WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - SEPTEMBER 2, 2020
In this week's Intersect, read about:
US Marshals Rescue 39 Missing Children, Arrest Suspects on Trafficking Charges After Two-Week Operation
Over the course of a two-week period, U.S. Marshals have tracked down 39 missing children in Georgia and Florida. During the initiative “Operation Not Forgotten,” the U.S. Marshals Service Missing Child Unit worked alongside the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and partnered with state and local agencies in Georgia to rescue 26 missing children. Officials also safety located 13 others. The ages of the children ranged from 3 to 17, according to WAGA-TV. The U.S. Marshals Service identified 15 of the kids as victims of sex trafficking. read more
Additionally, in the past 20 days, U.S. Marshals in Ohio have worked with local police departments to find just over two dozen missing children between 13 and 18 years old. “Operation Safety Net'' recovered 25 missing children in its first two weeks, and the sting is continuing with a goal of rescuing 200 missing children. Trafficking dehumanizes victims and mars a society. 400,000 people are enslaved here in the US every day. The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives an average of 150 calls per day, which shows it is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem of sex trafficking persists because of pervasive pornography and because there is demand; 1 in 7 American men have purchased sex in their lifetime. Sex trafficking is a $10 billion industry in the US alone. Regarding children, according to UNICEF, every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for exploitation. When Stockholm Syndrome sets in with the victim, they begin to see the person who harms them as the one who can make things right. But, free people free people. In the Bible, we read about a slave named Onesimus. Paul wanted him but Philemon owned him. So Paul asked Philemon to release Onesimus and charge it to his account. Philemon was in debt to Paul, but Paul realized that we all owe a glorious debt to a liberating God. There are 400,000 people like Onesimus in the US today but how many of us are willing to be “Pauls”? Children are a precious gift from God. As adults, we have the privilege and responsibility to care for them, to pray for all children’s protection and safety, and to help children around us live the full and abundant life God desires for them.
Join us in prayer for the protection of children, for an end to all harm against children, and pray for the children who remain trapped in this nightmare. Pray for the recovery process of those who were rescued. Ask God to eliminate the demand. Ask God to blind the eyes of criminals from seeing the potential “supply” of children in their paths. Ask the Lord for a hunger and thirst for righteousness — a righteousness that leads to compassion and a renewing of minds. Let this kind of faith work to make a better world for all children. Psalm 10:17-18
Learn more about the critical work of Operation Underground Railroad as they work hand in hand with law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad to rescue children from sex trafficking. There are a variety of ways you can help here
Replacing Riots with Revival: Christian Movement Brings Baptism and Worship to Streets of Kenosha
Back in June, the movement started by Dr. Charles and Pastor Lindsey Karuku with the International Outreach Church in Burnsville, Minnesota took to the streets of Minneapolis to proclaim Jesus' name. Christians and non-believers came together at the location of George Floyd's memorial site where the Holy Spirit healed bodies and hearts as salvations, baptisms, and worship filled the streets. Now Dr. Karuku is taking the "Riots to Revival" movement to the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin to help heal hearts and minds with the power of the gospel message. In several Facebook posts on Friday, Karuku posted photos of people being baptized, praying, and worshipping together with the words, "Let the healing begin! In one post, Karuku wrote: "MIRACLES IN KENOSHA: A massive move of God. Salvation, healing, racial reconciliation, and awesome baptisms on the streets. Riot to Revival. Glory to God!!! Let the healing begin! On Thursday, a prayer gathering was held outside of the Kenosha City Courthouse. Video of the event posted to social media showed several hundred people gathered to worship, pray and to hear a message from Pastor Karuku. read more
Pastor Karuku said he wants to see God “send a fresh move of a new Jesus People Movement in America”, referring to the Christian movement that swept through the nation during the turmoil of the 1960’s and 70’s. He wrote, "Our heart cry is Lord do it again." The message of salvation through Jesus Christ is desperately needed in our cities. Kenosha, Wisconsin, was embroiled in violence last week after a black man was shot and paralyzed by a white police officer. And one pro-Trump protestor in Portland was shot and killed during weekend turmoil. As the “Riots to Revival Movement” travels to cities around the country, pray that many would accept Christ as Savior and come to know His peace, based on the truth of His Word. Some in our culture attempt to achieve racial reconciliation by espousing non-Biblical principles, such as Critical Race Theory, while others use the current strife to gain political power. Monique Duson, founder of the Center for Biblical Unity, points to a better way: “Christianity offers a more complete hope for racial unity. Christianity looks beyond the scope of the natural to the supernatural. Christianity understands that the very heart of man is dark and seeks to speak into that place—to offer light. A relationship with Christ is the only secure option for changing the heart of an individual.” Hebrews 4:12,16 says that His Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. And thankfully, we can “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Pray for God to be glorified in these tense times in our country, and for many to be drawn to Jesus. Pray that the church will be wise and reject unbiblical teachings on race as we “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:15,16.
