but because of God’s profound call, he moved to New York City to help troubled teenagers and inner-city gang-bangers. Soon he started Teen Challenge, a ministry still operating today. His book was about that work; it became a best-seller, with over 50 million copies sold in 30 languages.
Wilkerson comes from a Christian family and a Pentecostal, Assemblies of God background. He tells how he was baptized in the holy Spirit at the age of eight. In other words, he was filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God which the Lord purposed for him so he would have the power to minister. And that he did!
It all began while he was serving in a small town church. He was restless during his prayer time one evening and picked up a Life Magazine. In it, he saw a picture of seven teenagers who were gang members of the New York "Egyptian Kings". He was drawn to their circumstances and was deeply moved with compassion. So much so, that he traveled to New York and interrupted an actual court hearing because he had something life-changing to share with these young men. The judge turned him away, but that didn’t stop David.
Wilkerson went on to start a street ministry, reaching young drug addicts and the like. One of those derelicts was Nicky Cruz, leader of the Maus Maus gang. The book describes the story:
“When he [David] met Nicky Cruz, a vicious teenage knife-fighter . . . Nicky told Wilkerson, ‘Go to Hell, Preacher.’ He replied, ‘You don’t think much of me, but I feel different about you. I love you, Nicky.’ As Wilkerson took a step towards him, Nicky said, ‘You come near me, Preacher, I’ll kill you.’ He replied, ‘You could do that, you could cut me into a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you.’
In a dramatic manner, Nicky was later convicted by the Holy Spirit and received Jesus during an evangelistic meeting organized by Wilkerson. Cruz was gloriously saved and went on to be a Minister of the Gospel himself.
Wilkerson worked the streets for some 30 years when God called him to start Time Square Church, a non-denominational congregation of believers. He said, “. . . This church does not belong to any denomination. We are not Assemblies of God, we are not Baptist, we're not Methodist, we're not Catholic. We're just Holy Ghost people believing this book.”
What book? The Bible of course. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It contains the plan of salvation and of hope. It will guide us every day of our lives if we will open our hearts to its truths. Most of all, it will ignite God’s love inside of us.
We’ve heard it said that love is not just a feeling. It’s so much more. It’s what we do for one another and it matters not the cost. David Wilkerson loved hurting people and he put that love into action. He faced danger and death. He laid down his life for those that seemed worthless to most. But God loves all people and desires to save each one, if they will only come to Him.
Everyone experiences times of sadness, trials, and pain. But what happens when grief and depression seem so overwhelming that we feel like giving up? As the founder of World Challenge, Inc., David Wilkerson worked with troubled people of every type: students, parents, alcoholics, delinquents, businessmen, pastors, teachers, and drug addicts. In this hopeful and encouraging book, Wilkerson examines the universal problem of discouragement. He shows readers how to let God heal their wounds, restore their faith, and give them genuine, lasting peace.
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Wilkerson once said, “When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey! The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you.” Yes, God will do the work . . . if we are willing to let Him.
The ministry and legacy of David Wilkerson continues to reach out today. With over 30 books on the market, David has labored to offer a message of hope to the world. That hope is Jesus Christ. He is the answer to all of life’s problems. And he alone gives a peace that passes all understanding. Do you know Him today? Find out how to become a Christian. Go to https://www.kathyveer.com/become-a-christian.html. Jesus is waiting for you.
His mother was an alcoholic who married and divorced several times which left Steve growing up with several stepfathers but no real father figure in his life. As a result, Steve McQueen, the Hollywood star dubbed “the King of Cool” grew up a troubled kid.
In 1947, McQueen joined the United States Marine Corps and saved the lives of five other marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through the ice into the sea.
Later, Steve McQueen became famous for the TV series Wanted dead or Alive. His 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 fastback became famous too, from the movie Bullitt; the fast driving car was used in other chase movies as well.
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries had the chance to write about McQeen’s journey. In an interview with The Lake County Record-Bee, Laurie uncovered many interesting details about McQueen’s life. He explains that while performing hair-raising motorcycle stunts and car chases he may have seemed larger than life on screen but he was very much human and in every way an ordinary man. He didn’t grow up in a stable family. He didn’t have wealth or education. He was arrested and spent some time in a chain gang. It all seems exciting and yes, he found fame, fortune, drugs and women, but he grew tired of it all.
A major turning point for McQueen came on a day when he was supposed to have gone to a party at the home of pregnant actress, Sharon Tate. For some reason McQueen missed that party. It was at that party that Sharon Tate and four other people in her home were murdered by Charles Manson and members of the Manson family. McQueen should’ve been there that day and “that freaked him out,” he said.
Like many others, the realization of his mortality led McQueen on a spiritual quest to fill that hole in his heart. He said, “I was looking for my father, but deep down I was looking for God just like everyone does.”