If you want to learn more about Critical Race Theory, an increasingly popular view which is even being adopted by some churches, we encourage you to listen to this recent podcast with Allie Beth Stuckey and Neil Shenvi: Critical Theory: A Disastrous, Unbiblical Worldview.
More than half of US adults, 30% of evangelicals believe Jesus isn’t God: study
More than half of American adults, including 30% of evangelicals, say Jesus isn’t God but most agree He was a great teacher, according to results from the 2020 State of Theology survey. Even though the Bible and traditional teachings of the Christian Church hold that Jesus truly existed as both man and God, among the key findings of the biennial State of Theology survey from Ligonier Ministries conducted with LifeWay Research, is that 52% of American adults believe that Jesus was a great teacher and nothing more. And nearly a third of evangelicals also support that view, a preliminary release on the findings of the study said Thursday. The complete report on the survey, conducted March 10 to 18 among 3,002 U.S. adults including 630 professing evangelicals, is expected to be released on Sept. 8. "Statistics like these from the State of Theology survey can give us quite a shock, but they also shed light on the concerns that many American Christians and churches have expressed for decades. As the culture around us increasingly abandons its moral compass, professing evangelicals are sadly drifting away from God's absolute standard in Scripture,” Stephen Nichols, chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries and president of Reformation Bible College, said in a statement. “It's clear that the church does not have the luxury of idly standing by. This is a time for Christians to study Scripture diligently, engage confidently with people in our culture, and witness fearlessly to the identity and saving work of Jesus Christ in the Gospel." read more
Curiously, the study found that 66 percent of American evangelicals disagree with the statement, "Jesus was a good teacher, but he was not God". Yet almost as many (65 percent) agree with the statement, "Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God." Those survey participants likely did not realize that they were affirming a belief held by Jehovah’s Witnesses, who state that “Jesus was God’s first creation”, and is not God. The identity of Jesus Christ is foundational to Christianity. John 1:1 says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Therefore, he cannot have been created by God. A wonderful book making the case for the deity of Christ is called Putting Jesus in His Place. I recommend it for a comprehensive study. One question it asks is particularly relevant: “Was Jesus a man through whom God was revealing himself, or was He God revealing himself as a man?” Since both those who affirm the deity of Jesus and those who deny it use Bible verses to argue for their belief, we must take care to know what Scripture says and accurately interpret it. As Hebrews 2:1 says, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Many ministries exist to help Christians recognize erroneous beliefs and defend the truth of God’s Word, and we encourage you to take advantage of them. Some that I use are: Stand to Reason, Cross Examined, and Alisa Childers. As well as Christian Mom Thoughts, which has wonderful resources to help parents teach their children the basic truths of Christianity.
Take some time to praise Jesus for your salvation and for being your Prophet, Priest, and King! Ask Him to equip you to know and teach the truth about Him to others and pray that His church will have discernment to reject error.
To help Christians articulate the Bible's teaching on the person and work of Jesus Christ with accuracy and simplicity, Ligonier Ministries has formulated the Ligonier Statement on Christology (The study of Christ). Available in twenty written languages, this statement can be read and downloaded at ChristologyStatement.com.