Leonard DeWitt, pastor of Ventura Missionary Church said in his book that McQueen found his church through Sammy Mason, a flight instructor. Steve had hired him to teach him how to fly his newly purchased yellow bi-plane. McQueen said there was something about Sammy that he couldn’t put his finger on and when he asked him, Mason said, “It must be my relationship with Jesus Christ.”
McQueen began to attend Pastor DeWitt’s church and become a born-again Christian there. Just six months later, McQueen learned he had end-stage mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. He was given only a few months to live. Even as he was undergoing cancer treatments in Mexico, he talked to his therapist about his faith. Soon he learned his days were numbered, so he requested a meeting with the Rev. Billy Graham. During their meeting, Reverend Graham gave McQueen his personal Bible and prayed with him.
McQueen was a complex, contradictory man who lived the same way he drove his motorcycles and cars: fearlessly, ruthlessly and at top speed. Author, Greg Laurie, will follow the seeds of Christianity that were sown throughout McQueen's improbable life where a Light finally shone into the darkness of his troubled life.
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McQueen died four days after that meeting with Graham’s Bible resting on his chest. His son, Chad, found his father the next morning. His eyes were open and his hands were clutching his Bible. He was 50 years old.
When we experience pain, we can either become bitter or better. People can change for the better and the story of Steve McQueen is proof of that. His life was changed by accepting the love of a Father, who became his heavenly Father. He was given only a few months to live but he but he lives on in eternity. When it comes to salvation, not much separates us from movie stars and celebrities. God accepts all who will accept His Son, Jesus Christ, even the king of cool, Terence Steven McQueen, (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980).
What does God think of people who try to disprove His existence? Does He find it amusing? Does He dismiss them, or does He lead them to discover Him? Dr. Greg Lehman is one of those people. He once was an atheist and actually tried to prove it. After all, isn’t that what a scientifically trained doctor should do?
In a story published by Christianity today, Dr. Lehman described his own self-righteous mind set. He said he “got irritated with people, even his own wife and their Christian neighbors as well whom he labeled ‘hypocrites’ for living a lifestyle that he thought didn't conform with the teachings of the Bible.”
While Lehman was indignant about his religious acting acquaintances, he was at the same time secretly troubled. In another interview with GodReports.com, the very successful doctor talked about how frustrated and dissatisfied he had become with his personal life. He listed all the things he had worked for: trips and vacations, luxury cars, a fancy home, new clothes, and expensive hobbies like wine collecting.
He also had a successful medical practice that others admired. But in reality he was asking himself, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not fulfilled? Why don’t I feel like I have achieved what I worked my whole life for?” So in the middle of feeling empty, angry, and sad, Lehman set out to prove that God was a dead end too.
The fine doctor’s approach was to go straight to the source: the Bible. He wanted to show his hypocrite neighbors that they weren’t living right and he wanted to have the Scripture to prove it! So he began to read the Word of God. But to his amazement, he found God speaking to him through his endeavor.
The first truth he discovered was that Jesus Christ had claimed to be God in the flesh. How astounding. That undeniable fact had changed all of history. And through Christ’s work on the cross, He offered salvation to the world, redeeming man kind from their sins.
The second truth that emerged was the fact that Jesus arose from the dead. Or did He? Lehman delved deeply into the arguments made by all the leading critics. He carefully examined each debate and finally concluded that the opposing arguments were not plausible and the resurrection proved true.
Furthermore, Lehman was greatly impressed by the Apostle Paul who was miraculously converted from a Jewish prosecutor and naysayer of Christianity to a devoted follower of Christ.
Being impressed is good, but having all the knowledge in the world about Jesus is not enough. Christ is not looking for people to acknowledge Him, but to know Him. It takes a heart to heart, daily relationship with Jesus to actually be a Christian.
In the midst of Lehman’s search, a patient of his confronted him one day with the question: “Have you accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as you personal Savior?” He didn’t know what to say so he just exited the room. He grappled with the matter for the next two days. He had to admit his attitude had been bad toward everyone around him, but he didn’t know how to change that.
Paul E. Little encountered several crucial questions about the Christian faith during his twenty-five years as a university speaker and teacher. For example, Is Christianity Rational? Is Christ God? Did Christ Rise From the Dead? Are the Bible Documents Reliable? Do Science and Scripture Agree? Why Does God Allow Suffering? And more . . .
Little uses these questions to jog readers' thinking and help them examine their present worldviews, preparing them to answer others out of the wellspring of their own certainty.
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Lehman finally surrendered his heart to Jesus. He asked God to forgive him and help him live his life in a renewed way. Looking back he said, “I was completely peaceful. Something was really different. I had been changed. Since the day I was saved, I’ve never felt alone. I’ve never felt empty. I’ve never felt all that discontentment and stuff.” His wife added, “I feel like I’ve got a new husband.”
As a new believer he continued with some final thoughts: “Every other religion is man seeking God. Christianity is God seeking man. The real test of Christianity is you call on Him, you put Him to the test, He’s not just going to forgive your sins, He’s going to show you so that you know that it’s true. That’s the big difference.”