A Night of Polar Opposites in America
(We are including a special news story this week, written by one of our Co-Founders and Chairman, Sealy Yates)
Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of being invited to attend President Trump’s acceptance speech on the south lawn of the White House. It was a positive and uplifting atmosphere topped off by a spectacular fireworks event over the Washington Monument. Standing on the historic grounds of the White House in our nation’s capital was a moment I’ll never forget. As the festivities wrapped up around 11:30pm, myself, along with My Faith Votes influencers, Johnnie Moore, Dr. David Jeremiah and his wife Donna, made our way toward the east gate of the White House in order to walk the short one-block distance to our hotel. But as we quickly discovered, that was not to be the case. Capital police informed us that a large mob was on the other side of the fence and we would need to walk to the other side of the White House grounds to exit through the west gate where it would be safer. Upon our secondary exit, we realized that we were in a rapidly escalating situation with crowds of rioters moving in to harass and intimidate those leaving the White House. read more below
(continued from above) Throngs of agitated rioters were in our face, shouting constant obscenities, bull horns, and fists in our faces, demanding our attention. I’ve never heard the “f” word so much in my life with a continuous barrage of “f” you, “f” your family, “f” America, and most prominently, “f” Trump, being shouted over and over and over. It was total confusion, yet truly I sensed they were trained in intimidation tactics. The four of us kept walking as best we could, fearing that if we stopped for too long a physical attack would be imminent. For a solid two hours, we walked to get away from the mobs and tried to work our way back to our hotel. We desperately tried to hail a cab, call an Uber or a Lyft, and even get a security person from our hotel to come with a car to get us. But it was impossible for him to reach us, no matter where we were on the streets. We feared the worst and kept in constant prayer, not knowing how our night would end. Finally, at 1:30, we walked into the rear entrance to our hotel, since the lobby entrance was still blocked by rioters, feeling a deep relief that we were out of harm's way. A few hours later, we were on a plane headed back to our West Coast home, reflecting on all the events that had transpired over the last few hours. Night and day. Polar opposite agendas and finding it almost impossible to sleep on the plane. America is hanging in the balance. And our work at My Faith Votes was at the forefront of my mind. But God, in His incredible providence provided what I thought could have been an angel to soothe all my angst of the night. I got off the plane and had to find an Uber to take me to pick up a rental car so I could drive the 90 miles to my home. The Uber driver, Jonathan, asked me where I had been, and I proceeded to share the story of the amazing event at the White House and the harrowing night that unfolded for us afterward. He stopped me and wanted to share his own story. His father died of cancer at the age of one, and when he was 17, Jonathan moved to the US from Ethiopia with his mother and brother after his mother had gained a green card through the U.S. Immigration lottery system. He had then been able to finish high school and graduate from San Diego State. He and his family worked hard and achieved their American dream, which was to become citizens of the United States of America. He was utterly heartbroken to hear my story, asking in confusion why rioters and mobs were so intent on harming this country. I ask myself the same thing. Jonathan made sure I knew that on November 3, he is voting for the very first time and will be doing so with tremendous pride and a heart of hopeful opportunity. He was literally selling me on the good things of this nation. His words were a balm to my soul. It reminded me that God is in control. Only He could orchestrate a night of polar opposites that would give me the courage to carry on, to pray harder, and to work unceasingly to equip and motivate Christians to understand their blessings of having been born in the greatest nation of the planet and to take action, vote and influence this nation for good. The mob may have been trying to intimidate and destroy. But God is in the business of restoration and redemption. It is up to us to choose what we do.
Lord, this is a dark and dangerous time for our country. Our politics is full of hate, and it is spilling over in how we think of and treat each other. And like any nation, we have guilt for the evil that we have done and permitted. May we oppose what is evil...and above all, may we put our hope in You, not in the election or the defeat of candidates or parties. Read the rest of the prayer here.
15 million Christians are not even registered to vote. Join us for National Voter Registration Sunday, September 20, 2020, for a day of national church engagement. We’ve created all the tools and resources you need, both for in-person and online participation here. All resources, including an informational webinar, are free to download and use at your discretion. Encourage your church to be a part of this important day so we can impact this nation!
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.